Every little girl takes a ballet class when they’re first able to walk, right? I did. And before I knew it ballet become my life. I grew up at my studio in Philadelphia, PA, and had big dreams to dance professionally some day. I was obsessed. I lived and breathed for ballet. I took my training very seriously and was determined to fulfill very large goals I had set for myself. By the age of 13, I was dancing 30 hours per week and was as focused as ever.
Being from Philadelphia, I grew up as a huge Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and Sixers fan. I love all sports, but I especially love my Eagles. My father had five sisters and later had two daughters so he never had someone to talk sports with…not to mention, he spent his weeknights and weekends at the studio watching class after class, endless rehearsals and performances. My dad became very involved with our ballet careers and his support was unwavering. I didn’t train on Sunday’s. Conveniently, Sunday’s are the biggest days to watch football. Every Sunday my dad and I would watch from the first kickoff of the day to the last on Sunday Night Football. I would ask a ridiculous amount of questions, ask for explanations on play calls and my dad would happily teach me everything I wanted to know. Poor guy, probably wanted to watch his football in peace, but I was persistent and wanted to learn the game. I loved waking up on Sunday morning, smelling my mom’s meatballs being made and getting to sit in front of the TV with my dad. I would do anything to have those Sunday’s back with him. This is where my passion for sports first began. Sunday’s I didn’t have to think about ballet. It was my day to relax and give my body and mind a break, and in the meantime I had this undying passion for sports that blossomed over the years.
Unfortunately, my junior year of high school my dance career had to come to an end for medical reasons and my dreams of becoming a dancer, the thing I committed myself to for over 15 years was over. Where did I have to turn? What was my identity outside of the studio? Oh yeah…I could talk some football.
As I worked through my health issues I became even more attached to sports. Any sport, any event, any team, any player, I wanted to become an expert. Just as I poured myself into ballet, I started pouring myself into knowing everything I possibly could about sports. Not a day goes by when my dad and I don’t text about recruiting, a press conference, a trade, off the field drama, a coaching change, etc. Sports, in a way, saved me. I had to put one dream away and chase a new one.
Although I felt as though my training for 15 years was thrown away, I never realized that I was preparing my whole life for a career in sports. My training translates directly into sports media. I have thick skin; when I was young I didn’t get a role I wanted, I was pushed and challenged every day, I developed an uncanny disciple, I maintained a strict work ethic and I never gave up. Some day, when I hope to be reporting on the sidelines, I know I’m going to feel as though I’m sitting with my dad on a Sunday watching football. I know I’m going to remember rushing home from rehearsal on Monday nights with my hair tightly wrapped in a bun, eating my dinner in front of the TV to catch Monday Night Football with my dad. I know sports media is where I belong and I could not be more fortunate or blessed. After all, nothing gives me goosebumps quite like watching players run out of a tunnel, watching those bright lights shine down onto a packed stadium or hearing Carrie Underwood sing her famous song on Sunday Night right before kickoff.