David Ball, a senior at BYU, had his tennis season cut short without warning a little over a month ago due to the increased risk of COVID-19. With schools transitioning to online classes and sports seasons abruptly ending, many students have found themselves living in a time of deep uncertainty. Ball didn’t know that his last tennis game would be his last, and like many other athletes, he had the feeling this wasn’t how it was supposed to end. Wanting to gain closure with the sport he had played for most of his life, Ball created the Untold Athletes Instagram, a platform to share inspiring stories, specifically of athletes who lost their seasons during the pandemic.
“It was from my own experience and just from talking to some of my friends…it’s tragic that sports seasons had to end this way. If only there was a way to get some closure,” Ball said.
It’s an opportunity to give athletes recognition while also sharing inspiring stories. The Untold Athletes Instagram account already has over 1,600 followers and is consistently growing in numbers. The posts often spotlight an individual athlete with a story embedded in the post showing their journey, hardships, and accomplishments.
Initially, Ball sent out messages to BYU athletes to see if anyone would be interested in being featured on his newfound project. With the positive response, Ball decided to reach out to athletes nationwide to gain more traction. Since its release, Ball has received new stories through submissions, reaching out to people he knows, and through referrals. Ball says there is no specific criteria needed to be featured on their platform.
Although the original idea was to use Untold Athletes as a platform to tell inspiring stories during this uncertain time, its newfound success has inspired Ball to expand the platform and potentially continue to work on Untold Athletes even after life resumes to normalcy.
“I think there are so many smaller level stories that can get told… who knows what will happen, but if I had it my way, it would be that even after this we can keep using this platform to tell our stories, especially those that are untold,” Ball said.
To follow more athletes’ stories, follow Untold Athletes on Instagram @untoldathletes. If you are an athlete who would like to share your story or know someone who would, you can fill out the form in their Instagram bio or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.