I love to work, and I love being busy — so much so that I find it hard to say “no” to anything, which at times sends me into a fiery ball of stress. On March 11, as sporting events started announcing the restriction of fans, I was working my 21st event in the past 13 days across three different states. As news broke over the next few days and conference tournaments were canceled I secretly welcomed the chance to sleep, to reset, catch up on laundry, cook and finish that book I hadn’t quite been able to get through over the last two months.
But then the news kept coming, spring conference championships were canceled followed by entire seasons and my calendar became a smattering of black X-marks. I felt for the athletes, my fellow freelancers and fans across the country. Me, however, I would be fine, right?
That’s what I thought, until over a week later (March 24 to be specific) I found myself sitting in front of my computer looking for jobs — any jobs. I was bidding on freelance projects, contemplating going to work at the grocery store, clicking on link after link as the dark cloud over me started pouring rain.
It brought me back to a place in my life I worked so hard to get out of, and stay out of. Several years ago, as I was transitioning from TV news to freelance sports, I sat at my computer, unable to make rent, piling up credit card debt and searching for anything to do to help make ends meet. I was working at a summer baseball league, and then as Fall approached it was a bar, a restaurant, a gym and any area school that needed a camera op.
While this pandemic may have stirred up old emotions of doubt, fear and insecurity for myself, I had to sit back and reevaluate the truth of those feelings.
We are not in this position by any reason of our own (unless you are one of the jerks that has continued to go out during this pandemic and in that case I have other words for you), and we should not feel bad about ourselves during it. We are all in a holding pattern, the world will return to normal and sports will again thrive, maybe even more so than before, creating more opportunity.
Over the next few weeks or months, I myself am going to try to practice gratitude (and I do put emphasis on the word “try” because it will be tough). Take time to be thankful for what you have accomplished so far, be grateful for what you do have and let people around you know how much they mean to you.
We are in this together. Try to find a way to keep that “sports” spark alive during this time, whether it’s writing, watching old games, reading books or articles of people you admire, taking your camera (or phone) out for a shoot or reaching out to someone you look up to in the industry. Let’s come out of this pandemic healthy, with some personal growth and a new fire for our work because in the end we really all are so lucky to have any time at all working in the crazy, fun world of sports.
My Reading List:
The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry
Super Attractor by Gabriel Bernstein
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
ESPN: The Uncensored History by Michael Freeman
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Unlocking Us by Brene Brown