Ridin' With Cierra: Take People Along

July 17, 2014


Tennessee rising senior basketball player Cierra Burdick is enjoying a very busy summer. The 6-foot-2 senior from Charlotte, North Carolina (Butler H.S.) has been to Colorado Springs twice, winning a qualifying tournament to help her team become USA Basketball's top 3x3 women's team and preparing to represent her country at the FIBA World Championship tournament in Russia.

As for the trip to Moscow, it proved quite productive, as Burdick and teammates Sara Hammond, Jewell Loyd and Tiffany Mitchell fashioned a 9-0 record and won gold medals in Russia.

Burdick also moved to New York City for the summer to serve as an intern at ABC's Good Morning America.

We're "Ridin' With Cierra" this summer, as she shares her experiences with USA Basketball and ABC's long-running morning show. We hope you'll join her on the trip and enjoy her fifth installment.

Take People Along With You on the Journey

    Part of my job here at Good Morning America is logging some of the specials and interviews that Robin has been in and conducted over the years. My recent project was "Oprah's Master Class: Robin Roberts," which, by the way, is one of the most inspirational and moving specials I have ever watched. If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing it, I recommend it.

    The 60-minute interview follows Robin's life journey, while encouraging motivation and introducing life lessons that are bound to move some to tears and others to a peaceful state of mind. One of the key notes that Robin preaches in this special, as well as everyday life, is to take others with you on your journey. So here I am, writing this blog, attempting to do what Robin has so many times encouraged me to do: share my journey.

    Since my last blog, I've managed to make my on-camera debut on Good Morning America, get pooped on by a pigeon, play one on one with Robin, and welcome two of my best friends to the city. Each and every week brings new opportunities, new challenges and continued growth. The days are long and the nights feel like mid-day naps, but I wouldn't trade this experience and the time I get to spend with Robin for anything in the world.

    My debut on the show occurred during the inaugural "Good Morning America: Running of the Interns." The original "Running of the Interns" tradition takes place in Washington, D.C., when the Supreme Court hands down rulings at the end of its term, and press interns inside the court race to bring the written decision to the journalists outside. The quicker you can get the decisions to your crew outside the courthouse, the quicker you can report the information, therefore putting you ahead of your competition.

    So the GMA producers decided it would be pretty entertaining if we, the interns, had to race iced coffee from the middle of Times Square to our anchors inside the studio. Seems easy, right? Wrong. All was good and gravy until I'm coming down the homestretch of the race, about to ring the bell and place my iced coffee on the anchor's desk, when all of a sudden I see a cable cord in the middle of my path at knee height. Thank goodness for my game instinct or else I would have been the next viral video for epic fails. I proceeded to high step over the cable cord like Olympic hurdler LoLo Jones, make a leap of faith toward the desk while simultaneously ringing the bell and placing the coffee in front of one of our co-anchors, Lara Spencer. I was crowned GMA Running of the Interns champion, but boy oh boy, I about lost my life in the process. The funniest part of it all is that my awesome cable cord trip was not only broadcasted live on national TV, but it was also captured on a Vine Video, readily available to anyone who would like to get a good laugh in. Lesson of the day: Learn to laugh at yourself. It makes life so much more enjoyable and easy going when you're capable of doing so.

    The next incident that happened to me later that week, I can barely talk about because the experience was so horrid and traumatizing. All I'm going to say is I was minding my own business, enjoying the beautiful Sunday afternoon when I suddenly felt wet stuff hit my shoulder, forearm, thigh and calf. I looked down, only to discover pigeon poop covering the entire left side of my body. Words cannot explain how angry and disgusted I was. I was honestly ready to exterminate the entire pigeon population. Then, when I told my friends back at work what happened, they're all like, "ohhh, that's good luck!" I'm thinking in my head, what the heck is lucky about getting pigeon diarrhea all over your body?? These New Yorkers have a weird way of looking at luck if you ask me. I'd rather just stick to my four leaf clovers and convenient parking spots at the grocery store.

    But, anyway, now that we've discussed one of my less fortunate incidents of the past two weeks, it's only right that I follow that with one of my greatest experiences since being here in New York. Good Morning America does a great job at getting their interns involved and providing them with opportunities to learn and grow, and one of those opportunities was an intern lunch with Robin. Now, granted, I'm extremely blessed to be able to work with Robin every day, but my fellow interns don't necessarily have that opportunity, so it was really cool that we had the chance to sit down, hear Robin tell her story, and then have dialogue and ask questions.

    Following the meeting, we got to talking about Twitter followers, and I pledged to help Robin get one million followers. (By the way, you can follow her @RobinRoberts) Long story short, I asked Robin to take a picture so I could post the picture and shout her out on Twitter. Well, Robin decided to pick up a basketball from the top of her desk and act as if she was dunking on me. However, I, being the competitive person I am, was NOT having that. So Robin and I start going at it, playing one on one in the middle of the office. Meanwhile, Robin's assistant, Sonny, is just snapping pictures left and right, capturing all this through the lens of her iPhone camera. The pictures came out so great, Good Morning America blasted out one of the shots all over their Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages. Being able to share that fun moment with Robin is definitely one of the highlights of my time here so far.

    It's crazy to think I only have about three weeks left here in the Big Apple at GMA. Since being here, I can definitely say I've grown as an aspiring journalist, but even more so as a person. When people ask me what it's like to work for Robin, all I can say is, "it's a blessing." I've had the fortunate opportunity to play for Pat Summitt and work for Robin Roberts, arguably two of the strongest, most inspiring people of today's age.

    Both of these women have laid a foundation and platform for young women like me across the world, and to be able to just work alongside them is truly humbling. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank God for the opportunities He has laid in front of me. Since being here, I've learned things that have helped me mature as a player and a person. I look forward to continued growth through the homestretch of my internship and into my final year at Tennessee. Until next time, from the words of Robin Roberts,

    "Be grateful, but never content." "Bring others on your journey." "Be patient and persistent."

    -- Cierra





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