By Jamari Jordan
A lot can change in 145 days. Five months ago, I was standing in Sanford Stadium watching the fireworks scream in the skies above the 50-yard line. I couldn’t believe a few more colors and streams would signify the end of my last few moments inside my favorite venue.
A couple of days later, I said goodbye to Athens, and Georgia for that matter, and said hello to Charlotte, NC.
Much of the 145 days has been like hitting a reset button. Everything has changed and to pretend that it hasn’t would be foolish. If things hadn’t changed, I would be highly disappointed in myself.
Growth can only happen when you are uncomfortable. Pressure makes diamonds, and when you are in a new, unchartered territory, you find out things about yourself that you never knew existed. You discover a new you. A better YOU.
The hardest part about these 145 days was having the belief in myself to chase my dream. ESPN has been the carrot dangling on the string for what felt like forever. Every summer, I would fill out an application to an internship program. Then, weeks later, I would receive the “NO” email.
You know the email that starts with, “Dear applicant, we regret to inform you that due to a high number of qualified applicants…”
At the end of the email, they always to try to leave you with a sliver of hope. “We hope you continue to keep us in mind in the future for opportunities and look forward to hearing from you…”
In April, I got the “YES” email. Finally, I snatched the carrot off the string. For 30 seconds after I got the phone call, I let myself live and sit there in that moment. All the denials felt like stepping stones. I was redeemed and my dreams were vindicated.
More redemption than hitting the last shot in pong. More vindicated than stopping the pump right at $10.00 when getting gas. More thankful than when your favorite team wins the game at the last second (not that I can relate, smh).
ESPN challenges me, and that is more than I could ever ask for. During my senior year, I was complacent. I was coasting to the finish line because I felt like I had nothing left to prove. Now, I have everything to prove.
I’m back at the bottom of the totem pole, and that can be humbling but also energizing. I want to prove that they made the right decision in choosing me. I want to prove that I can work my way to the top the same way I did in high school and college. I want to prove I belong here.
To be honest, most days in the office don’t even feel like work. Words can’t describe the feeling when I see my material on live tv every day. My first week here I just watched everything I did on loop on my DVR at home because I couldn’t believe that something I did was on TV.
As much fun as I have at work every day, I feel guilty. I get to live my dream, but Trayvon, Mike Brown, Tamir, Kendrick Johnson, and the countless others can’t. As an African American, especially an African American male, right or wrong, I have a greater sense of duty to my community.
When I see black people, all around this country hurting, I feel like I should be doing a lot more instead of discussing why Nick Saban can’t be defeated. I feel like I should be giving “a voice to the voiceless” instead of just covering sports.
I get it. Sports is a microcosm of a society. So many stories we discuss from Donald Sterling to Colin Kaepernick apply to real-life situations. Additionally, sports give us a break from all the heavy, depressing topics of our day.
Some will say being a black person “making it” is doing something. Granted, we do need more representation, but making it is something, but not everything. I’m looking for something that impacts and carries. The next goal on my list is to find the balance of community service and storytelling.
These 145 days have been good to me. I got my dream job. I got my first apartment. I got my first car. Also, I got my first set of bills (Why is there a tax on everything. My sales tax had a tax).
I’m just hoping that the next 145 days can be as fulfilling an exciting as the last 145.