During October of my freshman year, I fell down a hill and broke my leg. My father was visiting for a football game that weekend, and he immediately drove me to the emergency room. One x-ray later, the doctor reported to us that my bone was, in fact, broken and I needed surgery as soon as possible. While it was an extremely difficult and painful time for me, I experienced something extraordinary thanks to the injury.
A couple of weeks later, Thanksgiving break was about to begin. A massive snowstorm was scheduled to hit State College. We underestimated the amount of snow we would get when we saw the light flurries in the morning, but sure enough, we received over a foot of snow in a few short hours and classes were immediately canceled. I had to laugh because the day before all of my professors told us not to expect a snow day because in the years that they had been there, they only had one snow day. This year, we had close to ten snow days.
After classes were canceled, I returned to my dorm building and laid down in bed. My dad texted me and said, "There's a news reporter at State College and he's interviewing Penn State students!" I thought nothing of the text at first. Why did I care? No way I was going out in that snowy mess, especially considering I couldn't even walk. I was sporting a knee scooter and a boot because I couldn't bear any weight on my broken leg.
About an hour later, I went down the hall to my friends' room to see what they were up to because I was bored. I walked (or scooted, rather) into my friends chattering excitedly. "We're going sled riding," one of my friends reported. "Want to come?"
I blinked. Was she crazy? I couldn't even walk! I didn't answer for a second, thinking. A wave of spontaneity rushed through me suddenly. "You know what," I mused, "yes. I will come! I mean, obviously I can't ride sleds, but I'll come to watch you guys."
My friends cheered. We put on our snow clothes and ventured out into the deep snow. We lived in East Halls and were traveling to the Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State students know that this isn't typically a far walk, but we were practically knee deep in snow and my scooter wasn't equipped for the snow. I had to pick the scooter up with every other step I took with my good leg. Needless to say, my voyage was far from easy.
We got closer to the IM Building when my friends saw the news reporters across the street. Excited, they sprinted across the street for a chance to get on television. Noticing the kids with sleds running and yelling, the reporter called them over to interview them. Okay, I thought disappointedly. I can't keep up with them. It's fine...I can get on TV some other time...I just need to get across this street. Getting across the street seemed impossible. It took me a good fifteen minutes to cross the street, but it felt like an hour.
Finally, I made it across the street. I had no intention of approaching the news crew. I was so far behind my friends and just wanted to catch up to them. Thankfully, three of them were waiting at the street corner for me. I smiled and waved to them as I scooted through the snow. Suddenly, the reporter approached me. "Whoa," he said as his eyes popped out of his head. "What happened?"
Flabbergasted, I responded almost automatically, "I broke my leg a couple of weeks ago when I fell down a hill." I thought nothing of the response and thought he was just going to drop it, but I was wrong.
He smiled. "What's your name and where are you from?" He was going to interview me!
"Alexa Reider, and I'm from New Castle, Pennsylvania!" I could barely contain my excitement. I glanced over to my friends and flashed an eager grin. Looking back at the video clip, I was surprisingly composed while I was interviewed despite my shock.
"We have a trooper here. Alexa Reider from New Castle, Pennsylvania," the reporter said as the red light on the camera turned on. "And I noticed, you have a little issue with your leg. What happened?"
"I slipped and fell and broke my fibula leaving my friend's apartment," I said with a smile as if it were funny. The camera moved close to my face as I spoke.
"So you've got a broken leg, but you're gonna sled anyway?" The reporter looked genuinely surprised. I smiled and shook my head.
"I'm just going to support!" I responded.
"You just need to get out of your dorm room," he stated. I smiled brightly and nodded.
"Yes," I answered. "And I love the snow, so…"
The reporter turned back to the camera and continued to report about the weather. Once he finished, he smiled and thanked me. I thanked him in response. I was on national television (albeit, the Weather Channel, but still)!
I immediately called home and asked my dad if he had happened to see me on TV because I knew they left the Weather Channel on from time to time. Not only my dad, but my mom and sisters all happened to be sitting in the living room when the reporter interviewed me! He sent me a video of the interviews, one of my friends and one of me. It was one of the coolest things that had happened to me during my first year of college. Something good did come from me breaking my leg, and I'll remember it for the rest of my life.