I never went to summer camp.
I never went to summer camp because I loved playing baseball from April until September.
I never went to summer camp, but my loving parents always asked. I always told them something like, "I would, but I don't want to miss 3-4 weeks of playing ball."
I never went to summer camp, so I never experienced life alone away from home.
I never went to summer camp, but I thought college would change that.
And in a number of ways, college did allow me to grow on my own. Though, that isn't the focus of this post. Maybe I'll write about that topic down the road.
I attended Penn State with my best friends from back home. I didn't plan for that to happen but fortunately it did. I got rejected from all of my reach schools. And looking back, I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Without family, friends and Penn State, I wouldn't be where I am right now. Though, that isn't the focus of this post either. Maybe I'll write about that topic down the road, too.
Today is May 16, 2017.
I know what day it is because the laptop I'm writing on has this uncanny ability to tell me the date and time. Modern technology is something else, I tell ya.
Today is officially my one-year anniversary at WBNG 12 News.
For some reason, LinkedIn congratulated me a week ago. I'm not kidding. All LinkedIn had to do was contact me. You know, engage in an actual conversation, and I would have told him or her (I honestly have no clue what gender LinkedIn is) the actual date of my anniversary.
I started my sports broadcasting career on May 16, 2016, just ten days after graduating from Penn State.
What I'm about to disclose below I hope provides a useful look into what life's been like for me as a local TV sports anchor/reporter/videographer/writer/editor/social media guru. Now, whether I accomplish that or not, I really don't care. Well, that's not entirely true. I'm an emotional and somewhat sensitive guy. I do care. If you do happen to have any problems with what I write though, I've found that the best outlets to let people know how you really feel are Twitter and Facebook. Those two platforms have turned into quite cozy homes for negativity. I'd add Instagram to the mix, but I'm not hot enough to receive hate mail there. However, that isn't the focus of this post. Maybe I'll write about that topic down the road.
Growing up, my dad always told me, "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life."
I absolutely love what I do. If you know me, you know this to be very, very true.
Ask any person working in local TV. The majority of them will tell you that their lives are far from glamorous. At this point in my career, I agree with the majority. Although, not entirely. I do wear a couple layers of non-allergenic make-up to make me look all pretty when I'm on-air. My mom even lent me one of her Clinique make-up bags to hold the goods. So yeah, my rainbow-colored make-up bag pretty much makes me hot shit around the newsroom.
As a weekend sports anchor, my schedule constantly changes. My off days never stay the same. Sometimes I have Monday and Tuesday free. Other times, Tuesday and Wednesday. Even Thursday and Friday make appearances every now and again. Occasionally I'll have a split weekend. If you don't know what a "split weekend" is, "Google" it. If you're not feeling Google, just "Google" Bing and use that search engine. Typically, I work from 2-3 p.m. until midnight. I'm able to fall asleep by 3 a.m. My wake-up time varies, but I try to get at least eight hours.
I understand that the sporting world determines my schedule, so I don't mind the lack of structure and consistency. I knew what I was getting into when I decided to enter the industry.
Of course, I'm constantly trying to cope with not having weekends off. All of my closest friends do. That weekend trip down to Charlotte? Forget about it. I've gotten pretty damn good at texting, "I wish I could but can't."
A typical work day for me varies during the week, but I treat every weekend like Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. If you're mad I didn't use Super Bowl in that cliche, don't be. Get over it. Anyway, I anchor 4-6 sportscasts between Saturday and Sunday. That number changes because if NCAA football, basketball, PGA, or any award show on CBS goes past the 6 o'clock hour, my sportscast is the very first block to get floated from the 6 p.m. local weekend newscast.
The experience I gain in-studio is invaluable. The goal is to get better every single sportscast. And you know what's nice about what I do? After every show, I can immediately go back to the tape. I'm hard on myself. I always have been. I strive to be the hardest worker in the room. You have to be if you want to stand out in this business. What I really appreciate is when people come up to me and tell me how nice of a job I do on-air. I always figure no one's watching the local news over the weekend. So that's nice to hear every now and again.
Some viewers crack me up though. They assume that I make the big bucks and what they see on the tube just magically appears. That's not how it works. First off, I'm not swimming in cash. Secondly, I don't employ minions. I can't because I don't have hiring power. Plus, those guys are expensive. Like most broadcast journalists in small markets, I shoot all the video, write all the scripts, edit all the video, write all the web stories, and post everything across social media platforms. That is what's required in this day and age. You have to be able to do it all. I like the challenge. I know I can do it all.
Recently, at a high school softball game, I had a very good conversation with a parent. At one point, he asked me what the social life is like in the area for a young guy my age. I was completely honest with him. I had no reason to lie. I told him that my work days and hours don't really support a healthy social life. A majority of my time here in the Southern Tier I've spent alone. I'm an extrovert turned introvert. That's not by choice, but I'm not looking for pity. That's just the reality of a 23-year-old sports anchor/reporter in a small market.
Derek Jeter's jersey was retired on Sunday. In an interview with ESPN's Karl Ravech, Jeter talked about his first year of professional baseball and said, "Dealing with struggle and dealing with failure, it's all the first time. I mean, you have a lot of confidence and you've always had success, and now you're struggling. So it was difficult to deal with."
I never went to summer camp.
That's fine by me.
I love what I do. I love getting better at what I do. I love dreaming about what I do and where I can do it.