it may or may not come as a surprise to you that my undergraduate degree is in sport management or that i have a minor in coaching. i wrote about how the coaching minor has impacted how i go through day to day things a few weeks ago. when i was in college, somewhere between my junior and senior years, i began to look into possible internships within the sports world. i looked at professional teams in the major sports. i looked at local high schools and their athletic departments. i actually got pretty deep into looking into spending a summer on cape cod interning with the cape cod baseball league. i also looking into espy.
for any sports fan, espn is a staple. you can complain about how they do things and how they’ve dumbed down sports and sports journalism to simply being trivial debates about things that they make up, but the one thing that you can’t neglect is the simple fact that they have single handedly built the sports world into what it is today. they’re the driving force behind the growth of soccer in america. they built nascar into the ginormous cult following that it has. they even turned poker into must-watch prime time television.
if they put their hand on something, it became bigger and more important than it was before they touched it.
for the past month or so, maybe even six weeks, i’ve been reading the book those guys have all the fun. it’s all about espn and how it got started. two guys named james andrew miler and tom shales interviewed hundreds and hundreds of people who have been a part of espn at one time or another. they talked to executives, anchors, researchers, production assistants. they interviewed league commissioners, players, broadcasters from other networks. after talking to all of these people, they compiled it into a big that started with the birth of the idea of espn and, over 1200 pages later, culminated into what espn is as of early 2011.
it’s behind the scenes.
it holds nothing back.
one of the themes that fascinated me from the beginning of the book all of the way until i was finished with it was how relentless people were. in the beginning, espn started as an idea. it was turned down over and over and over but the guys who had the idea wouldn’t take no for an answer. they continued to pitch the idea to whoever would possibly listen.
the next step was for them to get contracts to air sporting events. it started with the rodeo, australian rules football, and a whole myriad of things that no one really wanted to see. but then they got college basketball. they knew that if they got one major sport, they could cover it in a way that no one else could. once college basketball came to espn, march madness as we know it today was invented.
fast forward a decade or two and espn picks up nascar, and major league baseball, and the nba, and finally the national football league – the crown jewel of it all. they set out in the mid-70s to be a network that was the leading place for people to watch sports, to learn about sports, and to find out the news about sports. it tools years and years and years of hard work but eventually espn got exactly what they set out for.
as i was reading about all of these stories of people working and working and working to reach a goal, i thought about how many goals i’ve stopped working at:
learning a new instrument.
finishing eat this book.
getting another degree.
getting in better shape.
all of those things are things that at one point in time, many over the last year, i set out to do. because of life, or because they were hard, or because of a number of reasons, i never finished those things. i wouldn’t say that i gave up on them, but rather that i stopped pursuing them.
i began thinking about those things and how the guys who started espn seemed so much more driven than i was or how they seemed to follow through on things in a way that i never have. if i’m honest, i started feeling a little negative towards myself.
i thought i wouldn’t amount to anything.
i thought that i was lazy.
i thought that i just wasn’t as good as they were.
then, once i began to turn the corner even more towards the self-criticism, a thought popped in my head. i say it popped in my head but i’m pretty sure it was god reminding me of this one small idea that changed everything:
i wasn’t meant to start espn. i was meant for something else.
i firmly believe that each and every one of us have that one thing that we were put on this planet to do that is different than anyone else out there. we were given a personality, a skill set, and a drive to accomplish a task in a way that no one else could do. it’s the one thing that we always find ourselves thinking about in the car with the radio off. it’s the thought that pops in our head while in the shower. it’s where we see a hole and know that we are the piece to fit in that hole.
for me, that thing is the way that i approach and look at life. i’m weird. i’m really, really weird. i look at things differently than most people and see things in strange and unique ways. it’s because of this that i’m able to talk about jesus and tell people about him in a way that’s likely very different from the way that you know and experience him. that doesn’t mean i know or experience him in better ways than you, just different ways.
what is your thing that you know you view differently than others?
what’s the one thing that you constantly think about when things are quiet?
what is that thing that you know you were put on this earth to do?
whatever it is, once you figure it out, run after it like there’s no tomorrow. pursue it and don’t quit. be as relentless as the guys that started espn. it may not happen overnight. it may takes days or weeks or months to even get started. you may have doors close over and over and over again.
don’t give up.
you have the passion, skills, and desire for one thing that no one else has. for us to change the world, we need you to cultivate that one thing and own it like no one else can. if you do that, and i do that, and she does that, and he does that, well, we might have a chance to actually change the world.
i want to change the world.
say your prayers and take your vitamins.
have a nice day.