How Did I Get HERE?

Posted in Uncategorized on December 5, 2014 by amylawrencepxp

You may not believe this, but I never really wanted to be a talk show host. This wasn’t part of my grand plan. Looking back now, I couldn’t have dreamed up this journey if I tried. If I could have seen the road ahead of me, I would have been too overwhelmed to handle it anyway. Twenty years ago, I had zero designs on being a talk show host. Ten years ago, I wasn’t very good at it and only saw it as a means to an end. Five years ago, it felt like the walls were closing in and my options were drying up. So how in the world did I get HERE??

On January 1st, After Hours is moving! My CBS Sports Radio show will expand to five episodes a week, Sunday through Thursday nights (or Monday through Friday mornings on the East coast). Therein lies a huge part of the challenge. In this time slot, it’s primarily a West coast audience to start; toward the end of the show, it morphs into mostly morning commuters on the East coast. I LOVE that! I also love going into work at night–sifting through the various storylines in the immediate aftermath of all the action. Sunday nights during NFL season are my absolute favorite, and I won’t be giving that up. On a personal note, I’m looking forward to Saturdays off from work since I’ll get to see my family and friends a little more often and since my church meets on Saturday evenings.  But the most exciting part? Since my hours won’t be all over the map, I can actually settle into a regular sleep pattern! Wooooo! So many reasons to be thrilled for this new challenge. It’s the first time at the network level that I’ll be responsible for my own talk show five times a week. That comes with a growing audience, expanded platform, increased scrutiny, higher stakes, and loftier expectations. I can’t wait to dive right in! I also can’t help but smile every time the thought pops into my head: how did I get here??

Twenty years ago, I was telling everyone who would listen that I would be the female Johnny Most someday. The first woman to ever do radio play-by-play for the Boston Celtics. That was my dream. It’s STILL my dream. But two decades ago, I didn’t have the first clue about how to make it happen. After graduating from Syracuse with my master’s degree, I just wanted a job. My professional journey started in Rochester, New York, where I read the news headlines at the top of every hour overnights on the weekends. I convinced my boss to let me do the sports updates on Saturday mornings after my shift for free. I worked mostly as a news anchor and reporter the first six years of my career. I picked up play-by-play when I could, but news paid the bills. In 2002, a small start-up outfit in Norman, Oklahoma, hired me to host a sports talk show. I was terrible at it. No training, not much support, a newbie and an outsider trying to build an audience among men who didn’t want a woman telling them about their favorite teams. I got fired a year later. Next stop was co-host of a morning drive talk show at a Providence radio station. Got fired after a year there, too. A variety of factors went into those pink slips (one of the stations went dark soon after), but I wasn’t very good at the talk show thing back then.

Ten years ago, I still looked at talk shows as a way to earn a paycheck and support my play-by-play habit. But then ESPN Radio started offering me fill-in work, and I began to realize how much fun hosting could be at the highest level, expressing my opinions and debating them with others. I got bit by the bug and found a new passion, but I still wasn’t very good at it, ha! I barely recognize the girl who first showed up in Bristol, Connecticut, in 2004. It was my first real training and guidance toward developing into a host who is equal parts knowledge, preparation, personality, and versatility. But the national stage also included a type of pressure and competition I never faced before. I had to learn on the fly and improve rapidly or I wouldn’t last. Even when I DID find a foothold, I could never get comfortable. Industry changes, management changes, philosophy changes–they’re all cyclical, and they didn’t always work in my favor. Five years ago, the opportunities were drying up and I was stuck in a role that didn’t suit me. But by then, I was confident in my abilities and driven by a passion that never waned. I knew all I needed was a chance to prove what I could do on the air. CBS came calling two-and-a-half-years ago and gave me that chance, and I’ve spent every day since then grateful for bosses who believe in me and give me these wings to fly.

