In a business of Type A personalities and search dog-type noses for information, there’s one question I get constantly: “What’s your dream job?”
It’s so simple, but how do you answer it when you’re a sports guy who’s been doing the news, but not the traditional hard news, more the features of underdogs, overachievers, and special personalities, and on top of it all you’re not completely sure your dream position even exists right now in an ever-changing business?
Doesn’t sound as simple anymore, huh?
I grew up in a town without a stop light. It was a two minute drive from one end to the other, and there was one thing that perked me up each day more than anything. I loved sports. I mean the kind of love where I’d grab the morning paper during the summer, flip to the MLB standings and start fleshing out the Cincinnati Reds’ playoff chances in blue pen in the margins. Then when Dad would get home from his long day of work, mine would begin. I’d bat on the pitching machine (hitting tennis balls for the sake of our neighbors’ houses) until my hands bled and then beg for one more bucket of 50. It was my big dream in a small world.
As happens with many of these young sports dreams, it died when I stopped growing. The talent couldn’t overcome the size deficit, and I needed a Plan B.
Did I mention I love to talk?
Sports Broadcasting it was, and I was on my way. I arrived in one of the most beautiful places on earth, Athens, OH, and Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. That’s where my path took shape through hours working on high school and Bobcats sports.
Then things got fun.
I moved again, this time to Augusta, GA, home of The Masters, to be a weekend sports anchor and reporter at the CBS affiliate, WRDW. I got my first taste of pro sports, the SEC, and covering two-a-days when it’s 100 degrees at 8 a.m. When it was time to go, I took a chance again, landing in Johnson City, TN, NASCAR country. Working on weekend sports again, this time at their CBS affiliate, WJHL, Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Dragway became my home three weeks out of the year. No matter what anyone says, I refuse to take responsibility for the fact that it rained every one of those weeks.
That’s when my path redefined itself again.
I moved to Dallas, the first big city I’ve ever called home. There were probably triple the people in my apartment complex as in my hometown. I became a news reporter at CW33, shocking even the Jake of six months prior. Here’s the thing, though. It’s when I finally realized my calling.
I’m a story teller.
It doesn’t matter if that story is a high school track champion who nearly died in a childhood lawnmower accident, a small town outside Dallas that doesn’t have running water, a baseball-loving boy fighting cancer with everything he has while inspiring thousands, or a family trying desperately to catch a mother’s killer.
I was born to do this. The jobs, the cities, and the co-workers may change, but storytelling won’t.
So what’s my dream job? Now you know.