Ashley McCall’s Senior Column: A story of how taking chances changes your life


Ashley McCall

I had the opportunity to work the Michigan St./Ohio St. Faceoff on the Lake game this year at First Energy Stadium.

Ashley McCall, Sports Editor

To say that I’ve enjoyed my time at John Carroll University would be an understatement. I truly cannot express the massive impact that being a Blue Streak has had on my life and future and how grateful I am to have joined this Jesuit community. 

My story at John Carroll does not seem one that is out of the ordinary. I became involved in different groups and organizations on campus. I leave my room at eight in the morning and don’t return until eight at night. My day is packed full of classes, meetings, studying, homework, hanging with friends, etc., but my journey to JCU is one unlike the rest. 

When I was a senior in high school, I visited Grove City College in Grove City, PA. I talked to the basketball coach and decided to major in political science with the idea of going to law school after earning my undergraduate degree. I was pretty set on attending Grove City in the following fall. 

While I had made up my mind on Grove City, my parents dragged me to John Carroll University for a personalized tour put together by our family friend who works at JCU. Throughout the entire drive to University Heights, I complained that it was a waste of time because I knew I wanted to go to Grove City. I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

The minute I stepped out of the car onto campus, I knew I was home. I saw the clock tower and, just like that, my mind was changed. The entire day, each person we met explained to me that John Carroll is the place to be. It’s a place to create a network. It’s a place where you can be involved. It’s a place where you can make your life however you want it. It’s a place where you can build and work towards your future. 

Through John Carroll connections, I received the opportunity for an internship with the Cleveland Browns as a gameday intern for their previous season. (Ashley McCall)

After our tour that day, Grove City wasn’t even an option. I was going to be a Blue Streak. 

When I arrived on campus for Streak Week freshman year, I was nervous. I didn’t know anyone here. I didn’t know what to expect but, in typical JCU fashion, I was welcomed with open arms to join different clubs, organizations and groups. 

I joined the Blue and Gold community with the intention of majoring in political science and minoring in sports studies. But sports studies was only offered as a major, so I decided to double major. After taking my placement test in french, I was informed that I would only have to take five more classes to earn a minor so I threw that onto my degree evaluation as well. I was then convinced to minor in leadership and somehow became a double major and double minor student before Streak Week was finished. 

I was a three sport athlete in high school and have always loved sports, so I knew that I needed to involve myself in some capacity in athletics. I ended up working for the Sports Information Department due to a family friend’s recommendation and found a passion for working behind the scenes in sports. 

All of this occurred within one week of my arrival at JCU: Double major. Double minor. On campus job. Oh my. But, it doesn’t end there. 

One day I walked into the SID office and the former Sports Editor of The Carroll News, Kyle Kelly ‘21, was writing an article about JCU alumni, London Fletcher. Being a huge Washington Commanders fan, I questioned why he was writing this article. Kelly explained to me that Fletcher was coming back to campus the following week to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. 

I was astonished, but just as quickly as Kelly told me about the opportunity, he invited me to the student-led interview that was happening in the press box before the football game. His one condition: I have to write the story for The Carroll News. I immediately called my dad to obviously brag that I would be meeting and interviewing London Fletcher, but I then found myself involved in another aspect of JCU: The Carroll News. 

If you go back through my early articles that I wrote, they were terrible. Kelly was so extremely patient with me and provided me with so many tips and tricks that I have used through my four years writing for the sports section. 

Former The Carroll News’ Sports Editor, Anna Meyer and I at Progressive Field last year for the JCU Baseball game. (Ashley McCall)

This opportunity then led me to becoming involved with WJCU. Kelly was also the Sports Director for WJCU and, after talking to me about my broadcasting career in high school, he convinced me to take radio bootcamp in order to be able to broadcast on the radio. I took radio bootcamp and eventually ended up taking a Heights shift on air for the station once a week. 

While working on the opposite side of sports was something that I became more and more passionate about, I still missed the aspect of playing a sport. My dad looked online and found that John Carroll had a women’s club basketball team. So, I reached out to the president and I joined the team as well. 

Now, you might be sitting there thinking about when I had time to eat and sleep; the short answer is that I didn’t. My freshman year was full of running around, trying to figure out how to manage time, working on my mental strength and always saying yes to everything. While I was constantly stressed and feeling like I was close to a mental breakdown, it is something I wouldn’t trade for the world because, just as quickly that I was getting involved, I was being sent home because of COVID. 

The COVID year and a half was during my freshman and sophomore year, which meant the routine I created for myself was quickly rerouted as classes turned to Zoom; I did classwork from the comfort of my bed and I was confined to my house. 

When I finally came back to campus, I was a junior. I was still involved in all of the organizations that I was originally, but now in different capacities. I became the Social Media Director for WJCU, the President for the Club Basketball team, a staff reporter for The Carroll News and still worked for the Sports Information Department. With more responsibilities came more tasks and more work, but I continued to love it. 

My junior year flew by and, just like that, I was a senior looking towards what I wanted to do for my career. During my senior year, I became the Sports Editor for The Carroll News and took on a gameday internship with the Cleveland Browns. 

As I reflect back on my time at John Carroll, I know without a doubt that I made use of my time as a student. I made connections with professors, I met forever friends, I increased my skills and abilities and I learned how to be a person working for and with others. 

I want to take a moment to recognize the various people who have had an impact on my life and experience at John Carroll. First, I want to thank Dr. Brooke Turner for always believing in me and helping me achieve my goals. She is the one advisor who didn’t think I was crazy for my double major and double minor and always gave me opportunities to grow as both a person and student. 

I received the award of Ginley’s Guru of the Month for February this year as it has become a tradition within the Sports Information Department. (Ashley McCall)

I also want to thank Joe Ginley, my boss in the Sports Information Department. Joe pushes me out of my comfort zone everyday and has never stopped believing in me. He is one of my biggest fans and I cannot thank him enough for his support both professionally and personally. 

Jasen Sokol is another individual that I want to recognize. Jasen came to WJCU and immediately started to have an impact on everyone involved in the station. He has been one of my supporters and mentors from the minute I met him and I could never thank him enough. 

Lastly, I would like to thank Matt Clark and Kaitlyn Novicky. Matt gave me the opportunity of a lifetime when he helped me to transition into the President position of the club basketball team. Matt and Kailtyn have believed in me even in moments that I lost faith in myself. They have supported even the craziest of ideas and have taught me to reach for the stars because dreams can become reality when you put your mind to it. Matt and Kaitlyn are two people who have an infinite impact on not only my John Carroll experience, but also my personal life in how I view myself and my abilities. 

Last year, I was awarded Officer of the Year for Club Sports. Matt and Kaitlyn have truly never doubted my abilities and have pushed me to believe in myself. (Ashley )

To finish this article, I want to instill the most important lesson that I have learned as a Blue Streak. I learned that you should always take a chance. Take a chance on the internship. Take a chance on a person. Take a chance on an opportunity. Take a chance in general because you never know how it can change and impact your life. 

This is a fond farewell to both The Carroll News and John Carroll. I am eternally grateful for becoming a part of the Blue Streak community. Onward on.