Yes I know – maybe you are turned off by the title. I am comfortable with that because there is tea-cup attitude that permeates the masses entering the business these days. Here is the good news: If you are reading this past those first two sentences then you already have a leg up. Somebody told parents in this last generation that they needed to tell their kids they are “special” and that has resulted in a lot of folks amazed when they don’t get the job on the first try. You are not “special” because you “work hard” or “show up on time” or “really like sports”. Those things are a given if you are trying to be a sports broadcaster. You are not “special” if you were a great athlete or a beautiful girl in college. Not doubting that you were either of those things, it is just that there are a lot of folks like you trying to make it in this business.
I have a child with severe food allergies. He also has a hell of a lot of self-esteem. In pre-school whenever there was a kid’s birthday party the teachers would ask me to bring in alternative treats for him he could enjoy alongside the other children eating cupcakes and ice cream. I heard the teachers use the word “special” for his food quite frequently. I knew I was going to have to educate this child as he got older about what foods were and were not safe for him to eat and the use of the word “special” was clouding the issue. How was he going to leave my side and go to events without me if he could only eat things people called “special”? Was the world supposed to adapt to my son? It was easy to see my boy was going to have to adapt to the world. So the next time I picked him up after a party and he said, “I got ‘SPECIAL’ ice cream” I said “It isn’t ‘SPECIAL,’ it’s ‘SOY’” … I kept the “get over yourself” locked behind my lips. He is “special to me,” no doubt, but he is going to have to make his own way in the world and people are not going to fall over themselves trying to accommodate him because he is “special”.
My advice for those entering this business is the same – lose the “special” attitude and make yourself “indispensible” instead. Be well rounded, look for the gap and scoot in there. I hope you make it … because I love a good underdog.