Greetings, everyone! My name is Braeden Bakken, though I usually go by Brady. I am a senior here at App State and am currently a Communication Studies major. As a huge sports fanatic, I enrolled in this course to explore the world of sports beyond the United States and possibly learn something new about sports in the USA. One interesting fact about myself is that I am a lymphoma survivor, after having battled it eleven years ago; and having done so, I have several sports-related stories to tell from that time.

One story I will share briefly here has to do with NASCAR. In 2012, my father was a broker for 5-Hour Energy; and when the people over at 5-Hour Energy heard about what I was going through, they reached out to my father about doing something special for me. Working with the driver that raced under the sponsor at the time, Clint Bowyer, they decided to place my name above the passenger window of his car for that year’s Sonoma race. This was a very special moment in my life, not because I was being honored for the race, but because Bowyer would go on to win that very race.

This victory would be Bowyer’s first with the Michael Waltrip Racing team, and would prove to be the spark of Bowyer’s best season in his Sprint Cup career, eventually falling just short of the championship. In victory lane, Bowyer would give me a shoutout on national television, saying “this one’s for you.” Later that year, I was sent a memento to look back at that race for the rest of my life, along with the hat that Bowyer wore in victory lane.

I cannot wait to get to know all of you and share more stories throughout this semester!