My 2015 Thanks
Over the past year, I’ve changed.
Now, before you say, “Well, duh, everyone changes over the course of a year, Chica“, let me explain.
Or, at least try to.
I began the year as the host of two shows – one on college football and the other on sports & social media. This blog was about sports & social media. Twitter was my favorite platform. And, I was focused on growing “my brand”.
Today, I am no longer hosting any shows – sad, but true. This blog has switched gears to…well, I’m not sure yet, but it’s not sports & social media. I don’t have a favorite platform. And, “my brand” is a thing of the past.
I’m not sure when or even why it happened, but something in me realized that what I thought I wanted to be in sports would never satisfy me.
I’ve wanted to work in sports for as long as I can remember. I wanted to be someone who talked about sports from a smart fan perspective. It didn’t matter if it was on tv or radio. I just wanted to talk about it. Without a college degree, writing and social media were my only means of entrance.
Writing about sports and social media was a natural for me. I loved Facebook, before family members joined. I loved Twitter, before most sports people realized its value. I loved Instagram, even though I was bad at it. I loved Snapchat while most people were dissing it.
I loved social media.
Then, more people started talking about it. Writing about it. Analyzing it. Manipulating it. And…well…in 2015, I became disillusioned with the whole concept of sports & social media.
My view of the entire process changed. Each and every day there’s someone in the media or a fan going off about something. It could be an important social issue or a trivial news event or a way-too-early story reaction. Someone just has to give their opinion.
They don’t have to. They choose to.
Social media is a choice, a fact that gets lost in any social media discussion. With social media you choose to post or tweet on any number of platforms. You choose what you say or share. You choose your reaction. You choose to engage with others.
You choose – no one makes the choice for you. You do.
And yet, I see how media treat fans who ask a simple question or want to dialogue. I see how fans AND media jump to conclusions based only on a Twitter headline. Far too often I’ve witnessed hypocrisy from media and fans to stories only moments old. It’s “You should do as I say and not as I do”.
Making fun of someone’s appearance – their hair, their clothes – has become the norm among some in sports. One influential person stirs the pot and their minions follow with a parade of jokes, memes and GIFs. Concern or empathy for one’s fellow man be damned.
Sweeping generalizations are on the rise, even in sports and social media. Pick a demographic group. One person in that group does something wrong/illegal/offensive/disagreeable. The entire group is labeled in a negative way. And it mushrooms from there until it becomes acceptable.
It’s as if 2015 became the year of ANGRY SOCIAL MEDIA
When I become disillusioned with anything, I know that there is a deeper meaning behind it. So, I stepped back. Stepped back from Twitter, remember…my favorite platform. No more shows. No more branding. Fewer tweets and social media posts. Fewer blog posts. Fewer of everything.
It’s been slightly cathartic. But, it’s also given rise to an urgency. An urgency that is hard to explain as I am not quite sure I understand it completely yet. But…
When I find a word that is the impetus for a post, I usually look up the definition via Merriam-Webster. However, that definition isn’t quite what I’m looking for:
- Urgency: a force or impulse that impels or constrains.
Searching deeper, I found this from Free Dictionary:
- Urgency: 1) the quality or condition of being urgent; pressing importance. 2) A pressing necessity.
Pressing importance. Pressing necessity.
It’s not about 2015. The change in me or for me, wasn’t about 2015. It was a necessary (pressing necessity) change in focus to get me ready for 2016.
Truth be told, I’ve known about this word “urgency” for the past month. I just hadn’t been able to verbalize it yet. Circumstances in my personal life these past 30+ days have emphasized this point home even more. Without getting into detail, it’s been a reminder to return to gratefulness.
Is there such a thing as an urgency to return to gratefulness? Or, rather, urgency to gratefulness? I’m grateful to be where I am. Grateful to be alive, have a family that loves me, a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, water to drink.
I am very grateful to walk, talk, hear, see, feel — all of those things that many Americans do every day — I am grateful I can do them. I don’t want to wait for a life-changing event. I don’t take those things for granted.
I am fortunate to work in sports. Not one for doing things the conventional way, it’s a blessing to be involved in this crazy, ever-changing world of sports. Working for a brilliant start-up company in Sportsmanias, I’m part of a team that is building. Building something for the sports fan.
My involvement has become a Jill-of-all-trades to a degree. They ask me to do something, I do it. If I’m not sure how or I haven’t done it before, I figure it out and I…sorry for this…just do it.
They also allow me to write. Write copy for them and write on the side. A long-awaited dream was realized when I began getting paid to write – meaningful, challenging and thought-provoking pieces for The Shadow League.
Topics I knew well (Serena Williams) to ones I didn’t (mixed martial arts) were part of my 2015 writing experience with Shadow League. It expanded my understanding of sports and race, as well as increased my appreciation for my culture. So much so that I engaged in healthy debate when our heritage was slighted by a well-known website (I documented this for The Sporting Nation).
