I should probably preface this by saying that I’ve always loved playing sports. Soccer, basketball, softball; the whole nine yards. Partially because I was slightly above average at them, but also because growing up we were a “sports family,” whatever that means.
My parents had just gotten divorced which meant that when I was at my dad’s house, it was me, my older brother George, and my dad, Ken. My sister was away at college, and I was the lone girl of that house every other week.
When it came to TV time, I was almost always outnumbered – if we were going to watch TV, we were going to watch sports. No questions asked.
Eventually I embraced the fact that Gossip Girl wasn’t going to be the unanimous vote. Or even the majority.
So there I was, 13, spending my evenings watching sweaty boys tackle each other and grown men swing wooden bats.
Little did I know, all these years later, that those would become the pivotal moments in my life that would define my career path.
I remember listening to George and Dad harp at the TV during Sunday Night Football, things like:
All of a sudden I was back in my foreign language class. Except the language was football. And I had an F in the class.
The shouting came again months later during baseball season:
What the hell does “off-speed” even mean?
These questions that I had internalized in my stubborn attempt to show my dislike, eventually came to a head. There was a language barrier here. Only I wasn’t in a foreign country, I was in my living room.
I tried to push the curiosity away for a little while, holding out hope that my soap operas would magically appear on the screen one night.
They never did.
Well, if you can’t beat em, join em.
Channel 13. Fox Sports. Sunday Night. It’s like clockwork around here.
“Hey Dad, what’s a Hail Mary?”
I’m sure my dad had a smart-ass remark about how I finally took my nose out of my phone long enough to ask a question, before telling me that a Hail Mary is a long (emphasis on long) pass made by a quarterback who is desperate to get the team down the field and numbers on the board.
Hmmm, interesting, I thought to myself.
Eventually one question turned into two, then three…
Between now and then, a lot has changed. For one, I grew up – I went through my awkward phase, had braces in at least two school pictures (then retook them both times without showing my teeth), got my heart broken, tore my ACL, graduated high school, and ended up playing college soccer at Chapman.
Mixed in there is all the nights I spent with my dad and George watching sports, asking questions, and in awe of the subtle differences found in every game.
I think that’s what amazes me about sports – no matter what, something will always be different than it was the last time. You think you can predict it because you’ve seen it so many times – and then Russell Wilson throws an interception with 15 seconds left to lose Super Bowl XLIX.
As my brother and I have grown up and gone to college, the three of us don’t have all the nights together that we used to. But I can say without hesitation that the patience that those two had teaching me is the reason I am so invested in the industry today. In many ways, it makes me thankful for my parent’s divorce – without it, I’m not sure I would have found my passion.
Today, I have fifteen years of soccer (and counting) under my belt, all of which were spent with George and Dad on the sidelines.
Today, I rarely miss a Sunday football game and will gladly skip a Thursday night at Paul’s to watch a Thursday Night Football game.
Today, I daydream about being a sideline reporter for a sports franchise or writing sports columns for a newspaper. I daydream about a career that I would have never fell in love with if it weren’t for all of those nights with my two boys.
It’s Sunday morning.
I’m enjoying my morning coffee watching the Seahawks play the 49ers. I’m in a daze, watching a dream pan out in my head where I’m out on that field covering the pre-game preview – when I’m interrupted.
It’s my roommate.
“Hey Mia, what’s a Hail Mary?”
“Funny you should ask.”