It’s been a while.
Since I’ve posted something here.
And since I’ve stared at a blank Word document with the cursor flashing in the upper left corner.
2019 has been a year of change for me, of answered prayers and of hope turned to reality.
The new year began with the potential of a career move, one that got started on my birthday. From the month it took from the date of my application to my first day on the job, it was probably the most consistently prayerful I’ve been in my life.
Which is good and bad at the same time. Good because I was praying, duh. Bad because my motivation was my desire to obtain something I wanted. Since then, it hasn’t been radio silence but quieter.
If you’ve met me only briefly, you know I love Baylor. It’s pretty much my favorite place. To work at Baylor, whoa, was a dream job to me. I wasn’t sure the capacity of said dream job – I was a sports writer at the Waco Trib covering some Baylor athletics and I figured that was the closest I would ever get.
Until I received a call about a job opening in the Athletics Communications office. It wasn’t a completely different situation – PR (public relations) compared to news editorial kind of journalism – but different none-the-less. If I were to get the job, I’d be playing catch-up.
I’m a hustler. I have the “Hustler” award plaques from basketball camp at Midwestern State in the summers growing up to prove it. I’m not allergic to hard work. So my year began as I played the waiting game to hear back about the job.
At the end of January, I knew the job was mine. Not only had God answered my prayers but he’d also turned a bit of a day dream into reality.
It’s weird but shows the goodness of God. I can think up a scenario or situation in my head. Like when I got my first job in Lubbock, I thought it would be cool if a job called me to apply instead of my applying and jumping through those hoops. And if all of that could take place toward the end of basketball season, in the perfect window where my apartment’s lease was concerned, that’d be cool.
That’s what happened two years ago when the Waco Trib called me to ask if I would be interested in a job. They called. I would start whenever Tech basketball (which, CONGRATS GUYS on your Big 12 Championship!) finished play at the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City.
(probably my very favorite basketball picture – Brad Tollefson 📸)
And my nearly two years at the Trib were some of my favorites. I had my favorite boss of my professional career at the Trib. I worked with great people in a great environment. When people would ask me what goals I had for my career in the next five years, I honestly didn’t see myself going anywhere.
Until the call measuring my interest about the Baylor position came.
Now, I’m the sports information director at Baylor for the softball and soccer teams. The fancy version of the job title is: Associate Director of Athletics Communications. Basically, I’m the go-between between the teams and the media. I also get game notes ready, make sure the stats are accurate and up to date and do so many different small jobs behind the scenes.
Years ago, I had to take a personality quiz of some sort – one of those what is your love language type things that just seems cheesy the whole way through. Mine is acts of service. And that’s what I get to do every day is serve the university, the coaches and student-athletes.
But what’s really great about this new job is the sense of belonging.
Covering high school football games at the Trib, I’d look out at the crowd and get a little jealous sometimes. First of all, these lucky ducks have the weekend free. That’s a luxury that usually comes only in the summer when you’re in the sports media world. But the main thing I desired that they had was the ability to belong to a team, to root for that team if that makes sense.
They’d show up in their school’s T-shirt and hat and cheer their team on. I, a journalist, never could do that. I could never be biased.
Yes, during the winter I’d cover the Baylor women’s basketball team, one of my all-time favorite teams, but I couldn’t “belong” with that team. I couldn’t show any kind of partiality for them. I couldn’t be viewed as a “homer.” It was always like I was on the other side of a glass door looking in.
Now, however, I get to wear things with “BU” or “Baylor” on them to work. (When you’re a journalist, you NEVER wear a team’s logo to cover them, especially at games. And if a game you’re covering has a blue team and a green team, you wear anything but blue or green. You can’t be biased, remember?)
I also get to be with the team. I travel with the team. I eat with the team. This may sound weird, but I get to talk to the team.
Right now, I’m in a hotel room in Lake Charles, La. as softball has a few games in this neck of the woods the next couple of days.
While PR and News Ed journalism are similar – like at Baylor they’re two different paths of the journalism major with lots of overlapping classes – they’ve got their differences.
While I’ll get to write more at Baylor the more I’m there – I’ve finally learned all the different stat file names, so they don’t sound like foreign phrases to me anymore PTL – it’s been weird to pull up a document for a recap or a release and work from a template.
While it’s loads easier than coming up with a feature-y lede to draw readers in to news stories, it was a weird moment for me a couple of days ago when I realized how long it had been since I had stared at a blank Word document, something I’d looked at multiple times a day for I can’t even tell you how long.
And while I’m still learning – and definitely did cry myself home after my first day at the ballpark flying solo because I felt like I had zero clue what I was doing (I compared that weekend to that of Michael Jordan’s baseball career … my Space Jam days are coming) I have been blessed.
Not like, “I am bless to receive an offer from XYZ University,” like the high school kids tweet out in a screenshot of a Notes document from their iPhones. And yes, lots of them say bless instead of blessed. But like, I’m blessed.
God cared enough about me that when I couldn’t decide between staying in Lubbock covering Tech men’s hoops and baseball and coming to Waco to cover the Lady Bears and high school sports, I prayed for him to close one door so I could choose. And he slammed the door to Lubbock to bring me to Waco.
That led me to probably the most professional growth of my career and brought me back to the place I love. He even brought my brother to my University, so I guess it’s our University now.
And then from that job at the Trib came the job I have now. One that I never dreamed I’d have but definitely thought, “Hey, that’d be cool,” every now and then.
Y’all know I love Annie F. Downs – her podcast, her constant Instastories and all of her books. Her most recent one, Remember God, whoa. If you haven’t read it yet, you really, really need to. Even if you’re a dude, read it.
But she talks about when things aren’t going how she’d like them to, or if it feels like God isn’t kind – is He still kind? Is he still good?
And then she goes on to point back to – yes He’s always kind, He’s always good because of XYZ. I guess part of this post is serving as a reminder to me. So when things get hard, because James says, “when you face trials of various kinds,” not, “if you face trials of various kinds,” (James 1:2-4) I can point back to this time of my life, the early weeks of my 28th year on this year and say, “Yes, He is kind. He is good. He is sovereign.”