It’s funny. Some call 2015 the Year of Women’s Sports. I suppose it was to some extent: Serena Williams, Women’s MMA and the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team winning the World Cup….again. To me, they’re part of a remarkable year in sports as a whole, regardless of gender.
This past year I’ve traveled to Seattle (once) Miami (twice) and Kansas City (once) all sports-related reasons: baseball, basketball, football, Formula E auto racing, mixed martial arts and conferences – meeting and connecting with amazing people along the way.
That’s what it’s really about though isn’t it? Connection.
Sports has always connected us. Social media connects us now. Good or bad, we find people who are like us – think like us, act like us – and we connect with them through social media.
New or old connections, I am grateful for them all. They encourage me, challenge me, help me and have been there for me. They’ve opened my eyes and taught me much this past year. I won’t be able to name them all, but they have left an imprint on me in 2015. Please forgive me if I did not include your name
For that…I thank you.
- Sportsmanias (Vicente Fernandez, Aymara del Aguila, Tim Stephens to name a few)
- The Shadow League (Yussuf Khan, Evan Moore, Ricardo Hazell to name a few)
- The Sporting Nation (Jose Romero)
- Team EMAR
- Formula E
- Q1 Sports
- Ask Yvi (Yvonne Heimann)
- Sports 360
- Pro Football Guru (Russell Baxter)
- NFL Female (Liz Panucci, Dayna O’Gorman and crew)
- Google+ College Football Community
- Tariq Ahmad
- Derrick Docket
- Josh Decker
- Paola Boivin
- Russ Cohen
- Pam Chvotkin
- Dr. Jimmy Sanderson
- Cindy Hval
- Jocelyn Stott
- Ryan David
- Chandrima Chatterjee
- Andrea Canales
- Tom Marshall
- Kim Tate
- Cindy Castro
- Julianna Peña
- Marion Reneau
- Gillian Noll
- Angela Hill
- John Blanchette
- Gyasi Ross
- Matt Santangelo
- Bailee Neyland
- Lisa Horne
- Alicia Jessop
- Kristi Dosh
- Tim Cary
- Michael Schottey
- Dylan Gannon
- Shannon Hernandez
- Troy Kirby
- Jeff Sieh
- Sheri Grossman
- Jim Delaney
- Bob McKamey
- Jeff Tourial
- Katie Cavender
- Debi Davis
- Heather Kraafter
- Nazim Beltran
- Scott Scowcroft
- Phil & Sue Aston
- Susie Bush
- Dave Cook
- Kyle Bruce
- Bill Stevens
- Jason Clinkscales
- Chris Syme
- Gail Sideman
- Dr. Ann Pegoraro
- Ken Fang
- Dave Zorn
- José Ceniceros
- Joe Scott
- Mike Freeman
- Alex Stone
- Dave Roter
- Jamie Lynn Morgan
Tuesday Ten Guests
- Tom Buchheim
- Rocky Harris
- Brian Costello
- Adam Ledyard
- Lauren Teague
- Russell Houghtaling
- Charles Johnson
Do You Remember…
— Miquel Pellicer (@mik1977) March 2, 2015
— Adam Dince (@AdamDince) March 26, 2015
— Ethan Batstone (@ebatstone) June 4, 2015
Hi Twitter I've had many emotions since the heinous act in S.C. but eventually it comes down to how we raise our own and those we can impact
— Calvin Johnson, Jr. (@calvinjohnsonjr) June 19, 2015
This is the BEST & most ACCURATE DETAIL of my life,my family,& the sport of MMA thru my eyes! SERIOUSLY, WELL DONE! https://t.co/smgsdZtKTL
— Marion Reneau (@BelizeanBruiser) November 14, 2015
A Story You May Have Missed
— REMEZCLA (@REMEZCLA) September 29, 2015
2016 Sports Stories to Watch
It’s always hard to predict what is to come for a new year. But, here are the things to watch…in my humble opinion, of course.
- Virtual Reality will be HUGE
- FIFA presidency/scandal – the reach around the world
- Drones (legislation at sporting events)
- Technology, not athletes, taking center stage at the Olympics
- UFC (continued growth of women’s MMA)
- Athlete involvement in the election
- Major gambling scandal(s) involving pro sports
- Increased money to NCAA athletes prompts new competitive division
- Domestic violence making news in more countries
- MLB single team-streaming increasing interest with younger demographic?
- Twitter EDIT feature finally coming to fruition?
I don’t know what 2016 will hold. There is an expectancy with any new year, but there is an urgency to it for me. It all begins with gratefulness. The more grateful I am, the more I can break through the clutter that has become angry social media. Looking deeper at the root of why people act and react the way they do will bring about even more compassion and understanding from me.
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always. Go Bulls!!????????#LetsGet9
— Willie Taggart (@CoachTaggart) December 17, 2015
It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about how we connect with each other on a daily basis. We don’t always have to agree. But, if we’re willing to at least try to understand each other, our dialogue about sports…and life…will change the world.