BYU ‘Athletes’ Journal’ promotes first-person experiences

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Roni Jones-Perry keeps her eye on the ball during a game against Santa Clara Nov. 8. She recently added an entry to the new BYU athletics “Athletes’ Journal.” (Jenae Hyde)

BYU women’s volleyball outside hitter Roni Jones-Perry made an addition to the brand new Athletes’ Journal that launched earlier this fall. The project features journal-style entries from BYU athletes, telling their experiences from their point of view.

“I think that it’s something that a lot of people want to hear because a lot of the articles that are written (by the news media) are people writing what they see,” Jones-Perry said. “So, it’s cool for people outside to be able to see it more from the inside and get that different view.”

The journal’s first entry, published Sept. 28, featured BYU football defensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi.

In his entry, Kaufusi talked about his experiences playing basketball and football for BYU. Eventually, Kaufusi decided to stick with football.

“Playing both sports was really hard on my body,” Kaufusi wrote. “I would gain 45 pounds for football and then shed 20 pounds in a week when basketball came around. It wasn’t good for me. That one season playing both was enough. I proved I could do it, but I was ready to go back to football full time. It was what I loved most.”

Jones-Perry’s entry, the second in the journal, was published Nov. 2.

The future plan for the project is to feature at least one student athlete from each sports program every month for the next couple of years, according to BYU Athletics Media Relations Director Kenny Cox who spearheads the project.

“From (our first post), we settled on trying to have about one story every month or so,” Cox said. “It is still in the early stages, but our goal is to keep to the monthly release of a new story.”

Cox said the biggest influence and model for the project was The Players’ Tribune, where many professional athletes have told various stories in their own words. Both Kaufusi and Jones-Perry shared unique stories about how they ended up as BYU student athletes.

“A lot of people have been approaching me since it came out (to talk) about things they didn’t know about me,” Jones-Perry said. “They’re like, ‘That’s really cool. I’m glad I could learn that about you.'”

Jenae Hyde
Roni Jones-Perry celebrates a point with her teammates while playing Santa Clara Nov. 8. She says she started her volleyball career at age 15 in her “Athletes’ Journal” entry. (Jenae Hyde)

In her entry, Jones-Perry discussed not being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, her previous career as a gymnast and her late start in volleyball.

These unknown facts are what the journal is after. Cox said he hopes the series provides a unique way to learn more about BYU’s student athletes.

Kaufusi wrote about his relationships with his parents and siblings in his athlete’s journal, particularly his competitive relationship with his older brother Bronson.

“All of our athletes have amazing stories of where they have come from, what they are doing, what they have accomplished and what their future plans are,” Cox said. “We think that is something people will be interested in and want to hear more. And who better to tell their stories than the student athletes themselves?”

The entries are first published on the BYU Exposure Gallery. Each entry is accompanied by a display of photos and a video of the athlete.

Links to the entries are posted on byucougars.com and on athletics’ social media platforms. The stories are also featured in the Y News email sent to alumni, staff and other BYU community members.

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