While driving home on Easter Sunday, I was treated to a beautiful South Dakota sunset. The mostly flat terrain gives a clear view of the orange, purple, and gold hues bleeding together to silhouette the grain silos, barns, and leafless trees. It’s a perfect scene, but it’s perfection that’s unattainable. No matter how fast or far you drive into the west, you can never catch it. The sunset dips below the horizon and you’re left in the dark.
During my drive, I was listening to the Westwood One coverage of the NCAA tournament. Tom McCarthy and Gary Cohen called that night’s games. Thinking about the combination of talent and opportunity to call games at that level feels like chasing that sunset to an aspiring sportscaster — a thing of beauty that will always be out of reach.
It’s these moments when I wonder what the hell I’m doing in this career? I’ve sacrificed friendships, time with my family, and romantic relationships all in the hope that I can someday be part of an elite group of play-by-play broadcasters. It’s impossible to not let doubt creep in from time to time. It’s not only the Westwood One guys. Since starting this site, I’ve also listened to the work of peers — many who are currently at the same level as myself but are talented enough to be calling games at a much higher rung of the ladder. They’re just waiting for their opportunity.
I, of course, root for the success of all of my friends in the industry. But I’m still competing with these same people in a very small, competitive job pool. The reality is that I’m not yet on their level. All this means I’m still miles and miles away from the goal that I want to so badly reach.
This doesn’t mean I’m giving up. Far from it. It means I have to make up for being less talented by having a plan and working harder than everyone else. I have to grind. Put in time and get focused reps that nobody else is getting. To practice at a rate that allows me to improve. To find a way to bridge that talent gap.
I also have to be patient. Many talented people will give up before their break, opening up an opportunity for someone else. Sometimes, it’s a battle of attrition and outlasting the competition is key. For me, it has to be a marathon, not a sprint.
Most importantly I have to take these moments of doubt and use them as fuel and motivation instead of getting discouraged. I don’t have a plan B and I don’t have any other marketable talents, so I have to make it, and I will. When it’s time to ride off into the sunset and before it goes black on the horizon, I’ll catch that sunset, somehow, some way.