This one is about the naiveté of my broadcasting journey.
Sophomore year of college, I was leaving St. Joseph's Hall (the small communications building on campus). Before I went out the door, I perused the internship/work study board. I was a sophomore, meaning that I wasn't quite ready for that big "junior year" internship. It's usually after your junior year because one's skillset starts to blossom. Even though I was doing some broadcasting, I still wasn't convinced it was my future.
I surveyed the board, looking as what communications jobs were out there. What could I eventually do? What are the qualifications for shit like this?
A beautiful header design caught my attention. The Dayton Dragons were looking for a media relations assistant. I don't remember everything it said, but it definitely mentioned how it was NOT an on-air position, which I thought was interesting. Why would a company put something like that in there? It turns out I had no idea how coveted these jobs would be.
I rushed back to my dorm, went into my room, and locked the door. I called Tom Nichols: Director of Broadcasting.
He answered immediately and we started talking about the position for the season. He mentioned that it was unpaid, it entailed helping him out in the broadcast booth, and learning about life in baseball. Then he asked about me. Long conversation in 2013, I don't remember everything that was said. But I do remember this.
He asked me what I wanted to be. What is your dream job in broadcasting?
I told him that I want to be the radio broadcaster for the New York Yankees.
He literally lol'd.
Yep. He laughed at me. Like "fat chance, guy."
I remember thinking...that's odd. I'm stating my dream job. Is it really that impossible?
Remember: when someone tells me that I can't do something or that "we can't make this happen right now," I go all out.
Tom's laugh was definitely not a mean laugh. More of a, "you haven't really heard about how hard this is, have you?"
Long story short, Tom took a liking to me. I stopped over for an interview or two with him, soaking up Fifth Third Field. I needed this position. That's what I told myself. And I got it.
I'll talk later about my Dayton Dragons experience. Tom Nichols is the biggest structural influence in my life for working in baseball. He also rubbed off on me the value of detail and hard work. All things to come in the future.
But the point of the story is this: at this point in my "career" I had no idea what was to come. No idea how hard it was, no idea how low the pay is, and no idea how tired I would be chasing this dream.
But Tom laughed at me that day. It told me all of the above: if I want to be the radio broadcaster for the New York Yankees, I better start understanding what it all means.
It would all start with Tom.