I can still hear the theme song coming from the old tube TV sitting in my living room. Waking up early on the weekends to watch my favorite sports stars and how they fared the night before is one of the earliest memories I have growing up
I wanted to be on the screen one day talking about the pros and raving about their talents.
Fast-forward to high school, and my sights on the screen changed just a bit. I started to develop a taste for more of the creative aspects of journalism, and even the possibilities of being behind the camera. My high school produced the morning announcements with two different hosts, and I was always too afraid to be the one mic’d up. I found a passion for storytelling through words and for making extremely low quality videos with a humorous twist at the end of the morning announcements. I had big dreams about what I could do with a degree, and that led to making a trip across the state to California University of Pennsylvania where I developed my passion for storytelling even more.
Starting at Cal U, I still had a fear of being in front of the camera. At every chance, I volunteered to do the less-than-desirable jobs. I asked to do the stories that nobody wanted to do, or just didn’t have time to do. I took advantage of every opportunity that was given to me. My first opportunity was announcing a high school football game after only a few months of being at school, and I thought back to the countless times that I commentated my Madden games on Xbox. It might sound crazy, but I’m almost positive that I was not the only person that has ever done it. I started to get comfortable, and developed my on-air personality.
The announcing led to writing, and it all took off from there. I took advantage of an opportunity at the Cal Times newspaper, and found myself in the Editor-In-Chief chair starting my senior year. I sent my resume to the Pittsburgh Penguins during the summer of my senior year, and landed a production internship which stoked the fire yet again to achieve my dreams. Being close to the team and working alongside some of the most talented people I know allowed me to be a sponge in that environment. I learned the fundamentals of operating in the professional sports field, and it turned into a part-time position at the conclusion of my internship.
The Penguins season came to an end, and another opportunity opened up with AT&T SportsNet. I gained invaluable experience with editing software and working in a fast-paced environment that was very similar to a news format with a sports twist. It wasn’t the team side, but it showed me the importance of getting work done in a timely manner, and with precision.
Graduation was just around the corner, and so was crunch time. I had big dreams, and I wanted to get to the top. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave me a chance, and I jumped on it right away. Packing up my life and moving to a different corner of the country might sound daunting, but in my mind, I achieved a life-long dream of mine.
Working in the NFL in any capacity was fulfilled after travelling 1,001 miles to Tampa, Florida.
I hit the ground in a full sprint when I started, and took on projects that might have been over my head. I took advantage of the opportunity, and asked to take on even more after that. It was the relentless desire to prove to those around me that I deserved to be there that landed me the internship, which turned into a full-time position after almost a month and a half. Although the role changed, the spirit never will.
I cannot say enough about the opportunities and the experiences that I had at California University of Pennsylvania. A small school nestled in the corner of Pennsylvania opened up so many doors to the big stage.
Take advantage of opportunities and find your passion. Chase that goal and never lose your spirit.