I knew from childhood that I wanted to be involved with sports for as long as I could. I toyed with becoming a doctor, a lawyer, a stay-at-home mom, a business-woman, and much more, but nothing could hold my interest or my heart like the thrill of a game. I was taught that I could be anything I wanted, and this is what I chose.
I honed my skills in college and was offered a full-time position upon graduation. I saw a path laid out before me and I worked hard to follow it. There were sleepless nights. There were missed birthday parties. There were days when coffee just wasn’t enough. But my heart was happy.
As my relationship with my career grew stronger, my other relationships became weaker. I saw my friends less. I saw my family less. I worked out less. I watched less TV. My dog’s walks became shorter. My home became messier.
The more I worked, the more I left behind. Things that once made me happy became inconveniences or time conflicts, and over time, I began to realize that. I began to question my passion, my career path, and my life goals. If I continued on this journey, what would become of me? Would I ever get married if I barely made time for my closest family and friends? If I did, how would our future children fit into this crazy lifestyle? Would I ever make enough money to afford the things I want? Will I ever have a life outside of work?
Is this really what I want?
Everything became so confusing, and the questions in my mind continued. The more I fueled them, the more I began to doubt myself. I quit my job in sports and became a high school english teacher, convinced that the true joy I gained from working with student-athletes would carry into a position working with students just a few years younger.
I wasn’t wrong, but after a year working with some amazing, witty, and special students, I knew that I couldn’t do the job forever. That summer, a position at my college alma mater opened up in the Career Planning office. A position in student affairs seemed right up my alley, and I was lucky enough to be offered the position. After just three months in that role, however, I was approached about a position with the University of Michigan Athletic Department -- plot twist! I hadn’t worked full-time in Athletics for over a year, and the opportunity was scary as well as ill-timed, but I accepted.
In a rush, I moved out of my home state for the first time, away from everyone I’d ever known, and began a new and exciting role working with Michigan’s elite baseball and volleyball teams. I quickly grew to love my coaches, student-athletes, and staff, and my heart felt full.
Once again, however, I fell into my old habits.
I’ve had so many high moments in the last year, but I’ve had some pretty low ones, too. I’ve questioned my career path more than once, and I’ve learned that not everything works out the way you plan it. I never dreamed I’d be where I’m at today, but each step I made along the way put me right where I needed to be. That’s sometimes a hard pill to swallow, but an easy, simple life would probably be a boring one, right?
To this day, I I know I still don’t have it all figured out. My house is messier than I’d like, and I miss a few more workouts than I’d like to admit. I’ll continue to miss family gatherings, and my friend-circle has grown smaller. But through it all, I am happy.
I come to work every day (or so it seems) and get to interact with world-class student-athletes, coaches, and staff. I have been welcomed and embraced by two very special teams, and I spend countless hours promoting some of the best people I’ve ever met -- people who I know deserve to be recognized for their accomplishments.
I’m also lucky enough that I get to watch sports for a living, and that I’ve seen many more wins than losses in the last year. I’m blessed to have a heart that can endure all of the love, excitement, and hope that I feel during a baseball game or a volleyball match, and to be surrounded by people that don’t judge me for cheering at the scorer’s table.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to afford or balance the life I’ve dreamed of, but I’m working towards a career I’ve always dreamed of.
The days are long, but they are worth it.