I knew when I began working towards my career in sports that there would be a lot of sacrifices. I knew there would be a lot of long hours, and I knew that I might not get to go home and see my family as much. Industry professionals always tell you that especially when starting out, you really do have to make those sacrifices. It takes giving up time, weekends, holidays, and especially money. It’s well worth it if you’re passionate about your career and what you do, but that doesn’t make it easy by any means.
I have been home at most four times since January of this year, and for no more than five days at a time. After my sophomore year of college ended, I went home for four days, and moved straight to New York for my first real internship with the Tri-City ValleyCats. When I moved back from New York, I was home for five days before I moved right back to Pittsburgh and school to begin my internship with Heinz Field and the Steelers. This will be the first of almost 21 Christmases where I will not be home. I work Christmas Day this year, and after Thanksgiving Break who knows when I’ll have the opportunity to go home again. I’ll probably move away for an internship again next summer, and then that’s it – I graduate in December of 2017 and I’m done. I officially am off to start my adult life and career. I often feel guilty that I’m missing so much of my family’s lives, especially my younger brother who was there for everything I did growing up. I feel anxious that I’m not there enough to make sure they’re okay. I always thought that moving out of the house would be a much bigger deal... I thought there would be lots of fanfare. I thought that it would be a definitive “this is it” moment when it happened. But in reality, it wasn’t.
Despite all of this, I wouldn’t trade what I’m doing for anything. My jobs bring me joy, as does the promise of a hopefully rewarding career in the future. Is it hard being 20 and realizing that my house is no longer truly mine, and that my time there is essentially done? Yeah, it is. But I don’t view this at all as “giving things up”. They’re simply necessary sacrifices that need to be made to hopefully reach a much larger goal. My family doesn't love me any less, and it feels good to make them proud. I just want anyone who’s looking to work in sports to know that sometimes this happens, but you can’t let the fear of being on your own or changing routine scare you or hinder you from pursuing opportunities. This is just the nature of our industry. It’s hard work and it's long work. But it does get easier, and it’s beyond rewarding. Don’t let anything hold you back if this is truly something you’re passionate about, because you'll be okay.