Three years ago yesterday, I took a risk and it paid off way more than I could have ever imagined.
Sometimes when you least expect it, life throws you an opportunity. Sometimes that opportunity may be risky. And sometimes, the riskiest decisions become the best decisions.
I began one of the most interesting turn of events my life has given me. I began my job with Anytime Fitness. I can tell you in full confidence, passion in my heart and a hunger to do the best I can that it was the single greatest decision I ever made for myself.
Now before you get your panties in a wad because shouldn’t that be Mallisa or Finn? Hear me out…the reason I say Anytime Fitness is because had I kept going down the path I was going, I would have never been home with my family and I would have hated myself and my life as a result. Therefore, the people in it would have suffered.
Before I tell you where I am now, this is where my story begins (shortest version possible)…
Since I was 9 years old, I wanted to be in the sports media. I wanted to be a sports broadcaster. I used to listen to guys like Buddy D, John Madden, Pat Summrall, Chris Berman and thought those guys had it made.
Their job was to literally talk about sports. I wanted that. I thought how cool it would be to some hot shot analyst for the NFL. Football was always my favorite.
Whether it was a game day commentator or someone back in the studio, I had the dream to become somebody that people heard on the tube or radio.
I literally used to commentate games as I played them in my room. I was that dork chop.
In 10th grade, I had my first gig doing PA announcing for the softball team. Pretty sure that was supposed to be just calling the names of players and announcing starting lineups.
I remember the first couple of games it was myself and two others, I took kind of a back seat and didn’t say anything. I was petrified of getting on the microphone. That seems kind of hard to believe now. But I hated my voice.
It eventually trickled down to me because everyone backed out and in my head, I am thinking fuck it, here we go. Instead of just calling starting lineups and all that jazz. I began doing this shit like I was Bob Eucker on Major League. I used corny phrases, called out the opposing teams, and even went after the officials.
In fact, one game a Destrehan (my school) player slid into home and was called out. I thought she went under the tag. I proclaimed, we’ll call that one questionable. If looks could kill, I would have died twice. The umpire then told me during the next half inning if I did that again I was out. Destrehan won the game by a couple of runs. I made a comment after announcing the final score that it was a great win after defeating the opponent and the refs. Needless to say, the umpire wasn’t thrilled.
After that season, I started to really enjoy announcing. My dad knew a guy down in Houma who announced high school football. They allowed me to come on for a quarter for a few games my 11th grade year. If DHS was on the road, I was going to Houma doing color commentary on high school football.
By 12th grade, I did play by play for one game with Destrehan. That season was short lived after the color commentator talked more than I did. I just thought, welp this is fucking dumb. My experience didn’t end there though. For the biggest game of the year, Destrehan v Hahnville, my buddy Eric and I hosted a pregame, halftime and postgame show for the Satellite Center. That was a good time. This was my first experience on camera and doing analysis, which is always what I wanted to do.
Most of my experience senior year was on camera and doing analysis so I was eating it up. I also hosted a coaches show called On the Prowl.
By the time I left high school, I thought I was on my way. When you’re young, you think you have the world by the ass. I still to this day believe I did. It just doesn’t come as easy as one would think.
I make it to college (The Nicholls State) and honestly my media experience dwindled in the first year. It was a new beginning for me. I spent most of my time playing basketball, video gaming and not going to class. Team 1.2 GPA whoop whoop!
The second year, I took a job with the football team and I held that for four years. I was filming games and cutting up game reels. It was fun. I enjoyed it. It wasn’t exactly broadcasting, but it was football.
By my fourth year, I was working at the radio station hosting my daily sports talk show called Overtime. That was my baby and I fell head over in heels in love with getting on the dial and talking sports. This was by far my favorite thing I did in my five years (victory lap dude).
In year five, I took over as sports director of KNSU in addition to my role as sports editor of the Nicholls Worth. I was a man of many hats my last year. That is where I fell in love with writing. Between writing and radio, I didn’t know what I loved more at this point. I loved that these worlds crossed.
Upon graduation, I took a part time job with a radio station down in Houma. I absolutely loved working there. I was cutting up commercials for the station so it wasn’t anything on air or super huge. I genuinely loved the people I worked with. One of the people, I consider a great friend. He and I would cut commercials while cutting wrestling promos across the room to each other. It was ABSOLUTELY GLORIOUS!
