I say that because I have so many unmet expectations – ones that are typical of a twenty-something, including marriage, children, an established career, and financial security.
Marriage has eluded me, which means having children has too. One friend says it may be the result of me having a high sense of duty. He’s probably right. Whenever I see a need in my family, I try to meet it – from caregiving to stepping into the gap when someone else leaves. And I’ll be honest, more than once I’ve wondered if my turn would ever come. I don’t say that as a victim – at least I don’t think I do. It’s just an honest question.
Over the years, some have told me I deserve my turn – my shot at a family and children and that I can’t always be expected to play a supporting role. I agree with them. And if the right woman had come along, I would be married by now. But since she hasn’t, I do what I believe I’m supposed to do. I step into the gap, and I do so without any regret.
My career isn’t where I thought, or hoped it would be. In my twenties I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I did what most people do. I filled out applications and took a job. When I got tired of one, I took another one. I didn’t stumble into the possibility of writing professionally until I attended a writer’s conference in 1998. I was 32 years old then, and still had a lot to learn. It was seven years before my first book was published.
Six books and hundreds of articles later, I have a pretty good handle about the type of writing I enjoy most. Nothing satisfies me more professionally than telling an athlete’s story. I don’t care about his statistics or awards. I care about his journey. One editor tells me I gravitate toward the blue collar athlete and I think he’s right.
Last summer, I interviewed Kansas City Royals’ outfielder Mitch Maier about his journey through the minor leagues, hoping to eventually land in the big leagues for good. I wrote the story as a freelancer for the Yahoo! Contributor Network and a couple of thousand people read it. Neither the piece, nor the traffic it attained, was earth-shattering, but I hope it accurately portrayed Maier’s heart and maybe gave fans a glimpse into his struggle.
During the 2012 College World Series, I wrote a story about a father and son who caught a home run ball during a 1998 CWS game and for years they wanted to return it to the player who hit it. After the story ran, I was curious to see if I could find the player. It didn’t take me long. He called the boy, who is no longer a boy, and that led to the player getting his ball back. And of course, it led to another article that was a blast to write.
Once I learned what I wanted to write, I started looking for a position as a sports feature writer with local and national publications. So far, every door I’ve knocked on has been closed. I’ll keep knocking, but I wonder if it’s too late.
It seems like I should have figured out this, and so much more, twenty years ago.