By Cassie Kelly
(December 1, 2015) — Allie LaForce is more entertaining to watch than any game on right now. #MarchMadness,” tweeted notorious college-news based account @CollegeTownLife.
Quite literally, LaForce is a force to be reckoned with.
Since her appearance a year ago as a sideline reporter during March Madness, LaForce’s popularity has escalated dramatically, leaving in her wake a legacy of killer hair and dynamic reporting skills.
As the first from Ohio to win the Miss Teen USA title for Ohio in 2005, LaForce was clearly ready to become a national sensation, and she knew the place to do this was at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.
Graduating from the Honors Tutorial College at Ohio University in 2011, this Vermilion native has already made her way into the national media world, becoming a member of a CBS sportscast as co-host of the network’s late-night show “Lead Off.”
Undoubtedly assiduous and driven, she’s one of those “sleep-is-for-the-weak” type of people, and this is clear when noting her experience at OU.
During her first two years at OU, LaForce played Division I basketball. She stopped playing her junior year when she began noticing all of the career-focused opportunities the campus had to offer.
After quitting basketball, she invested her time as a producer and anchor for WOUB’s “Bobcat Blitz,” a television program specializing in interviews, highlights and special features of the Bobcat football program. In addition to this, LaForce was a radio broadcaster for women’s basketball and a field reporter for Nike.
With her overachiever approach, LaForce simultaneously managed to write her thesis for HTC and serve at Red Brick Sports Pub, even graduating early.
“That’s just my mentality, to pack as many things in as I possibly can,” LaForce said.
After graduation, a culmination of countless journalistic experiences and a resolute passion for sports led La- Force straight to Fox 8 in Cleveland where she anchored “Friday Night Touchdown.” In 2011, she won an Emmy for anchoring.
After working for Fox, LaForce took a position with CBS in October 2012. Since then, she has been constantly traveling and reporting. She explained that each place she worked at was tailored to the specific sports of those locations. When she was at OU, she only reported college sports and while in Cleveland, she dealt only with Cleveland sports. “Lead Off,” however, gives her a chance to focus on all teams in an entire spectrum of sports.
Adjusting to the new position was a challenge, but she managed to adjust with some help from her co-host, Doug Gottlieb.
“Every day I am learning something new from him. He’s also really competitive and very strong with his opinions and beliefs, especially when it comes to sports teams. It’s been good for me to learn based off of his opinion but also learn how to counter an opinion.”
Right now, she doesn’t quite know where her career will take her, but she does know that she doesn’t want to be held down by a routine, one-dimensional job.
Her advice to aspiring journalists is not to paint a picture of the ideal first job in your head because it rarely turns out the way you plan.
However, as success becomes her, LaForce is confident yet humbled by all of the experiences she has had in a remarkably brief period of time.
As “LaForce” continues to trend, so does her notoriety. The nation was watching out for LaForce during March Madness, and she is sure to be seen at many more national sporting events in the future. Move out of the way, Andrews. There’s a new force in town.
View a PDF of the article in the print edition of The Ohio Journalist, click here.
I‘m that person who wakes up early, eagerly goes to class and attends every party. I am outgoing, often referred to as “bubbly” and I never skip a beat. Everyone always expects a smile when they see me. So, when I began telling my people I was recently diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, they were shocked. I expected this. What I didn’t expect was for everyone to be so understanding.
I struggled with sadness and anxiety throughout high school and still did for three years into college because I was too nervous to get help. I told myself the bad thoughts would eventually fade. I became a master at hiding these feelings early on because I am the person who people expect a smile from. I often thought there was a negative stigma surrounding mental illness and that taking medication made you seem vulnerable. But, what I now realize is that it is the complete opposite. People respect you when you’re in charge of your life and if going to therapy or taking medication helps you do that, it is not seen as vulnerable at all. And I wish I had known sooner.
The first time I went to therapy, it was a cold, snowy morning at the crack of dawn. I hastily scurried up the sidewalk and into the back door of the building, hood over my eyes, shielding myself from anyone I might know. I was extremely nervous and I felt like my body was on autopilot as I entered the waiting room.
I wondered if seeing a psychologist would help at all, and worse, I was terrified that I might actually be healthy and that was just how life was supposed to be. After the first appointment I started seeing a psychologist regularly. She made me realize that I had been through a lot. I was bullied throughout high school; every student either made my life hell or stood on the sidelines watching it happen. I can recall multiple occasions that I would walk down the hallways and be called obscene names. I ate my lunch in the bathroom most days, and I didn’t have a single true friend by my side for the entire four years. My psychologist said that all of the bullying led to PTSD and depression.
I was prescribed anti-depressants to help with both diagnoses. Now, after several visits with my therapist and taking medication, I feel amazing. No, better yet, I feel liberated. I feel liberated in knowing that I have a real condition that can be treated. I feel liberated in knowing that I will never return to that negative state of mind. And I feel most liberated in my choice to tell people.
If I had known about my condition sooner, I might have been saved from all of the times I punished myself with bad memories and thoughts. The fear that people would misunderstand me, pity me or avoid me kept me from getting help.
Yes, I may cross paths with a few who might not be as understanding and may even treat me differently because of it. But, I feel empowered in knowing that I am on my way to recovering. This doesn’t define me and it definitely won’t keep me trapped in a state of feeling hopeless any longer.
Since I’ve begun telling people, some have confided in me, as well. I’ve come to the realization that everyone is dealing with something that they need to talk about. Whether it be death, divorce, or trauma that you’re dealing with, the best thing you can do for yourself is to seek professional help. It takes some bravery and may even take some time. But it is worth it.
I am the girl who everyone expects a smile from and now, that smile is real.
This piece was published in Unwritten on April 9, 2015.