Part 1: Could Be A Quarter-Life Crisis…
Mine is not a success story.
Mine is a let’s-see-if-this-works story. A close-your-eyes-and-hope-for-the-best story.
Mine is a love story.
I hope you’ll see me and my love off as we head out for parts unknown. Unknown, at least, to me. Are you ready for us, Bristol, Connecticut?
After four years, one apartment and millions of bagels, I’m leaving the friendly confines of Manhattan behind and traveling two hours north, to the home of ESPN. Why, you ask? Like I said, it’s a love story. And we all know love can make you do crazy things.
When you are studying abroad in London – 3500 miles and an Atlantic Ocean away – love will make you come home for a weekend, just to see the Philadelphia Eagles play in their first Super Bowl in 24 years.
When you are working in New York, love will make you leave said work early and Amtrak it down I-95, just for the chance to party down Broad Street when the Phillies win Game 5 of the World Series.
When you’re just a college student, love will make you run through the streets of State College in a human crush of thousands of your fellow collegians – all to celebrate the improbable, impossible return of the Nittany Lions in the fall of 2005.
I have traveled far and wide for my teams. Tuscaloosa. Pasadena. South Bend. Jacksonville. Miami. And now, a sleepy town in central Connecticut.
To understand just how and why I got here – Bristol, CT, Population: 61,513 – let’s rewind.
On January 4, 2010 (yes, I know the date) I felt something break inside. Have you ever heard a football player describe the acute agony of the moment he injured his knee? He literally hears it pop. And I did too. I literally heard it pop. On my first day back to work after the new year, I walked into my office, home to a boutique public relations agency, and knew it was over.
Don’t misunderstand me. My breakup with the world of public relations was months (years, really) in the making. I didn’t just wake up one winter morning and decide it was over. But I did wake up one winter morning and decide my complacency was over. And it was. I heard it pop.
One month later I told my boss I intended to leave the agency by the summer.
Four months after that, I did just that. I left public relations behind.
And one month after that, I moved back home with my parents.
Part Two: …Or Just A Stirring In My Soul
2010. Living at home, in the house I grew up in. No job. No prospects. Update, one prospect. Got the interview, didn’t get the job. Back to no prospects. No money. Bite the bullet and freelance for my old public relations boss. Feel like a failure. Heart breaks. 2011. Happy New Year. Still no job. Still no prospects. Freelancing again for my old public relations boss. Sinking feeling that no job will ever come.
And then, by some miracle, one does.
In my entire life – all 28 years of it – I’ve felt deeply, excruciatingly passionate about exactly two things. Sports and writing. Writing and sports. These, my two loves.
So when the chance to work for ESPN The Magazine came along, I pounced. Literally. I think it involved falling out of my chair. And a fist pump.
I joined the magazine in April 2011. Do you know those movie scenes with movie embraces? Two long-lost loves run towards each other, desperately, longingly? Then you know just how I felt joining the magazine.
It was a storybook ending. Happily ever after. Cue the music. Roll the credits.
Except for this one detail. Just two months later, the job would relocate to Bristol, Connecticut, with the entire magazine joining ESPN’s headquarters up north.
It was never really a question of whether I would go. Soul mates are soul mates, after all. But there are still questions. Oh, are there questions. How can I do this on my own? With no friends? With no family? And what of New York? It was only four years, but the city grows on you fast.
Worst of all, what if my soul mate doesn’t love me back? Maybe my writing isn’t good enough, or my fanaticism for all things sports just doesn’t translate here.
Yet whenever doubt creeps in (which, inevitably, it does) I think about that girl walking in New York City when she heard something pop. That is when I know, if nothing else, this whole crazy adventure, this upheaval of my life, is worth a go.
That’s my story. It’s not a success story. It’s a let’s-see-if-this-works story. A close-your-eyes-and-hope-for-the-best story.
It is a love story.