Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images
Sharon Cotliar
January 30, 2015 04:15 PM

At first, Will Reeve couldn’t believe it when ESPN called offering him a job as a SportsCenter reporter. “I thought there was some caveat that I wasn’t getting,” he tells PEOPLE, recalling how stunned he was.

“The first thing that went through my mind was, ‘Wow, this is big. This is something I’ve always wanted. How often do we get that in life?’ ” he recalls of landing his dream job.

The 22-year-old son of the late Superman actor Christopher Reeve, who interned at Good Morning America and ABC News before joining ESPN last summer, is one of three new SportsCenter correspondents. Stand-up comedian Reese Waters, 34, and social media expert Sarina Morales, 28, were also hired in an effort to reach more Millennial viewers.

“They’re great,” says Reeve of his colleagues’ talent. “I hope I can keep up.”

Reeve says he’s looking forward to being a roaming reporter: “I’ll be getting out, connecting with fans and players. I hope I bring a fresh, energetic, compassionate voice that will tell the stories that people want told.”

Talking to Reeve, who recently graduated from Middlebury College, it’s clear sports has played a huge role in his life.

“If it involved a ball or a stick or a racket or a bat or a puck, we were either watching it or playing it or talking about it together,” says Reeve of his late parents. (His mother, Dana Reeve, died two years after her husband in 2006.)

“We shared a very deep bond in general, but sports was definitely a major component of our family bond,” he says.

Though his father was paralyzed in a 1995 horseback riding accident when Will was not quite three years old, that didn’t stop Christopher Reeve from cheering on his young son, or prevent his mom from making sure Will got to practice.

“She deserves all the credit for driving me to every sport game and practice imaginable just as my dad deserves the credit for showing up to watch them all,” he says.

Asked what he thinks his parents would say about his new gig, Reeve says, “I like to think they are proud of me no matter what.”

“I know that I have to hold up my end of the bargain too to make sure that I work hard and live up to the standards they so beautifully and gracefully set,” he added. “It’s my privilege to get the chance to do this hard, fun work for it.”

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