By Nate Olson | Photograph by Jimmy Jones
The place I come from (small-town Iowa and the Eighties), it’s customary to consummate a momentous deal akin to a job provide with a handshake and a phrase of gratitude.
Because of COVID-19, I didn’t get an opportunity to have that second after I took a regional editor job with SBLive in the summertime of 2021. Had we not been coping with the pandemic, I might have been flown to Portland, Ore., and met with my boss, managing editor JD Humburg, and vice chairman for content material Ben Sherman.
Fortunately, SBLive CEO Dan Seaside introduced workers nationwide to Portland this previous summer season for a retreat of kinds. I lastly, in the end, bought to shake palms and hug the those that have been answerable for making my dream come true a second time — the dream I’ve had since I used to be in fifth grade of being a media member. I did that for 18 years, largely in Arkansas, however till 2021 it had been nearly 10 years since I had been a full-time sportswriter.
Throughout one of many breaks between conferences, I had an opportunity to speak to Dan. If there’s a cooler CEO within the enterprise world, I’d like to satisfy him/her, and his innovation and management has SBLive thriving as one of many quickest rising digital sports activities media firms within the nation.
“You’ve modified my life,” I advised him. “I actually respect that. You’ve modified a bunch of individuals’s lives, truly. Quite a lot of us have second possibilities of doing what we love due to your organization.”
As I shook Dan’s hand and patted him on the again on the similar time, I wasn’t certain if he was going to snigger or shed a tear. I defined to him that earlier than his provide, I wasn’t certain if I’d ever be a full-time member of the sports activities media once more. It’s a reality I had accepted and moved on from due to a loving household with two rising boys and a few freelance work on the aspect. However as I’ve written on this area earlier than, everybody who is aware of me nicely understood the sports activities media is the place I really belonged.
I additionally advised Dan that giving me that likelihood allowed me to get my good good friend Buck Ringgold on board. Buck was frightened sick about his standing as a newspaper sports activities editor in Fort Smith. He joined the crew as a contributor in Oklahoma shortly after I began, after which final spring he turned a full-time regional editor.
That’s two lives modified for the higher, due to Dan’s firm. However we’re solely the tip of the iceberg, and inside my costs in Arkansas, Iowa and Nebraska – eight former sportswriters, who’ve totally different day jobs, at the moment are fortunately churning out copy, supplying you with free, top-notch sports activities protection of your favourite groups and athletes.
However not solely did Dan, Ben and JD give me an opportunity to put in writing sports activities for a nationwide firm, however this job permits me to do my most essential job – elevating my sons – one of the best ways I can. Working at residence with a versatile schedule permits me to by no means miss a observe or college occasion. I stay 5 minutes from the native junior excessive and center college, and I’ve already made a number of journeys there. I drop them off and choose them up from college each day, and don’t have to go away the workplace early to see J.D. play in an eighth-grade soccer sport at 5 or fear about having time to drive Luke half-hour away for baseball observe.
And never solely that, however I can take them to work with me. One of many causes I left journal publishing in 2012 was as a result of J.D. (13) and Luke (11) have been toddlers on the time and the calls for have been an excessive amount of. I did healthcare advertising for a yr after which landed a job on the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette as a day-time journal editor after which it was straight to 6 years of communications workplace work. I wanted to try this then, throughout that season of life. My spouse, Sheena, was shifting her method up the company ladder and really busy.
Now nearly 14, J.D. helps me. He’s a credentialed ‘intern’ and final fall after I was battling knee and hip accidents, he helped spherical up gamers for interviews after video games and fairly frankly helped me get round. He’s continued that function this fall and shoots some video and pictures. He enjoys being round Dad and the opposite employees and naturally the athletes and coaches. He’s additionally bought to rub elbows with College of Arkansas coaches Eric Musselman and Sam Pittman. It’s a superb feeling watching him have an opportunity to do one thing I might have died to do after I was his age.
Luke isn’t fairly as fascinated about tagging alongside, however he was in a method pressured to this fall. His journey baseball crew practiced on Friday nights, so when Sheena was busy with galas and such, I took Luke to observe and left early to go to the Sign Media studios to do the SBLive Halftime present for the 103.7 the Buzz highschool sport of the week.
The primary time I did that, I spotted mid-practice how far the sector was from the station. Fearing we wouldn’t make it, I let Luke bat in an intra-squad scrimmage, after which pulled him hurriedly to run to the automobile. I’ll have damaged some sped legal guidelines to get from Sherwood to Little Rock’s Riverdale neighborhood in time, however we nailed it. Luke loved the journey, and I used to be glad to expertise the most effective of each worlds – seeing him observe and speaking highschool soccer.
So, on this Thanksgiving, I’m most grateful for household and the time spent with them. My household at residence – Sheena, J.D. and Luke, who I’m in a position to see a lot — and the employees and associates from across the nation. I don’t actually see anybody in particular person apart from key Arkansas contributor Kyle Sutherland, who has helped our model a lot, and Jeff Halpern, one of many group of former journalists in our three states I discussed.
Aside from that, it’s solely telephone calls or zoom conferences. However as a result of we’re all captivated with what we do working for an elite firm, I don’t really feel that distance. Though, I actually do want JD Humburg (JDH in our home) was simply down the corridor as a substitute of 1000’s of miles away. A couple of days with him in Portland solely confirmed that we’d be quick buddies if we labored within the workplace collectively. And I’d prefer to have lunch with Ben sometimes and listen to struggle tales of his time because the sports activities director at The Oregonian/OregonLive and different journalism tidbits. There couldn’t be anybody higher to steer our content material crew. However I nonetheless benefit from the interplay I do have with them and I’m wanting ahead to different retreats and conferences. It’s a stellar group of journalists and folks.
The complete state of affairs is such a blessing that I thank God for each day.
To all of you and the directors, coaches and athletes, I hope you have got a blessed Thanksgiving. Thanks for clicking on and sharing our content material. We couldn’t do what we love with out you.