Ironically, the guy my dad knew who helped me get that gig with radio in high school, we began calling games together that football season. He and I were good, real good. We fed off of each other well and had a great time doing it.
Right before football season began, I landed my full time job with a newspaper down in Houma as a reporter for news. I wouldn’t be doing sports but it was something full time. I was ready for the opportunity.
My boss seemed cool and it seemed like a fun place to work…el oh el. Wow, was I wrong?
My boss sucked. She was a snake in the grass, just a total bitch.
I hated what I was doing for the most part. Covering school board meetings and government meetings with a bunch of fake ass people, it really was great (sarcasm). You can read the full detail of that in JOURNALISM: A LIFE I AM HAPPY I LEFT BEHIND. I got stories for days.
On January 9th, I was called into the GMs office a few weeks after being told at yearly evaluations how great I was doing despite being on probation. I knew what the call was about. I was fired. In all honesty, I was so angry.
At that point, I didn’t know what I was going to do so I didn’t want to burn any bridges so I think I handled it well. But in all honesty, I should’ve cut a Rock promo and stormed out the office like Vince McMahon. That day was a blessing in disguise.
A month later, on February 9th, a new journey began. I took a job as an office manager with Anytime Fitness. Never worked in a gym before. I had not worked out in about 10 years. This was all new territory. I was going in blind.
I saw a post on Facebook from one of my old high school friends saying they had an opening for a full time salaried position. I thought why not? I need a job.
I wish I could tell you I didn’t see this job as a stepping stone to hold me over. To some degree, I kind of did. On the other hand, I passed up another journalism job for it so maybe I didn’t. Maybe I just didn’t know it yet.
Something about the interview with Anytime felt right. For the first time in a long time, I felt wanted. I felt important. I felt I belonged. I felt like the person I was going to work for actually gave two shits about me. This was all before I even started.
After much deliberation and advice from friends and family and “auditioning” for a journalism job, I had no interest in working for a paper again. Nothing on them, the taste in my mouth was just sour. I wrote my audition articles with no sense of pride. When the editor called asking me (nice as all hell too) to follow up to get an answer to another question, I was pulling my hair out on the other end of the phone just like here we go again. The salt in the wounds was fresh. I just didn’t want it anymore.
If I was feeling like that, why not venture off into something fresh, something new?
I took a fly, a risk. That risk paid off.
I work for people who I consider best friends. Hell, these people are another extension of my family. That above everything else is awesome. I love the fact that I walk into work each day and I want to do a good job because of them.
Let’s start with the people who write my checks. From the beginning, they saw value in me. Hard to believe, right?
They have reciprocated that in so many ways over the past three years. They make it a point to take care of me. By doing a good job, I can help take care of them. That is important to me.
I began as an office manager and eventually took on the role of a personal trainer a few hours while still maintaining full time status in the office. They allowed me to venture off into new territory and helped me along the way.
At the beginning of the year, they asked if I would take a step back because they wanted to offer me an added role running the social media accounts for all three of their clubs and basically have creative control of that. Once again, they show they have full confidence in me.
Notice I have refrained from using the word boss, that is because I look at that word as a negative connotation. A boss is someone I view as a yelling and screaming moron that lacks an ability to lead. These people are leaders. They lead by example. A leader is someone who knows how to guide others and look at their employees as a equal more so than subordinates. That is why these people are successful and created such a welcoming and positive environment.
That leads me to the team we have. Every single person I work with is a friend, some of the best at that. Much like my employers, our employees are like family. I would do anything for them. I feel confident enough to say they would do the same.
On top of all that, I genuinely love what I do. I love watching people overcome their biggest struggles to achieve weight loss and other health goals. Every time I hear a story of someone being taken off a medication, hitting a new weight goal or finding enough confidence to be comfortable in their own skin, it gets me. That alone makes me the richest man on the planet.
Never in a million years did I think I would be working in the fitness industry, but here I am. They say enjoy what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life. I don’t necessarily buy that, but I am the closest to it than I imagined I would ever be.
Our motto at Anytime Fitness is Get To A Healthier Place and I sure have physically, emotionally and mentally.