Inside Hokie Sports
As the calendar turned to 2018, my
mind briefly turned, like yours I’m sure, to
resolutions and growth in my life. But as I
thought about it, I hesitated to aim at a specific
resolution. Rather, I looked at my continued
attempt to live a more balanced—and
It was NewYear’s Eve 2012, and I remember
two very clear realizations through the course
of an otherwise blurry evening. The first: to
have true happiness in life, you need balance.
The second: I didn’t have any.
I had been running pretty hard for a decade,
as 2013 dawned, having spent time with seven
different minor league baseball teams, one
university, and a major-market radio station.
I lived in six different states during that time
span, and in the process, became covered in
a thick coat of dream-chasing residue. My
credit was in shambles, my relationships with
friends and family felt distant, my physical
health started declining, and probably most
importantly, my attitude stunk.
I found myself at an odd place. You often
rationalize a lot of things with a simple
explanation of ambition, and my ambition
was pursuing my dream of calling games in
the big leagues. The beginning of the journey
felt exhilarating. Being recognized as good
enough to get paid to call games served as the
first high. Acceptance by people within the
game, and the gypsy lifestyle that came with it,
was the second. I soaked up every sip of their
acceptance, spending late nights with visiting
scouts or managers receiving an education
unable to be purchased with money. Only
your level of credibility gets you in those
doors, and once I grabbed the key, I cherished
it. Outsiders find it hard to understand the
dynamic, and that’s why they are outsiders.
The insiders in my life failed to get it and
In the first handful of years, there was no
evidence to show that I traveled down a rocky
path. I ascended every year and became proud
of my ability to pack and move in an hour with
nothing but a few trash bags and a compact
car. Promoted every year from 2004 to 2009,
I jumped from Summer Collegiate ball to
the lead broadcast position with a Double-A
team. I failed to notice the gradual attrition of
things. At one point, I went three or four years
without seeing my sister. Phone calls with my
brother became a semi-annual thing, and I
missed out on seeing any of my friends from
home for years.
The ballpark, wherever that may be,
became my community. I became important
there. I was the “Voice,” and I had a voice—in
all matters. From roster transactions to
fireworks shows, my opinion mattered. I
earned that through 18-hour days and 100-
hour weeks—and by never saying no and
never going home.
As the ball dropped to usher in 2013, the
shine faded. I stayed in the same place for
four seasons, never moving up, and I became
the definition of insanity. I did the same thing
year after year and hoped for different results.
They weren’t going to come, and realizing that
sparked a positive change in my life.
I always had been a naturally skinny
person, but as I looked in the mirror, my face
looked fat, along with my stomach. I fell out of
shape. I wanted to change that, and so in my
typical way, I overdid it, attempting a short-
term solution. I went from never working
out to attempting P90X. Various injuries and
occasional vomiting ensued, but I eventually
found a groove working out and started to
recognize the mental rewards of physical
exertion. I started counting calories and
became one of those people.
I noticed that the small work helped, but I
also realized that other larger scale changes
needed to happen. I still lacked balance in my
personal life, and much of that came about
because of the people I surrounded myself
with and the people whom I had shut out. I
needed to accept the failing of a long-term
relationship mainly because of me. Breaking
something after that period of time tends to be
messy. I caused pain, but only because I saw
an unhappy future. It hurt me, too.
I also needed to recognize that the ballpark
world where I comfortably found a home
wasn’t going to propel me forward. I opted
to leave the security of my full-time position
there to get back to pursuing various broadcast
aspirations. I took a risk.
The results were immediate. I lacked
money and felt a lot of regret at leaving my
comfort zone. My credit got worse, my doubt
grew stronger, and I wondered openly if I had
made some big mistakes. But I stuck with it,
and things started to turn. Renée [my fiancé]
re-emerged in my life and provided the spark
that I needed inmany ways. Mentors appeared
in some of the various freelance opportunities
that I picked and gave me a fresh perspective
on my goals. I started to rediscover the joy for
sports that seemingly had been dulled through
the years. I became more positive again, and I
started to recognize myself again.
Clichés occasionally fit, and having written
that, when you look at the world positively,
it tends to look back on you the same way.