Growing up I had dreams of playing Major League Baseball — being a Chicago Cubs player, to be exact.
Those dreams were dashed away a long time ago.
But here I am today, staring down the barrel of age 40, comparing myself to professional athletes.
Now you are probably confused, so let me explain. Often times while awaiting a lucrative contract extension, professional athletes will turn down offers which they may find insulting.
In turn, you often hear them use the phrase “I am betting on myself.”
That’s where I stand. It’s time I bet on myself.
A little over two months ago I received a phone call from my boss at the paper saying due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I would be getting laid off.
With no local sports, it was inevitable.
Still, it was kind of a punch in the gut. I feel like after 13-plus years in this profession I am versatile enough to have been utilized in other aspects of the paper. Who knows, I could have even excelled.
But here we are, the second week of June and I have yet to hear back from said employer.
On more than one occasion, the thought of branching out and starting my own publication has crept into the back of my mind. The last couple of months it has turned from just the occasional thought into several times a day thinking about being on my own.
Allow me to take a step back to 2007 for a moment…
I remember interviewing with Chris Pruett at the Greene County Daily World — my first full-time writing gig after college.
Chris asked me where I wanted to go within the profession. Without hesitation, my answer was “Chicago.”
I loved the city and wanted to write for the Tribune.
In 2012 I made the leap and moved to Chicago without having a job. I interviewed at the Tribune and was offered a position. It did not work out, however, but I landed a freelance gig with the Sun-Times. A few months later I landed a more steady gig in the Northwest Suburbs at the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights.
I felt like I had finally made it.
After a couple of years working in the “big city” and then getting laid off, I decided it just was not for me. It seemed like I was covering a different school/team every night which made it hard to build a good rapport — I was better suited for the smaller communities.
Since moving from Chicago, I feel like I have made a bigger/better contribution to this profession. I have made some life-long connections with the athletes I cover, the parents, coaches and school administrators. It’s been an absolute blessing over the last six-plus years.
And now, I feel like it’s time to take yet another step.
I will admit, creating PressBox 790 Sports is a bit frightening — especially in the middle of a “pandemic.”
But those who know me are well aware I have never taken the easy road — for anything. It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s a challenge I am eager to take. Although I leave behind some great communities in Southwestern Indiana, I feel like Northeast Missouri and West-Central Illinois is “home”.
And hopefully, the third time really is the charm.
Stay tuned for more updates on the “gameplan” moving forward. Until then, thanks for having me back!
TRAVIS DAVID is the publisher of PressBox 790 Sports. He can be reached at 573-248-4465 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Tdavid_21.