My senior year of high school I decided I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I remember sitting on the couch watching the 2011 College National Championship between the Auburn Tigers and Oregon Ducks. I didn’t care about either team. I had no desire to ever go to one of those schools and was only really watching because it was a Monday night and nothing else was on tv.
I thought I knew a lot about football then. I was a high school cheerleader who went to every varsity football game. So, I thought I knew a lot about football. Our team wasn’t any good, really. We didn’t go into the season thinking we were going to win a Texas state championship or anything. The thing we cared about most was beating our across-town-rivals and winning our homecoming game. I was captain of the cheer team so I did have to know SOME about the game. I needed to know when we were on offensive or defense, when we were close to scoring or if the ball was fumbled, etc. And small town Texas football brings that nostalgic, “Friday Night Lights” feeling to people. Whether you’re a player, a cheerleader, a band member, or just some kid sitting in the stands. I mean… it’s Texas. High. School. Football. So yeah, I thought I knew a lot about football.
I remember watching the intro piece for Auburn before the game started. It, of course, focused on Cam Newton and I remember hearing the song “Don’t Let Me Fall” by B.o.B. play while they showed highlights from the Tigers’ perfect season. I thought I knew a lot about football but that night I learned about the kind of football that has this special effect on people. This is different from showing up to a high school football game because it’s what the popular kids do on a Friday night in Texas. This was college football. The kind of football that gets a 75-year-old Auburn Tiger to spend a small fortune on a 50 yard line ticket to fly half way across the country to see his alma mater play. This was the National Championship. This was the kind of football that gave a 17-year-old girl (who didn’t actually really know that much about football) the chills on a Monday night watching two teams who she didn’t know anything about besides that they were both really, really good.
The next thing on my screen was Erin Andrews. I know what you’re thinking, “How many girls these days say they want to be the next Erin Andrews? Thousands, probably. How original.” And for a while, yes, I told people I wanted to be the next Erin Andrews. It was like being a cheerleader on the sidelines but she actually knew what was going on and cared about the game. I remember thinking, “There’s no way she’s not getting the same goose bumps I have. Heck, her goose bumps are probably mountains compared to mine because she’s actually there.”
About a month later, I decided I was going to attend The University of Oklahoma for four reasons. 1. I knew I wanted to be a journalism major and from what I read and heard, OU had a pretty good journalism school. 2. I wanted to go somewhere that I could join a sorority. 3. I wanted to go far enough away from home but still be close enough to drive back whenever I wanted to. 4. OKLAHOMA FOOTBALL.
Oklahoma Football. The seven-time National Champions. The crimson and cream. The pride of Oklahoma. I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to be able to be one of those 75-year-old Oklahoma Sooners who spends a small fortune on a 50 yard line ticket to see my alma mater play in the national championship one day. So, I did it. I enrolled at OU and four years later, I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism.
Then that was it, right? I had the degree. I had the journalism experience. I had the love for football. I had the love for all Sooner sports. So that was it. I would get a job in sports and eventually end up one day working for my beloved Oklahoma Sooners. At least, that was the plan.
My plan didn’t go exactly how I had imagined. I graduated. I moved back home with my parents because no job means no money and no money means you move back in with your parents. Thankfully they were willing to accept me. I interviewed at news stations (because my last semester of college all of my superiors and mentors told me how much easier it is to get into the news business then transfer to sports) in places like Biloxi, Mississippi and I tried to imagine myself there. Twenty-two years old, living in Biloxi, Mississippi, working early mornings, late nights, weekends, holidays, you name it. I admit now that during this process I was naive. I wanted to put in the work but I didn’t want to go that far to put in the work. Where would I live? Would I make friends there? What would I even do with my time outside of work? Would I be lonely? Would this lead to something bigger and better one day? Would it be worth it? I couldn’t find it in me to tell myself that it would be worth it. So, I made the decision to find a job in Dallas and move in with a friend from college.
“It will be very temporary,” I kept telling myself and my parents and anyone else who asked why I wasn’t jumping right into a job in journalism or sports.
Well, here I am, two full years after my graduation from OU, and I am still in this “very temporary” job that has become not-so-temporary anymore. Don’t get me wrong – I work for a great company with nice people, good pay and great benefits. But the one thing I can’t seem to answer completely truthfully these days is the question, “Are you happy?” In the big scheme of things, of course I am happy. I have a roof over my head, family and friends that love me, a super cute dog, and I am healthy and employed. In the small, day-to-day scheme of things, however, I’m not happy. I don’t feel like my purpose, the one that God gave me, is being fulfilled. I don’t feel like I’m doing enough.
I know what you’re thinking… again. “Just go get a job. Do whatever it takes.” Trust me, I am currently doing everything I can think of and at the moment, it’s just not good enough. Employers in sports want someone with experience. They aren’t going to take a chance on someone in an industry where perfection is expected. I understand that.
So here is where my happiness comes in: while I continue to work my desk job in an industry I have no interest in, I will write. I will write about sports, life, and anything else that pops into my head. Because life is too short to be anything but happy and I plan on making taking control of my happiness from here on out.
Even if my hundreds of applications don’t lead to a sports job, through this blog, regardless of who sees it or who doesn’t, I am starting to doing something that actually makes me happy. Current happiness = getting my thoughts out of my head and onto a piece of paper… or in this case, a computer screen.
I recently heard someone say: “You plan, God laughs.” So, I know He will be missing some of the daily entertainment I’ve been providing Him with the last two years, but this is me putting the planning to bed.
I thought I knew exactly where I would be two years out of college. Yeah, I thought…