As long as I can remember, I dreamed of working in sports. I grew up with three brothers – two older and one younger – and in our home, sports were happening all around us, with games being played in the backyard, broadcast on television and talked about at the dinner table. At first, I thought I wanted to be an anchor on ESPN’s SportsCenter, but once I started to enjoy reading about sports, I aspired to become a sportswriter. I would read the New York Times Sports page every morning before school and tear through Sports Illustrated cover to cover as soon as it came in the mail. I also enjoyed reading books about sports, like Mike Lupica’s sports fiction or Michael Lewis’ sports histories. As an avid sports fan, stories that got to the heart of how sports inspire us and teach us lessons about our daily lives touched me at my core, and I knew I eventually wanted to pass that feeling onto other readers through my work.
The most important lessons my Comparative Literature and Classical Langauges studies taught me are that every word and detail matters, and that there’s often a story within a story waiting to be uncovered. In my opinion, the best journalists have an eye for details other people don’t see, which enables us to pull on threads and reveal something new about a person or a narrative through our work. That requires curiosity, critical thinking, determination and people skills because, in order to get someone to divulge information or an emotion they’ve never shared before, you need to make them feel comfortable. Being detail-oriented carries over into the writing process, where I believe the best stories produced are the ones where every sentence and anecdote has a purpose to the larger meaning of the story. It’s common for writers to use filler words and quotes to make a story seem longer and smarter, and to reflect the depth of their reporting work, but that strategy almost always leads to a worse experience for the reader.
I’ve felt recently that sometimes I get so focused on forging my career path in journalism, that I lose sight of the bigger picture of my career and long-term goals. I aspire to start my own company someday related to women’s sports, and I know I’ll need to have a stronger background in business for any endeavour like that to succeed, which will require me to step out of my comfort zone. So, my next learning journey will include a crash course in finance, start-ups and business development. On a more personal level, I’ve started to re-learn how to play the piano. I reached a high level at a young age and gave it up before high school, and now intend to get back what I’ve lost. Playing an instrument triggers a part of the brain that I haven’t activated in a long time, and that has been rejuvenating.
My mom has said since I was very little that there is a silver lining in everything we do, even an outcome that seems devastating at the time. That advice has guided me throughout my career and allowed me eventually to see the bright side of every failure or misstep. I also think often of the Winston Churchill quote: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” I try not to get too high on the highs, nor too low on the lows, and use every career experience as a springboard to the next challenge.
I am currently reading Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell by Jason L. Riley, which offers a fascinating look at the economist and social theorist, his personal political trajectory from Marxism to conservatism, and his commitment to evidence-based scientific thought in the face of heavy criticism, particularly as it relates to his views on race. It’s giving me a lot to think about in our current political climate, which increasingly seems to promote extreme views on both the right and the left and discourage people from learning the other side of an argument or having good-faith debates. Before that, I read Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier, one of my favorite pieces of literature I’ve come across in a long time. I’m a fan of The New York Times’ podcast The Daily podcast for my morning news fix, and my husband and I are currently watching Endeavour, a riveting British detective drama series on Netflix.
Published on January 9 , 2024.