I never wanted to be a talk show host. This was never part of the plan. Looking back, there were dozens of moments when I could’ve packed it in and chosen an easier path. I’ve been fired, taken out of rotation, passed over for jobs time and time again, rammed my head into the glass ceiling over and over, and heard the gloating when I stumbled. I’ll never forget the manager who told me, “We believe you’ve reached your full potential so we’re going to invest our resources in developing other talent.” To answer the question of how I got here, I have to acknowledge the failures and the people who gave up on me. They are fuel for the fire and motivation that never leave me. But they’re only part of the equation. I also got here on the strength of unwavering support, encouragement, and prayers from those family members, friends, colleagues, managers, and listeners who refused to give up on me. So 2015 is for you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I wouldn’t be here without you. XO

 

 

 

 

Alternate Universe

Posted in Uncategorized on October 14, 2014 by amylawrencepxp

There exists the age-old question of whether or not alien lifeforms inhabit other planets, whether our world is one of many in the cosmos. Well, search no further…the answer is an emphatic “YES!” Our scientists have simply been searching in the wrong places. You don’t need to travel to outer space to discover alien life. You only have to go as far as your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Social media is PROOF that an alternate universe is not only surviving, but thriving! This other world features its own inhabitants, languages, rules, and ways of calculating success. Relationships and communication take on very different forms which are barely recognizable at times. It’s like our own version of Narnia where we walk through the wardrobe by logging on.

Since my initial foray into this alternate universe, I’ve received quite an education. Did you know that all social media users are experts?? Medical, legal, psychological, you name it. All members are well-trained in language arts/spelling, athletics, and self-improvement; and they’re ALL willing to share that expertise free of charge. Opinions are formed at breakneck speed, and the truth is optional. In the world of Twitter and Facebook, an investigation or complaint turns into a conviction within moments. No need for the justice system when you have the social media mob. Instantly, Tony Stewart is a murderer and Colin Kaepernick is guilty of sexual assault. It reminds me of an avalanche: when Twitter starts tumbling downhill and picks up speed, it collects anything and everything in its path. Lebron James is branded a quitter because he can’t finish an NBA Finals game with debilitating cramps. The greatest shortstop in baseball history is overrated. Tom Brady is old and broken, Peyton Manning can’t win, and Kirk Cousins is the best option under center for the Redskins until he commits five turnovers on national TV…then he promptly turns into a bum and needs to be traded immediately. According to recent statistics, only 7% of the US population uses Twitter, but none of that 7% is shy or reserved. Those roughly 50 million people wield great power and influence; their collective voices can be LOUD when singing in unison. Just ask the NFL or the Baltimore Ravens, Minnesota Vikings, and Carolina Panthers how impossible it is to ignore the chorus.

The assumption is that advice and input are always welcome. No such thing as privacy either. If you choose to enter the social media sphere, everything from your work to your family to your background to your dating life is open for discussion and debate. Not even my mother weighs in on my hairstyle as much as my “friends” on Facebook or Twitter…most of whom have never actually seen me in person, ha! The marriage proposals may be my favorite part, though. Did you know it’s unnecessary to develop a personal relationship with a woman before asking her to spend the rest of her life with you in this other society?? A tweet of 140 characters serves as romance. Of course, social media is a world of extremes, so for every marriage proposal, there is hate mail. I’m reminded on a continual basis that I’m a hack who shouldn’t have a job, only good enough to host on weekends, a woman who will never make it in a “man’s world” and ugly to boot (because that definitely matters on the radio). I get called names I’ve never even heard before…and would never hear in person.

