If you have the opportunity to work in sports for a living, consider yourself lucky. There are so many events we are able to experience compared to the regular 9-5 job most people have. That is why it is important to remember to enjoy the experience.
For at least 60% of the year, I work seven days a week. Once football season is over, recruiting season (which also never ends) is in full swing until National Signing Day. Then we immediately turn all of our attention on the next recruiting class, then there is spring football followed by high school camps. Then just like that the season starts again.
I’ll have moments where all I can think about is how much I’m working and how I would like just a little free time with my family and friends, but then I think of everything I am able to experience that others can’t. It is A LOT of work, so you can only do it if you really love what you are doing.
Facebook reminded me that five years ago today I packed up my life and moved to Monroe, La. When I was 23, I had the opportunity to move to Monroe to be the weekend sports anchor and reporter for KNOE-TV. The first time I had ever been to Monroe was for my interview, and after lots of thinking, I decided to head north.
I knew NO ONE. Not one person in the town. I was three hours from Baton Rouge and my family in New Orleans and now five hours from Houston where my parents live. My “weekends” were in the middle of the week, so that didn’t make it easy to see too many people. It felt lonely, but I wasn’t alone in the least bit! You see, in small television markets, like Monroe, there are a bunch of young reporters trying to gain experience to move on to the next market. I was surrounded by people my age who were at the same point in their careers, and we became a TV family. We spent holidays together, hung out after shows and had dinner at each other’s apartments.
I will always remember going to Shenanigan’s, the only local bar open on Sunday nights, after each 10pm Sunday newscast with weekend news anchor Frank Morales. If it weren’t for these relationships, my time spent there could have been a lot tougher.
While I was in Monroe, I thought a lot about what I was missing out on instead of what I was experiencing. I missed LSU so much, especially LSU Football, and being able to see my friends and family. I would see friends posting what they did on facebook and thinking, “I wish I was there doing that and not here.” Once I left KNOE to work for Scout.com, I was thrilled to be back in Baton Rouge covering LSU, and I knew I would not be successful at this new job without the experience I gained in Monroe.
It’s a funny thing, and I think that happens a lot in life, how you don’t realize what you had until you don’t have it anymore. When I look back now and I think of all of the experiences I realize how thankful I am for this time in my life and in my career. I watched Leonard Fournette when he was a freshman at St. Augustine High School in the playoffs versus Ouachita Parish High School. I shot, wrote, produced, edited and anchored more newscasts than I can count. I lived completely on my own for the first and only time in my life in a town that I grew to really enjoy.
So, remember, whether you work in sports, media or whatever, make sure you make a point to enjoy the experience you are living instead of wishing for the next one to happen.