If you would have asked me two months ago if I was ready to be a sideline reporter for a professional sports team, I would have said, “where is my mic!?” I knew I wasn’t on Cari Champion’s level, but I always knew I wanted to have a talk-show. Not to look cute on TV, but to achieve what I believe God has put me in this world to do. Which is to inspire others to go after their dreams and fulfill their passions, using the most powerful platform, television.
I want this as bad as I want my next breath. This is all I dream of, and it’s all I think about. Everything I do is to prepare to host a network show, with a studio audience and guests, who I will love engaging with. All I want to do is tell stories. Everyone has a story, but I am learning that your story and struggle isn’t an access card that automatically makes you successful. I grew up in poverty, my dad was never really around, I was bullied and picked on and even contemplated suicide at some point. I use to be called the ‘ugly duckling’, and growing up boys never looked my way. If they did, it was just because they wanted to sleep with me. My self-esteem was a wreck.
My life changed when I got close to one of my extended family members. For the first time in my life, I had guidance from a father figure. I had someone who told me I am beautiful and smart and SHOWED how much he loved me. He helped me become a basketball fan. One of my early introductions to the game was in 2009, watching an Orlando Magic game with him.
The next day, instead of watching VH1 and BET, I turned the channel to a basketball game. Next thing I knew LeBron came to Miami in July 2010, and I fell in love. That girl who knew she always wanted to be on TV, and change her community finally knew what her purpose in life was. When LeBron joined the Heat, I watched every game that season except one.
In school, I recall listening to a conversation a group of guys were having. I would do this regularly because it was my only shot at engaging in discussions about basketball. They would asking each other questions like ‘who is playing tonight?’ or about how LeBron coming to Miami would finally give him a ring. One day I spoke up and gave my two cents, and they all turned around to see who that was. It was a voice they never recognized. The ‘nobody’ spoke up, and she finally found her voice.
Sports gave me a voice. Sports allow people to escape reality, and that’s exactly what sports did for me. While I was watching basketball, I entered a world of entertainment. I wasn’t the poor black girl that no one cared about, I was a NBA fan. Basketball allowed me to have role models to look up to like LeBron James instead of the strippers and drug dealers that my neighborhood praised as positive models. I witnessed the power of sports, and how sports allow one man or woman to change the world of others. A lot of athletes have said sports saved their lives and honestly, sports saved mine too. No one taught me the game of basketball, I had to spend hours each week studying it. I could have gone down a wrong path like many people my age did growing up, but I had games to watch.
So here I am about to graduate college in about 11 weeks, and I have to admit, I am terrified. I couldn’t understand why people always say finding you first job out of college will be hard. In my mind, I have been putting in the work, I got the degree, why would an employer not invest in me? But reality, lately, has been setting in.
According to my internship supervisor, I suck. I am really bad. He is very honest, and tells me the truth. These last six weeks working with him he tells me everyday what I need to work on. He tells me my language is bad, my writing sucks, and my on camera appearance needs a lot of work. Something is always wrong with something I have edited. What he did note, though, is that I have the potential to be great. I don’t know everything (he might even say I don’t know much), but I have nothing to lose and a whole new life to gain. I’m still learning. I am not where I desire to be, I’m not even close. So I won’t give up. I can’t turn my back now. I am and will continue to work on my craft every day. Like the rapper Future says, “I’m getting better, I’m at practice. I’m working every day, crafting.”