The inhabitants of this social media universe may LOOK human, but human decency doesn’t always apply. Cowards hide behind their profiles and take keyboard potshots. They fancy themselves warriors whose end game is to provoke a reaction and be recognized for their efforts. A response serves as their badge of honor and spurs them on. These aliens or “trolls” have no accountability and nothing to lose. The same standard does not apply for public figures: athletes, actors, entertainers, TV and radio broadcasters. One offhand comment, spontaneous remark or angry retort can spread like wildfire in minutes; and the consequences can be massive. Opinions and impressions are shaped and formed, fair or not, based on 140 characters that can never truly be deleted. As a result, I’ve settled on several basic rules for my time spent in this alien world: no vulgarity, no name-calling, no personal attacks, no words that would embarrass my 92-year-old grandmother or my employer, no posts or tweets that I don’t read at least twice before I hit “enter,” no messages or pictures I wouldn’t want the entire world to view. Respect, kindness, humility, humor, and empathy disarm the majority of on-line opponents. Most importantly (and this is the toughest rule to remember when I’m emotional), I choose my battles carefully. Not every battle is worth fighting.

After spending time in that universe, you’d think common sense would kick in, and people would avoid any contact with these alien lifeforms, but the opposite is true. I’ve come to accept that social media is like a drug; and in the sports world, it can easily turn into a minor obsession. I’ll admit to my love-hate relationship with Facebook and Twitter. I vacillate from morbid fascination at the process to joy over the comradery to disgust at the language to gratefulness for the access to anger at the conversation. I’ve reconnected with high school and college friends through social media, and I’ve formed brand new friendships, including one that I now consider among my closest. I interact with listeners and sports fans all over the globe, from every corner of the US to England to Israel to Australia to Afghanistan. I can barely remember what it’s like to watch a major sporting event without the running commentary on Twitter, and I recognize the value of social media to promote my radio shows and build my “brand.” And there are amazing moments we would never experience otherwise. The Ice Bucket Challenge craze raising more than $100 million for ALS research this summer is just one example.

I’ve seen more than enough to know I don’t desire dual citizenship. Short ventures through the back of the wardrobe are plenty. It’s a relief to be able to step out of that alternate universe and reconnect with the real world. Funny thing: not one other member of my family uses social media to any measurable degree. That’s reason enough to leave it behind and beam back to my own little corner of the planet.

Seeing Is Believing

Posted in Uncategorized on September 9, 2014 by amylawrencepxp

The last time I posted a blog entry, the sports world was blowing up in outrage over a meager two-game suspension for an NFL player accused of domestic violence. Radio and television shows, print media, and the internet were engaged in a massive debate over whether or not two games was fair punishment for Ravens running back Ray Rice. Six weeks ago, the only video evidence available to the public was one that revealed the aftermath: Rice dragging his unconscious fiancee’ out of an elevator. That’s all we could see with our own eyes. The details of the incident were reported by multiple outlets, including NFL insiders. In fact, I used those reports as I talked about this case on my radio shows and in this blog. Rice was charged with felony assault after he punched his now-wife Janay in the face, knocking her out cold. We heard the details from others; we read them in print or on the web. But 99% of us couldn’t see the violence with our own eyes…until today. The reports can no longer be disputed. Those who defended, justified, or excused Rice and the NFL’s weak response are now silent. Seeing is believing.

After this new video was published by TMZ, the reaction was swift. Within hours, the Ravens cut Rice. The league followed suit by suspending him indefinitely and prohibiting other teams from negotiating with him. Once again, radio and TV shows, print media, and the internet are blowing up. This time, the chorus of voices is disgusted, shocked, infuriated, repulsed, enraged, nauseated, offended, saddened, and appalled. While I can appreciate and understand these feelings after watching the footage, a gruesome video shouldn’t be necessary for the NFL, the Ravens, and football fans to take a stand against domestic violence. As much as the elevator video makes me sick to my stomach, Ray Rice was dead wrong BEFORE we saw it. So why did it take so long? Why did it take another six weeks for the REAL hammer to drop?

