Monday, September 23, 2013

20 WEEKS OF GROWTH AND ADVERSITY

Sometimes, you do not know who you truly are until you face adversity and stand on your own two feet.

This week marks my 20th week in the city of Natchitoches (and being on my own) and I have learned a lot during my stay here.

Let’s start with the good…

The good is that I can sense growth in myself—professionally and personally.

Professionally, I love my job at The Natchitoches Times as their sports editor. It has allowed me to meet different people along the way—coaches, players, youth, coworkers, etc… I know that the best is yet to come as I am learning how to write, edit and even interview and tell stories.

Personally, I see growth too, because it feels like the 26-year old me not just acts, but thinks a lot differently than myself from the ages of 13, 16, 18, 21, 23, or even 25. Certain things do not irritate me like they used to and I feel like I have matured along the way.

However, there’s the bad…

I feel unappreciated and alone at times.

Unappreciated, because I do not think that people will ever understand the person that I am.

Alone, because I have been transplanted out in to the real world.

As crazy as it may seem, while I have the job I wanted, a car to get me to and from, and a place to stay, I still feel empty.

I always wished that I had someone that was by my side while I go through life’s struggles.

For whatever reason, I have not in a relationship since the ninth grade—12 years ago. A part of me always wants to know how that feels, because honestly I would feel like I am good person for someone.

However, I always hear the same shit. “You’re too good for me,” “You’re too good to be true”, or even “I only see you as a friend.”

I have heard (and well seen) it all in my life with this and honestly it has gotten to the point where it diminishes my confidence, because the same thing could happen—leaving me back at square one.

Also, I wonder with a lot of cases of guys and girls being friend zoned, that is it even worth it for me to even have friends of the opposite sex and gender?

Just for once, I would love to witness being in a relationship with a woman whether it goes belly up after Day 1 or it leads to a marriage (and beyond).

I am sure that day is coming but I always wonder when?

I love God, my family, friends, and myself (and I’m sure you guys love me right back and I am not trying to Bible-thump to those who do not. I love everyone no matter what religion, race, or creed you are), but seeing the ones you really care about struggling, well it hurts.

My mom recently lost her job due to the job being relocated and to see her look for a job and strike out every time hurts me too. And although my relationship with my dad is not the greatest in the world, seeing him in a nursing home hurts me as well.

You may not care what I am writing about…I totally understand that, but damn it, I have feelings.

I smile when things are not going well, because I do not want you to know what is going wrong. I sometimes like to be alone because I have been burnt by people before and it is hard for me to trust some people.

And I still wish a friend of mine would find it in her heart to forgive me and be my friend again. I am really hoping she reads this even though I think it is a lost cause.

But, to some, I am a good person (I had to do it P.G., lol)—and it shows a lot in how much you care.

But, anyway, I might have rambled on with no real end, but yeah. I just hope that if someone that is reading this is being touched, then I done my job.


Until next time….

Monday, April 15, 2013

A DREAM FULFILLED: FINALLY A PROFESSIONAL SPORTS REPORTER


PREFACE: R.I.P. to my grandmother Annie B. Gafford (1931-2010) and my uncle Garry Bruce Gafford (1959-2012). It was through you two that I learned a lot about sports and I wish you two were alive for the ride. However, I know that both of you are looking down on me and proud of me.

Nearly 27 months after graduating from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, I can finally say these following words…

I am a professional sports reporter.

Starting in a few weeks, I will be the new sports editor for The Natchitoches Times in Natchitoches, La., and words cannot explain how happy I am and how happy my family and friends are as well about this opportunity.

What makes this even more satisfying is the road taken to get to this point.

After my time at ULM, I was a freelancer with The Shreveport Times for two years writing about high school sports and shared the newspaper’s prep sports journalist of the year honor in 2011 (with Adam Hester, brother of NFL player, Jacob) and 2012 (with former NCAA all-time points leader Art Carmody) thanks to the great colleagues of the paper.

It was also then where I started to blog a lot more on this site, while also posting my writings on Bleacher Report and Sports Rantz for even more exposure. This was followed up by making internet radio appearances with the Clayton State Radio Sports Zone and the Cameron Sadeghi Show, when Cameron pitched the idea of starting a new show—ultimately becoming The Gafford and Brown Show with my friend Robert Brown.

While all of those gigs are fine and helped me learn valuable experience, there was one tiny problem.

Neither were full-time.

Eventually, seeing that I needed some source of income, I settled for JCPenney in August 2012. It was there where I got back into the learning of working every day and meeting great co-workers along the way.

All of this brings us back to now.

While I am nervous about this new journey, I am very excited for it and cannot wait to get the many firsts of my career out of the way.

I am proud to say that I can be one of the countless graduates from ULM’s mass communications department (DeRon, Ben, Jessica, and Cody…to name a few) to make this dream a reality, while making our professors proud. 

I am also glad to have met other great aspiring journalists of the same ilk (Evan, Robert, James, David, Hiren, Larry, JT, Clarence, Nick, and many others) via social media—if done right, it is a GREAT source of networking—to fraternize with.

And last but not least, my friends that have stuck by me since day one though the ups and downs by always reminding me to “take the good with the bad, be happy when you’re said…but always remember, life goes on.”

Even though I am nervous about this next chapter in my life, I also am confident that it is a great step in the right direction to dream bigger, and hopefully make those a reality as well.

And do not worry; I plan to carry this blog and our podcasts with me for the ride.

P.S.: To anyone reading this in the same situation, no matter if an aspiring journalist, doctor, lawyer, etc…NEVER, EVER give up on your dream. It may not come when you expect it, but with hard work and perseverance, it will come eventually.

Monday, February 11, 2013

NFL WRAP UP AND A MESSAGE FROM A SPECIAL GUEST!

Hello ladies and gentlemen! Once again, sorry for the lack of updates, but we are still here!

Normally, I would have posted my NFL playoff and Super Bowl predictions on here, but I did do this on Twitter.

The Baltimore Ravens won a thrilling Super Bowl XLVII 34-31 that saw a near comeback, lighting failures, BeyoncĂ© shutting things down, and the last hurrah of Ray Lewis.

Before the game, however, adult model and my fellow blogging friend, Sandra London, had a bet to determine who would make the winner a video. If the 49ers won, I had to make a vid proclaiming she was the queen. If the Ravens won, she had to make a video for my site.

Well, since we now know the outcome, enjoy Sandra's poem and message to you -- the faithful viewers of this site.

video

Once again, thank you Sandra for your brilliant words.

Please check out her blog: To Live and Grind in L.A. AND while you are at it, subscribe and listen to her radio show: Playtime With Sandra London.

Hope we can do this again (and hope I can continue to win! ;-)).