Last week was challenging both professionally and personally. My schedule included a full load of sales work during the week, a road high school game Friday evening, and a 7-hour overnight drive to Whitewater, Wisconsin, to call a Morningside College game early Saturday afternoon. While this schedule was a grind, there is nothing unusual about it. Many of you make similar trips on a regular basis. What made this week especially difficult was the emotional roller coaster of putting my grandmother, who passed away the Friday before, to rest Thursday morning.
I’m not writing this as a cry for sympathy. My grandmother lived a long full life and passed away in her sleep at the age of 85. It was a sad time for me and my family, but it wasn’t unexpected. Her health had faded over the last several years and there was very little suffering. What I do want to talk about is the importance of family and keeping priorities in perspective. Seeing family and friends come from as far away as the Philippines for the funeral made me really understand the legacy she left behind and how important family bonds are in living a fulfilling life.
On the other hand, it stirred feelings of guilt about being so focused on climbing the sportscasting career ladder. I’m only a few rungs up and already I’ve had to make sacrifices on the family front. I frequently miss holiday gatherings on Thanksgiving and Christmas to cover tournaments. I’ve also missed baptisms, birthdays, track meets, and school plays of the people who are most important to me. It’s a hard thing to stomach, especially knowing that as long as I’m in this industry that it’s not going to change.
What keeps me sure that I’m on the right track is the support from these same people. At the funeral, my aunt asked me to read a letter she wrote to my grandmother as a eulogy because, “Well, you do talk for a living.” My parents were the first people to sign up for email updates of this blog and I know my dad listens to at least parts of almost every game I call.
Most relevant to this piece, I know for certain my grandmother herself was proud of what I do. Numerous times she would comment about how impressed she was and that she had no idea how I could talk that fast and know what to say. As a Christmas gift one year I put together a burned CD of several broadcasts, which I know she loved and kept for many years.
I couldn’t work this hard, travel this much, and makes these sacrifices without a great family and support system. So to all of these people, you know who you are, thank you. And to everyone reading this blog, remember it’s not the level of success you achieve that is most important in your career. It’s bringing happiness to both yourself and those closest to you. Remember this, and no matter how far you do or don’t climb, happiness and love will follow. And that’s what is really important.