The move by the Ravens to cut ties with Rice is the first and only move they’ve made to discipline him. According to CBS NFL Insider Jason LaCanfora, team officials knew exactly what happened inside that hotel elevator in February because Rice told them. He was forthcoming with them, so they didn’t see anything they didn’t know about already. Until today, the front office and staff were unified in their support of Rice. They pointed to his track record, his contributions to the community, his contrition, and his commitment to counseling with his wife. But as soon as the video was released, it “changed things.” That’s what coach John Harbaugh said in his comments to the media after Rice was cut. Yes, the video DID change things: it whipped the public into a frenzy and made the Ravens the target of intense criticism and scrutiny. The video did NOT change their scope of information. They already knew Rice punched his wife and knocked her out cold. However, even though it smacks of hypocrisy to take a stand and cut him NOW, it’s a move made better late than never.

The NFL is facing more pressure of its own, despite suspending Rice from the league indefinitely. Roger Goodell’s office claims no one saw the video before it was posted online, but that explanation isn’t likely to satisfy the masses. More than one NFL reporter indicated Goodell had access to the full video before handing down the original punishment. Since I believed what I read and heard, I told my radio listeners that NFL officials saw it. But even if those reports are incorrect, there’s no way Goodell didn’t know specific details. If the authorities, the Ravens, and members of the media knew, the NFL also knew…or should have. The league conducted its own investigation by talking to the Rices, the Ravens, and the police. We already had the footage of Janay being dragged unconscious out of the elevator. She certainly didn’t knock herself out. As terrible as it is to see the violence on tape, Roger Goodell can’t possibly be surprised. I wasn’t. I already knew what happened, and I’m just a radio host. The reports were 100% accurate, but only NOW is the NFL showing zero tolerance. To his credit, the Commissioner has instituted a new domestic violence policy that mandates a six-game suspension for first-time offenders with indefinite suspension and a possible lifetime ban for repeat offenders. Not sure where Rice fits under this policy: this is his first offense, but he’s now suspended indefinitely. It doesn’t make much sense, but no doubt the NFL was reeling in the wake of the video and scrambling for the appropriate response.

Sadly, only after seeing did the NFL and Ravens truly believe. My sincere hope is next time, they don’t wait for backlash or outrage or video but take a stand initially. Be proactive instead of reactive! We shouldn’t require video evidence as a catalyst to recognize domestic violence as appalling and indefensible. The football powers that be are saying the right things now, but how much has actually CHANGED in the last six weeks? Pro Bowl defensive lineman Greg Hardy was convicted of assaulting and threatening a former girlfriend this summer, yet he continues playing for the Panthers. He’s appealing the judge’s ruling and wants a jury trial, but he was already convicted and given a suspended jail sentence. I can’t help but wonder why the Panthers and the NFL don’t act in his case. I want to be optimistic. With all the dialogue and debate and decisions made (albeit late) regarding Rice, I want to believe we’ve turned a corner. But seeing is believing, so I’ll watch and wait.

 

In the Line of Fire

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2014 by amylawrencepxp

The second I saw the breaking news, I knew it was coming. A controversial decision by the NFL to suspend a player just two games over his domestic violence arrest…the very definition of combustible in my business. Throw in a female radio host voicing a strong opinion, and it’s akin to lighting a stick of dynamite near a fuel tank. Explosive. It happens every time I tackle a social issue on my shows. As much as I try to foster intelligent conversation, there is always nasty backlash. I call it being in the line of fire because that’s exactly how it feels…as though I’m standing in front of a firing squad full of marksmen taking their best shots. It comes with the job, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to the venom from listeners and followers on social media.

In my opinion, a two-game suspension for knocking your fiancee’ out cold isn’t enough. The NFL preaches zero-tolerance for violence against women, but this minor punishment of Ray Rice proclaims the exact opposite. The Commissioner took into account Rice’s clean past; the courts allowing counseling in lieu of a trial; the couple’s public apology and sit-down with Roger Goodell himself; and the running back’s positive contributions in the Baltimore community. I realize one moment or one poor decision, even a criminal one, doesn’t define a person, but there are consequences for every action. The NFL had a perfect opportunity to make a strong statement about domestic violence but chose to do otherwise. The two-game penalty (and roughly $500,000 in lost wages) is weak and inconsistent when compared with other punishments handed down in recent years. The NFL is the gold standard in pro sports, the envy of every other sports organization in the US. With revenue of roughly $9 billion annually, the league captures the attention of millions of fans year-round. And with all those people watching, Goodell missed the chance to score a huge win in the fight against domestic violence.

