Looking Toward A New Season While Still Looking Back
The start of a new season is one of my most favorite things about working in sports, it is the hope of what this year can become. It is the notion that a group of people can come together to accomplish a common goal and all strive to be part of something that is bigger than yourself.
It is creating your broadcast boards for the first time and putting game number one on your chart as you think about the journey you are about to go on, and, for me, how lucky I am to be the bridge between the fans and the team. How blessed I am to paint the picture on a night-in and night-out basis and have a front-row seat to tell the stories of the teams and players.
So yeah, opening night is emotional, opening night is where all the offseason work to improve yourself and hone your craft hopefully starts to manifest itself.
As I wait for opening night of what will be my fourth(!!) season calling Duke Women's Basketball (still surreal to be typing that), this season I hope becomes one I can look back on as a season of growth both personally and professionally.
I feel like you can take something out of every season - no matter if that season is measured in games or phases of your life. But sometimes what you draw from a particular season may not always be positive and that is ok... as long as you grow with the experience and become better because of it.
If I am being totally honest with you, I felt like last season I regressed professionally. I don't say that to garner any sort of sympathy or elicit a bunch of 'atta boys' or positive vibes. I say that because in my mind it is true. It is ok to admit you had a tough time getting things going. And for whatever reason last year I felt my work was staccato at best - sometimes floating out on an island not really connecting the story of the season.
I can sit here and make all the excuses I want and try to spin it in whatever way but I know, for me - it didn't feel like my best. There is an old saying that you are your own worst critic and I fully believe that - I am harder on myself than anyone else. So sure, you can take what I say with a grain of salt because (as I've said before in this space) it is never as bad as you think.
This offseason was a different one for me, I really worked hard on changing how I prepare for games, how I call games and paint pictures with my words. I listened more -- to myself, to others, to podcasts. I read more, trying to expand my vocabulary and find a word or phrase that perhaps will fit better in my description of games each night. Bottom line, I worked hard in a lot of areas this summer and going into game one, I feel the most prepared I have felt in a while.
Will there be a noticeable difference? Who knows - but I know that I feel like I am a better broadcaster and hopefully a better person for the time I spent reflecting and working on me this season.
So, it all starts Tuesday night, in Cameron Indoor and that seems like a perfect place to start what I hope is a special season. But you can't have and special ending until you have a great opening night.