Anyone to pretending to be in love with their career every second of the day is insane.
Over the last few years, I’ve experienced some incredible highs and some devastating lows. One thing remains constant: My passion for sports and blazing a trail for other aspiring women in sports media.
From the day I was fired from my corporate job and said I couldn’t be stuck in a cubicle doing monotonous work any longer, I was scared out of my mind. What was going to be next? What would I be doing with my life if I wasn’t doing what everyone else my age was doing? If I chased after my dream instead of watching others accomplish their own, what would happen? Hell, at this point I still don’t know for certain what my future entails.
I only know that I am pushing forward regardless of the people that doubt me.
Last week I was honored to interview women in different facets of sports, from sports information and administration to broadcasting. Being reminded of the unity within the world of sports for women was incredibly inspiring, to say the least. Through most areas of life, being a minority in an industry can be an uphill battle. Whether it is your gender, race, orientation, religious background, etc. that puts you into the minority category… using it to fuel your motivation isn’t the easiest.
We live in a weird world. Well…that is a complete understatement, as most of you know. We have our White House more concerned with attacking a privately owned company for tweets that an employee made against the questionable values of this country’s leader. Then there are former sports reporters turning into conservative mouthpieces for shock value. We have one of the largest sports networks ever blowing a chance to speak out for their employees and keeping as neutral as possible. We have a large percentage of the population outraged that a woman appeared alongside men as a commentator on Monday Night Football.
Am I shocked? Unfortunately, no.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve seemed to have lost my tenacity and resolve to “be the change I want to see in the world.” I’ve sat back, kept quiet, and focused on my day to day life, barely going through the motions. Don’t mistake that brief silence for indifference. Being the first woman hosting a sports talk show in Kansas City comes with an awareness of odds being stacked against me. Developing a thick skin comes with learning what to let upset me and what to ignore as background noise. After attempting to figure out what has been holding me back from being the outspoken live-wire I have been in the past, I realized sports stopped being fun and lighthearted for the majority of us.
Sports have become fueled with the same divisiveness of politics as a sign of the times we live in. Teams refusing to put an incredibly qualified quarterback on the field because of his belief that all races and backgrounds should be treated equally by each other and the justice system. The masses calling for the firing of an incredibly qualified and brilliant journalist because of her comments regarding the White House. Corporations wanting to put a muzzle on the media if they don’t agree with the current regime. Fans becoming outraged by professional athletes having opinions and being anything besides entertainment and fantasy football numbers. With all of the noise surrounding sports culture, focusing on why those of us in sports media even want to do a job full of such negativity is easy:
We do truly love our jobs.
Jemele Hill speaks with passion, on and off camera. Colin Kaepernick raises awareness for multiple race issues facing our country. The athletes that choose to sit during the national anthem are doing so in peaceful protest, without bothering a single person. The greatest part of being an American is having the freedom of speech to express your opinion whether you are a member of the press, a high profile athlete or an average citizen. A life without being passionate, no matter what your passion is, is an incredibly dull and fruitless life. Having opinions while the masses are calling for you to stick to sports is frowned upon, yet it starts conversations that would otherwise be uncomfortable to some people.
I applaud those making a difference and bringing awareness to the injustices in this country. I aspire to bring the same consciousness for the causes I am fervent about. Truly, I hope there are more people inspired by the conviction showcased by these headstrong in the sports world. I’d like to thank Jemele Hill and the colleagues that stood by her for reminding me why I remain passionate about being a trailblazer in sports media.
Embrace the spotlight.
Ruffle some feathers.
If you are doing your job with passion, you are doing it right.
Remember what helped you reach this point… being different from everyone else, being outspoken and being fearless.