It’s been a year since I worked my last event pre-COVID and to say this past year hasn’t been easy would be an understatement.
This week alone I had 12 events wiped from my schedule due to COVID-19 related cancelations or (yes, a year later) pre-cautions. I can’t even begin to count all of the lost opportunities I have had and at times it’s been flat out heartbreaking.
This year has made me stronger, has taught me to fight harder and forced me to endure more than I thought possible — and still, there are so so many more that have had to deal with so much worse.
In regards to the sports world, I feel for the athletes, the athletic programs, the fans, college students and coaches. There is no road map for what they have all endured this past year and my only hope is that everyone can find some light, some strength at the end of it all.
TIME TO PIVOT
When everything shut down last March I was a full-time freelancer, earning a living from my on-air sports broadcasting work. I never thought I’d have to work another non-on-air job again.
SHEW was I wrong.
As my canceled summer baseball job bled into canceled football seasons and sideline reporting going to the wayside, I had to pivot quickly.
An old contact reached out about helping create content for a canceled summer league baseball season, through some networking I was brought on as an Associate Director for Game Time with Boomer Esiason and I got to cover Army Football for a service academy football show. I worked in production as a camera operator, running audio or heck this weekend I’m working as the red-hat* for a Dog Show. (*that’s the person who signals when we’re back from commercial so the game can start again, or competition in this sense)
I started my own podcast and did a few ‘shows’ from my apartment to work on my craft. A mentor of mine (bless you Jill Montgomery) pushed me to try working as a color analyst since sideline reporters weren’t being used, and I was lucky enough to find some schools that would give me a shot.
Is any of it what I wanted to be doing? Not exactly. But it paid the bills, it keep me close to the game and pushed me out of my comfort zone (the whole color analyst thing? it’s actually really fun).
While I’m ready for it all to be ‘normal’ again, I’ve realized, this industry, it isn’t ever easy, normal or not. My advice to any aspiring broadcasting out there is to be kind, work hard and don’t be too proud to say yes to something you may feel is beneath you. (And that one is hard, especially when you’re doing games on TV one day and serving breakfast at a restaurant the next — shout out to my time at The Flying Biscuit).
It may look lucrative from the outside, but that’s just not always the case.
At times I’ve had to make ends meet working at restaurants, bars, gyms and in areas of sports I didn’t necessarily want to be in. However I learned a lot from my experiences working behind the scenes. I’ve made a lot of good contacts, and friends, who have helped me down the road.
This past year has given me a lot of time to reflect on why I’m working in this industry, and through each hardship is still a burning passion for covering some incredible teams, telling great stories and witnessing unbelievable moments. I may not know what is next, but I’m going to be grateful for the experiences I’ve had, keep working hard and be ready to pivot if need be!
Side Note: Props to the aspiring journalists who have reached out over the past year, I can’t imagine how hard it’s been to break in at this time and I’m always here if you need me!