In addition to sharing those sentiments to start my radio show, I also said men shouldn’t hit women. Unless a man fears for his life or the lives of others, he should never hit a woman. Men are physically stronger and more powerful than women, even those who don’t play football for a living. Ray Rice takes hits from defensive ends and linebackers twice his size; he withstands dozens of tackles per game from defenders who get a running start. He’s thrived in a violent, collision sport. His life wasn’t in danger when his fiancee’ came at him in that elevator. He didn’t need to fight back. He could’ve bear-hugged her, held her arms to her sides, or done nothing at all until the elevator doors opened. Instead, he clocked her. According to reports, he hit her hard enough that she smacked her head and fell to the floor unconscious. A very public video shows him dragging her body out of the elevator. He could’ve killed her. It would’ve been unintentional, but she could’ve died.

I barely got the words out of my mouth before the reaction started flooding in. The phone lines, my Facebook page, and my twitter feed blew up. Everything from outrage over the suspension to mockery of the NFL’s policies to questions for Goodell to justifications for Ray Rice to personal stories of abuse. But by far, the most vicious reaction was directed at me personally. I was called bitch, gold-digger, hack, idiot, dumb broad, delusional, ugly, clueless, and the worst host on CBS Sports Radio among other things. One listener said he wished Ray Rice would knock ME out so I would go away. In the age where cowards turn twitter into their weapon of choice, I was sexually harassed and called names I would never speak or print. In my 10 years of network radio, that was the worst it’s ever been.

Personal attacks come with the territory. A vocal cross-section of sports fans still don’t want to hear women venture into a “man’s world” or talk about a man’s game. Some are intimidated by a strong female who knows more about sports than they do. Those critics motivate me and push me to get better at what I do. Those social media trolls are easy to forget. But it was more difficult to move past Thursday’s show. I had a hard time sleeping. I couldn’t stop thinking about the co-worker who suggested I brought the verbal abuse on myself, that I “asked for it” by starting my show with such strong views. I wish I could say the venom stopped after that initial show, but it continued over the next three shows and three days.

I’m so thankful for the loyal listeners and supporters who were just as vocal: applauding me for taking a stand and daring to voice my opinions, for promoting intelligent dialogue and debate, for pulling on my body armor and refusing to back down, for responding with grace and humor instead of stooping to the juvenile tactics of the “haters.” As rough as it was, I’m also thankful for a platform that puts me in the line of fire. Domestic violence is a massive problem in our society, affecting millions of families across the country. One man called my show to say his mother hit him every day from ages 4 to 14 and that he finally left home after hitting her back one time and realizing he could hurt her. That phone call broke my heart. He wasn’t the only listener to share a personal story of abuse. And for those victims, I would go through another hundred shows like Thursday if it means I can make a small difference.

 

Our Soccer Experience

Posted in Uncategorized on June 22, 2014 by amylawrencepxp

One of the things that makes the United States of America a GREAT nation is our diversity. Within our borders, 317 million of us…and we’re all different. Our freedom allows us to be different, and we cherish that. It means we have 317 million opinions and points of view, and collectively, we rarely agree on anything. Of course, that means a myriad of conflicts; but life would be boring if we all thought, felt, and acted the same way. Ha! When it comes to sports, the rash of opinions and variety of perspectives keeps me in business. Very rarely do I come across another fan who roots for all the same teams as I do or who agrees with my ideas across the board with no exceptions. As sports fans, we’re passionate, proud, irrational, illogical, and defensive when it comes to our teams. Of course that means I regularly get accused of bias by some crazy fan: “disrespecting” or “doubting” or “hating” his team. Umm, no. I don’t have that kind of energy! But understanding this rampant diversity only added to my enjoyment of our World Cup debut in Brazil.

