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Finding a career path

I’m in my senior year of college, and I just realized what I want to do with my life. Go figure.

UP illustration by Scarlett Blanchard
UP illustration by Scarlett Blanchard

I’ve spent the last three years of my life feeling like I knew exactly what I wanted to do. When people asked me what I wanted to be or where I hoped my journalism career would take me, I always had the same answer — a sports writer.

I grew up surrounded by sports my whole life. I played basketball along with two of my brothers in middle school and high school. I spent a brief point in time on a soccer field, and even ran cross country and track for two years.

I loved the feel of lacing up my sneakers and putting on a fresh jersey to stand beside my teammates. I cherished the feel of my feet hitting a dirt path as I struggled to regain my breath. Some of my best memories came from sitting in the stands of a football game screaming and cheering with my friends and family. So, it seemed to make the most sense to make it a career.

I wouldn’t have to deal too much with politics or worry about how I was going to approach the mom of a kid who just died in a car wreck. I didn’t want to be that kind of journalist. I wanted to write about things that make people happy, not sad or angry at the world. I decided that sports meant so much to me and that I was always happy when I was in a sports setting, and so began my journey to be a sports writer — and a female one at that.

That decision, I always felt, was set in stone — until recently.

I slowly started to ask myself do I know enough about sports to be successful? Could I spit out facts and statistics about the last Super Bowl? Or tell you the last time the Browns had a decent quarterback? Honestly, probably not. Sure, I don’t live under a rock. I know who Baker Mayfield is. I have favorite sports teams and have recently fallen in love with watching baseball. You can catch me sporting an Astros jersey or screaming at the TV when the Texans miss an easy touchdown, but I couldn’t cite you the entire team roster. Does that make me a bad candidate for a sports journalism position? No, it doesn’t and here is why.

I always thought that to be a successful sports journalist was to be a dictionary of knowledge and stats about every major sport. But, then I remembered why I loved sports so much, because of the way it made me, and people all over the world, feel. It wasn’t about just reading an article in the newspaper or catching highlights on the TV at night to stay informed, it was about community and family and having something to root for.

Sports can put you in a state of mind that there is nothing but that game and that moment being surrounded by strangers, but for a second, they felt like family.

I don’t love the Astros because they are World Series Champs, I love them because they have the best personality on a sports team that I have ever seen. I don’t root for the Texans because they have great stats, because, let’s face it, they could be doing better. I root for them because my community does, because they have players who care about their community and they have a true passion for the game. I cheered with the Rockets when they made it to the playoffs last year and wept when they lost because, man, that game was heartbreaking. But, afterwards, I couldn’t tell you how many points James Harden had because I was so focused on the game and the feeling of being surrounded by true sports fans.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that it’s OK to not be an expert in your career field, because as long you love it and have a passion for it, the rest will come. I may never become a walking dictionary throwing out stats left and right, but I do know that I am headed down the right path in life and that path will one day land me the job of my dreams and courtside seats to the Rockets game, or a sideline pass to the Super Bowl.

At least, a girl can dream.

Story by Cassandra Jenkins, UP editor

Category: Opinion