For roughly the last year, there has been something stirring in me. Call it an early start to a midlife crisis, call it insanity or call it someone looking for a higher meaning to their life, but whatever it is, it is the truth. As the weeks and months have passed since this began, the unsettling feeling in my stomach and heart continued to grow exponentially, bringing me to the surprising place that I find myself in today.
To get to the actual “news” I’m announcing today quickly for those who care (and for those who don’t), I have made a significantly life-changing decision. That decision is that I am no longer going to be a media member, covering the NBA and WNBA.
I am well-aware that I am willingly giving up a position many would dream to fill and I will always be thankful for the opportunity many people gave me throughout the years. As a boy growing up in Iowa, I never would have imagined something like this would happen in my life and, as a fan of both leagues in a fanatic way, it was a dream come true. This has been a remarkable journey I’ve been on during my time covering the leagues and I will look back on this era of my life with great pleasure.
That is one of the many reasons why it took me so long to come to the decision that I have come to today, as the teenage boy I once was is incredibly shocked at the decision the current man is announcing today.
Yet, as the growing desire to move on to something new continued to grow in my soul, it became crystal clear this was the correct decision to make over the weekend. Due to the limited number of games during the WNBA season, I have done everything in my power not to miss covering games in order to bring stories to those who follow the league as frequently as possible. However, as I was unable to attend the Minnesota Lynx game against the Connecticut Sun this past Saturday, something odd happened as I was sitting on my couch watching the game.
While there was an odd feeling within me for not being there, I also found that I didn’t miss it.
When I began this journey, every game was an adventure, a pleasure to take in and it was never a job. Because I completely fell into this, as it wasn’t something I sought out, I always told myself that, due to the limited amount of money it put in my pocket, I would follow this path as long as I was allowed to do so and the investment of both time and money was worth my time.
It isn’t anymore.
The telling fact which pushed me over the edge to come to this conclusion happened when I realized I wasn’t saddened at not being there to cover two of the best teams in the WNBA as they went head-to-head. In the past, while I may have acted as professionally as possible on the outside, the fan heart inside of me would have nearly pounded out of my chest. If my heart isn’t in it anymore when the Minnesota Lynx are the defending champions and continue to be, in my opinion, well on their way to a repeat, as well as the Timberwolves in one of the better places they have been since I’ve covered them, which told me everything I need to know.
It was solidified in stone to me when I received a text message almost immediately after my realization of not missing being there for the game. From time-to-time, I get a text from my ex-wife’s phone, but the message is from my daughter who is still too young to have a phone of her own. Due to the Fourth of July holiday, I had been without my children since Wednesday morning. On Saturday during the game, the message I read from my daughter stated, “Hi Daddy. This is Alex. I love you.”
That message came at the exact perfect time, as I sat on my couch confused as to the feelings I was having at the time and wondering to myself the direction those feelings were pointing me towards. After responding to let her know how much I love her and her brother, a second message came in letting me know that she missed her Daddy, “Soooooooooooooo much!”
My children are still young and while they both are accustomed to life with me as a writer and the schedule that brings at times, it is imperative to me for them to understand that they are infinitely more important than a game. It sounds silly to word it that way, but I believe there have been times where they have questioned if that is true and before unintended actions force them to continue to wonder, conscious decisions and actions will prove the opposite.
I have met an amazing amount of people during this journey and, as you would expect in any endeavor, many of them were wonderful to meet and, of course, there were some who I found to be quite lacking as human beings. Of course, I’m not going to burn bridges and call people out because there is no reason to do so, as they have absolutely nothing to do with this decision. This is about me, what I want to do with my life and how I have decided to get to where I want to go.
Players, coaches, executives and other media members all had interesting stories to tell, but the people I’m most proud to have met are those for whom I wrote. Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, who comment on my stories, who meet up for drinks after games, who come and say hi during games and supported me throughout my years of doing this are so special to me. There is a part of me that is sorry I am leaving you, but I will still be around and able to chat, but the focus of my life is changing.
Quite simply, I don’t want my life to be dedicated completely to a game. While I still have nothing but love for the game of basketball and look forward to going back to being a fan, it will be a singular aspect of my life, not the determining and defining factor. There are many sides to me and, while I know that most of those who follow me on Twitter don’t care about me outside of the basketball realm, I am more than willing to give up the path I have been on for the last handful of years in order to explore what else is in store.
Understanding this change will bring a big change to the number of followers on both Facebook and Twitter, I am ready to begin the process. It’s a nervous and emotionally draining time right now, but there is also an excitement right now that hasn’t been felt for a long, long time.
I am a father…I am a son…I am a brother…I am a brother-in-law…I am an uncle…I am a nephew…I am a cousin…I am a friend…I am a music lover…I am a theater lover…I am a fan of certain television shows…I am someone who struggles with depression…I am someone who misses friends lost…I am someone who longs to make new friends…I am someone who wants to find a way to truly touch the world…I am unemployed…I am someone who doesn’t mind speaking his mind…I am pig-headed at times…I am bone-headed at times…I am a sweetheart at times…I am an asshole at times and I am someone who has made the decision to make more time to explore who else I may be, currently unable to do so.
It is time that I start to live my own life, rather than document the accomplishments of others.