Juan Jose Rodriguez co-founded Behind the Crest while he was at Father Ryan. Now a Senior at Notre Dame, he continues to announce and plans to pursue a career in sports media.
Austin Wright '19 recently sat down with him and interviewed him on the history of Behind the Crest and asked him his advice for current members.
Austin Wright: “To start off, how did you (Juan Jose) come up with the idea of starting Behind the Crest? What was your inspiration for making it?”
Juan Jose Rodriguez: “The idea for starting BTC, like many ideas seem to, came about as the result of a failure. I had tried out for Ryan‘s golf team each of my first three years, never once making it. After I missed the cut at tryouts right before the start of my junior year in August 2013, I approached Mrs. Foreman — who then was still the head golf coach — with a couple of ideas pertaining to how I could be more involved with the golf team, even if I wouldn’t be playing on it. I suggested a sort of manager role: someone that would keep stats, write articles about the team, just anything that would keep me involved and still around the team, which just so happened to be many of my best friends at Ryan. That second component — the writing — just so happened to be an idea that Mrs. Foreman had already started to consider. After we met a couple of times at the start of my junior year, we started to run with the idea of creating an online blog that would serve as a hub for coverage of, ideally, all Father Ryan sports...not just football. That was really how BTC got started; at its inception, it was strictly a place for online written content since it was only a handful of students with laptops and not much else. It took until the spring semester of that year before we did anything broadcast-related, and by the tail end of the school year (this would’ve been spring 2014) we finally were starting to figure out how the club would take shape. I pride myself on are having big goals and challenging myself to meet them, and on a similar note not giving up on a dream or idea until I succeed, or it has literally proven to have no chance of success. The same holds for BTC. From the start, I told Mrs. Foreman and everybody else that my aim was for BTC to be “the ESPN of Father Ryan” and good luck trying to tell me otherwise. When I thought about combining written and, eventually, live broadcast content for nearly all of Ryan‘s sports, the prospect of connecting the Ryan community — locally in Nashville, around the country, and even around the world — to the school’s current athletic events was an opportunity that I knew I could go after.”
AW: “Next, when you created this club, what were your hopes for the future of this club and have they been met and or exceeded?”
JJR: “Like I mentioned earlier, my primary goal for Behind the Crest was that it showcase Father Ryan Athletics to the community, and when I say athletics I really mean more than just football. Like I said, many of my friends from Ryan played on the golf team and, honestly, were it not for the articles that I wrote during my junior and senior year, I sincerely doubt that they would’ve gotten any press coverage whatsoever. So I enjoyed bringing light to some of the teams that didn’t really get a whole lot of attention. And I’m really glad to see, between the live broadcasts and the social media activity, that that seems to be continuing. What the club is doing now on social media is so much more than we did during my time there, simply because we didn’t have the manpower to be able to be that active. But I do notice what the club is doing on a consistent basis with social media and going live for broadcasts, which is awesome. More written content, recaps of events, previews of big games, featured athletes, etc. would be great to see. But honestly, the fact that I’m sitting here nearly 5 years after the inception of BTC, and discussing its history and future trajectory is really awesome.”
AW: “Lastly, what advice can you give to current and future members of Behind the Crest?"
JJR: “-Figure out what you love to do and find a way to incorporate that into your daily life. For me, that has been sports. So, from BTC to now at Notre Dame and everything in between, I’ve tried to find ways to be involved with sports in various aspects.
-Find out what it is that gives you a reason to wake up every morning, because if you get excited about what you’re doing then it won’t feel like work; it will just be you doing what you love.
-Branch out. In high school, I was more of an introvert. While I knew everyone fairly well, I really only stayed around my close group of friends. I knew, though, that going to college would mean that I would have to break out of my comfort zone and meet a lot of new people. I could not be more grateful to myself that I did exactly that starting my freshman year at Notre Dame. In addition to my friends from Father Ryan, I now have even more friends that will truly last a lifetime."