Pack Your Patience
It was a Friday night like many before, I made my way into Garner High's Trojan Stadium with about 2,500 of my 'closest friends' to see if the Trojans could be victorious again. But this Friday night was different - there was something new about Friday, September 7, 2007. That night became a defining moment in my life... it was my first REAL, professional (not in my bed room calling a random video game like it was the radio) broadcast.
Oh sure, my best friend since high school Jonathan Rand and I had called dozens of games together in my living room watching games on TV with just a couple of rosters but tonight it was for real... and it was terrible. That night I think I broke the world record for words spoken in a minute, I talked so fast you couldn't understand anything I said... other than when I yelled TOUCHDOWN TROJANS as loud as I could in the first minutes of the game (rookie move, Edwards).
But, over the next seven years of calling Garner sports (football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, soccer, etc.) I got better. I slowly got better. It is easy to look back on that now and see how hard I worked at the craft and how much I listened to myself (and others) to get better - this is a habit that has never died - the more you listen to yourself and others the better you'll be.
See, here is the thing, I got better but I wasn't as good as I thought I was - jobs would open, I would apply and then they'd close and I'd still be doing games for the Trojans. This isn't a slight on my time at Garner - I am BEYOND thankful to have had that time to get better, screw up without major repercussions and learn lessons about how to call a game, about the games themselves but also continue to develop long, lasting friendships that are still there today. But I was not patient enough to realize this at that time in my life, I wanted the next opportunity RIGHT NOW but it wasn't coming.
Eventually that next moment came - all the networking and working my craft paid off and I was in the right place at the right time, that is so much of this business: networking and being in the right place at the right time, but I'll save that for another post.
Duke called, more specifically, Chris Pollard called and changed my life -- imagine a kid from Garner, now "The Voice of Duke Baseball." Wow, never in a million years did I think that would happen! Now its even better than I dreamed Duke baseball and Duke Women's Basketball, two marquee programs and I get to call their games - boy this is a long way from September 2007.
I sit back sometimes and think about how lucky I've been and how quickly seven years have passed with baseball and now about to start year four with Duke Women's Basketball and I couldn't be more thankful. But I imagine that most in this business get restless and are consistently searching for what's next?! I would be lying if I said I didn't think that sometimes but why? Why are people always looking for the next assignment or the next job? How many people would give their right arm to do what I do and probably do it for free?
Any industry is competitive but not many are as cutthroat as the broadcast world, and while one can make friendships that last a lifetime, your friends are also your competition for that job that might be open. While it is easy to look with contempt or distain at your friend who just got that job that you wanted so badly, why not instead be patient for that perfect opportunity that comes your way and be happy for your friends that they are moving up?
Summer in the sports world is a time for change and so many people in what I call my circle of influence have accepted new positions and are moving on for better things and I could not be happier for them. My friends are living out their dreams while I also get to live out mine.
So as you are looking at new opportunities, pack a little patience with you... you just mind find that where you are currently at isn't so bad and maybe you just need to have a little extra time to get better.
Sorry for the long post - talk next week!