CHICA’S NOTE: For some reason, I’ve felt the need to write more on career-oriented topics lately. Those looking for sports-social media stories, I apologize in advance. They’ll be back soon. Part of who I am, and the part I struggle with, is I am someone who challenges people to think. I don’t like to cause waves, but I know it is necessary in sports-social media conversation. Even if this advice helps only one person out looking to work/make it in sports, then I’ve done what I set out to do.
After nearly 30 years, there was no reason to set the alarm.
If it wasn’t for my youngest son, there would be no reason to get out of bed in the morning at all.
Tossing and turning night after night for the past few weeks were taking a toll. Sleep was elusive. Rest came only in the form of work. Or, that’s what I told myself. No rest for the weary.
I had grown weary. Weary of the seven-day work weeks I had put myself through over the better part of the last decade. Work to make money. Money to pay the bills. Bills that seemed never ending until the house was paid off. A paid off house which opened the door to a dream.
A dream that had seemingly died early in my life, dusted off and transformed into something unbelievable.
Now, dead again.
I grew up the youngest of four in a broken home. Born in Oakland, California (yes, I love the Raiders) but raised in the state that still has a piece of my heart: Arizona. I had dreams of first being a lawyer. That was a kid’s dream. As I grew older, Communications was my goal. I wanted to work in sports. I watched and played sports. Grew up in a very sports-passionate family. Sports was in my DNA.
Life choices forged a different path. Work became a major part of my life. College? Communications? Pushed into the corner of my mind. Married and raising a family was the focus of my life. Along with work, of course. Both of my parents worked. They needed to. They wanted to. Work to support the family. Work because it’s part of one’s DNA. It’s part of who they were (are) and who I am.
I worked to support my family. Provide for my family. But, as the time approached to that one last payment on our house, my feelings about work changed. After more than 20 years at one company, I was drained. Drained of the routine of a “job” that I no longer felt challenged in – my work DNA requires challenge. I needed to do some re-thinking, some cleaning. Clean up my stinking thinking. I was ready for a change.
With the house paid off, I set my sights on something new. My “clean-up” helped me dust off some dreams. Well, one dream to be exact. My dream to work in sports.
Now, how does someone my age (sorry, not telling) try to work in sports without a degree, experience or seemingly nothing to offer? My DNA.
I forged my way into the world of sports media. First, locally and then nationally, freelancing for ESPN. Those seven-day work weeks I had grown accustomed to at my long-time job, continued with a vengeance. Only this time, it had nothing to do with my work DNA. This had more to do with how I viewed myself in this business.
I viewed myself as someone who almost didn’t belong. Like I was a pretender in a way. No degree, no internships, no formal job training in this field – who did I think I was? I was someone who felt I had to prove myself constantly. Age, education, sex, gender all play a role in this business. I was well aware of that fact. And yes, it’s very much a
fact. I had to prove I belonged through work. It was the only way.
The fragility of this business is also a fact. Written contracts come to an end. Verbal agreements, well, let’s just say, don’t ever enter into one – get everything in writing. After all of that, I was left with nothing. Nothing but my own thoughts and a broken dream.
That can happen at any time though, right? A broken dream?
Think of the high school athlete who dreams of going to college on a scholarship. Three games left to go in their junior season and they blow out their knee tearing two ligaments on a routine play. Or, the high school senior whose partying ways finally catch up to them and they find themselves in ICU right before graduation. Then there’s the promising sophomore who has already caught the eyes of area coaches until one night…one night…she makes a decision that will change her life forever.
We all have dreams. Some broken, some realized, some, like mine, gathered (-ing) dust.
Is my dream gathering dust again?
I’m not about to let my dream stay broken. I’ve come too far to let it stay that way. Only someone with lack of confidence would let it go. I don’t want to let it go because it’s part of my DNA. It’s part of who I am. I love sports. I love social media. I’ve got the talent from both a media and fan perspective — I’m unique. Sports and social media don’t define me. But, they will open doors for me to ultimately do what I know I’m called to do.
If it means a little more cleaning and dusting of the dream now and then, so be it.
That’s in my DNA too.
FINAL THOUGHTS: What about you? Is there a dream that needs some dusting off? Does your dream need refining? Believe me, I’ve had to refine mine to some degree. Burn off the dross. Dreams are ideas in need of perfecting. Just because you have a dream doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Any dream worth realizing requires hard work. And, hard changes within us.
But, it’s in your DNA.
So how about it? What’s your dream?