My favorite thing about the US victory over Ghana was the wave of collective spirit and fervor that gripped the nation for those two hours. One of the mantras for this American squad is “One Nation, One Team.” I could feel that! It was almost like time stopped while the result hung in the balance. The tension, nervous excitement, and enthusiasm for the Red, White & Blue was palpable and so much fun to witness in every corner of the country: from private viewing parties to hole-in-the-wall bars crammed full to outdoor venues with thousands watching huge big-screen TVs. For a couple hours, we forgot about our differences. The only thing that mattered is the one thing we share: loyalty to the USA. We all cheered wildly when Clint Dempsey scored the first goal 30 seconds into the match, even if we were caught off guard. We all grimaced when Jozy Altidore pulled up lame with his hamstring injury. We all fretted over the amount of time the Black Stars possessed the ball and cringed over their shots on goal. We were all crushed when Ghana tied the game late in the 2nd half, and we all went into orbit when John Brooks found the back of the net with his header four minutes later. Stoppage time nearly killed us as we pleaded with Team USA to hang on. And when the last few seconds finally ticked off the mysterious clock, we celebrated wildly, thrilled to share that moment with the stranger standing next to us.

Just as entertaining as watching the game (and trying to explain to my dog why we couldn’t go for a walk until after the final horn) was following the flow of the match on twitter. It turned into a veritable stream of consciousness, especially in the late stages where our collective hearts were racing. Every momentum swing or key moment unleashed hundreds of comments until everything US Soccer was trending. Awesome! My twitter feed is full of athletes and other sports figures, analysts, and media colleagues…I can’t remember tweets about anything else. That NEVER happens. Even during the Super Bowl or other major championship, our rooting interest is split. Or some of us don’t root at all. The closest thing to our US Soccer experience is the Olympics; but even on that stage, our attention is pulled in multiple directions by various sports taking place at the same time. And the passion just isn’t the same across the board. We may not care about soccer nearly as much in between World Cups; for a variety of reasons, the game doesn’t have the same mass appeal as our own football, basketball, baseball or hockey. But this is the grandest international stage in sports, and there’s no denying we’re caught up in the global excitement, pageantry, and passion.

There’s still plenty of room on the US Soccer bandwagon. Not all 317 million Americans were interested or tuned into the match with Ghana. But with a victory over Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal, a first place finish in the Group of Death, a spot in the Round of 16 or a trip to the World Cup quarterfinals for just the second time since 1990…we’ll have to shove over and make room. This is one of those rare occasions when it’s socially acceptable to jump on a team’s bandwagon even if you haven’t been a fan all along. The more, the merrier and the sweeter the experience. I savor this chance to root on Team USA alongside millions of my closest friends as we share the same mind and the same heart for a few precious weeks.

“I believe…I believe that…I believe that we…I believe that we will win! I believe that we will win!!”

It’s Personal

Posted in Uncategorized on June 5, 2014 by amylawrencepxp

Seven straight days without watching TV. Seven straight days with no playoffs games or conversations about sports. Seven days with very little time spent on social media. Blissfully unaware and didn’t care for the first time in more than a decade. Honestly, I didn’t even know that was possible for me, but my recent jaunt to Southern California was more than just a vacation. It was another big step toward making my personal life a priority in 2014. It’s my number one goal this year, no matter how strange or odd it seems.

For most of my adult life, everything personal has remained firmly on the back burner. Of course, nothing’s more important than family and close friends, and I drop everything when they need me. When I have downtime, I spend a lot of it visiting, calling, texting, emailing, keeping in touch with and praying for the people I love. But in order to succeed in this career of mine, it’s required the very best of me: mind, body, soul, and spirit as well as all the time I could devote to it. That’s meant working long hours, odd schedules, nights, weekends, holidays…and juggling multiple jobs at once. I’ve navigated months with only a single day off, and I’ve stayed awake 30-plus hours more times than I can count. My record is a 46-hour stretch of nothing but working, driving, working, and driving. Little scary. Only by the grace of God.

