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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

became outsiders.

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.




Balancing Act