My job is one of my proudest accomplishments.
At 24 years old, I am the boss of my own staff–of one. To me, that’s something. But compared with the numerous people I’ve had the privilege of speaking with because of my job, I may as well be throwing together burritos at Chipotle.
When I see big-name athletes or personalities on television or I read about them in a newspaper or magazine, I am immediately curious about their personality. What are they like when the lights aren’t shining brightest? Who are they?
In my nearly two years now at the Sparks Tribune, I’ve been able to answer that question for a few people. And sure, while I’m a member of the media and may have been played a fool on occasion, let’s be real. I’m the sports editor at the Sparks Tribune. I’m not ESPN. I’m not The New York Times. And whatever these figures chose to say to me was hardly going to put their careers in jeopardy.
I can honestly say that the overwhelming majority of the time, I’ve been not only satisfied with the personalities I’ve interacted with, but impressed. The latest example coming on Thursday when I sat down with Ryan Radtke, the radio play-by-play commentator for the Reno Aces, Nevada football and Nevada men’s basketball games.
I told Radtke that many in the region would consider him a public figure, and he laughed. But he is on air essentially every other day. Most of the feature-story interviews I do can go as quickly as five minutes (high school athletes get shy sometimes), or they can last upwards of 15 minutes. Radtke chatted with me for nearly half an hour.
He was honest. He was funny. He was elaborate. I guess that’s why he talks for a living.
But he didn’t need to do that. He is one of the most prepared broadcasters you are going to hear, and he had a game in four hours. He wasn’t done getting ready for the Aces game against Fresno. And yet he still took time to kick his feet up on the chairs behind home plate and tell stories he has undoubtedly told numerous times before.
People like Radtke deserve to be rewarded. He likely will because his incredible ability to paint a picture with a microphone. The way he treats people puts him over the top.
I used a lot of the interview in the story because he gave me some awesome bits, but it was the first time I learned a life lesson with my recorder going.
He told me, “What I’ve found, there are too many people in this business who are only concerned about their next job. What’s my next job? And as a result, they are perpetually unhappy because all they’re thinking about is ‘how do I get the next gig? How do I get to the next level? How do I get the bigger job with the bigger paycheck?’ And meanwhile you’re unhappy where you are, and really you are cheating the job you have.”
I can honestly say I am happy where I am. But I don’t want to be here forever. And admittedly, I probably think about that more than I should.
I will always remember that chat on a beautiful Thursday afternoon at Aces Ballpark with Ryan Radtke. While it will be but a minor footnote in the lengthy book that is sure to be his successful career, as of now, it is in my table of contents.
After I had asked all I wanted, we watched the three Aces players who were taking batting practice on a sun-soaked surface. I said, “Man, I could sit here all day.”
It’s about enjoying where you are. I’m going to do more of that.