Despite all the twists and turns, missteps and mistakes, I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I don’t harbor any regrets. I wouldn’t go back and change it if I could. BUT I also know it’s the right time to make personal my top priority. More than a year after joining CBS Sports Radio, my career is no longer incubating. I don’t need to “mother it” the same way. And for the sake of long-term health, sanity, and balance, I’m rearranging in 2014. We all know tweaking and pruning can be difficult, especially when it’s established mindsets and patterns that require attention. For months, I’ve kept two major steps in mind, and I recently took them both.

After six years as the radio play-by-play voice of the Hartford women’s basketball team, I’ve given up that job. Talk about a tough step to make! Of all the cool opportunities I’ve had in my career, basketball play-by-play is my favorite, hands down. It’s my niche, my comfort zone, my happy place, my adrenaline rush. No matter how tired or stressed out, the second I launch into play-by-play, all the distractions and noise in my brain fade into the background. It takes me back to those nights as a teenager when I listened to radio broadcasts of the Celtics and fell in love with the idea of describing games with such precision and skill that fans don’t feel like they’re missing anything simply because they can’t see the action with their own eyes. Giving up my Hartford gig was painful. It’s hard to imagine not being on the sidelines when next season tips off. It’s also been more than a decade since I didn’t have play-by-play locked into my winter schedule. But commuting four hours to home games and putting more than a thousand miles a week on my car in addition to my full-time job got to be too much. I never commit to anything halfway; I always give it my whole heart. So sleep, exercise, and healthy eating habits all took a backseat to maintain that schedule from early November to mid-March. Any kind of personal life was virtually non-existent. As hard as it is, I know this is a necessary step for my future. I also know sometimes you have to close one door before you can find the next open door with its new opportunities. I loved every second with the Hartford Hawks, on and off the court. It was a privilege to represent the university and head coach Jennifer Rizzotti and work with some amazing young women. I had the chance to call conference championships, NCAA tournament action, 20 straight victories, upsets over undefeated Duke and other ranked opponents, buzzer beaters, games from Cancun, and broadcasts inside packed arenas where you could barely hear yourself think. All priceless experiences! Not only did those six years make me a better play-by-play announcer, but I gained some lifelong friendships. I’m so thankful for those people who root for me as I move onto the next stage in my career. What a blessing!

The second major step (at least for me) in making my personal life a priority was taking a vacation from sports which is decidedly different than just getting out of town and not working for a week. To travel cross-country and visit friends I rarely get to see was amazing. To REALLY leave sports behind without being anxious over what I was missing? A whole new level for me. I didn’t watch one second of playoff action or the NFL Draft and didn’t flip on the TV for a full week. Even more impressive, I didn’t tweet about sports at all. Ha! Believe it or not, it wasn’t difficult. After the first couple days, I forgot to wonder what was happening in the sports world…almost like a huge cleansing breath for that part of my brain. Maybe I thought I couldn’t afford to take the time away and still be credible on the air. Maybe I wasn’t confident enough in myself or my job security to put sports aside for that long…until now. Despite the doubts of some on social media, I enjoyed a vacation full of everything BUT sports: eating and laughing with friends, traipsing around the San Diego Zoo for eight hours, hiking, running, walking, exploring the top of a mountain, taking pictures, swimming, sleeping, and relaxing. Maybe it shouldn’t have taken me so long to get there, but it was well worth the wait. (Thanks, Brittany and Beth!)

I’ll admit there’s a part of me that wonders if I’ve lost the ability to make my personal life a priority. What if I waited too long? Or worse yet, what if I stink at it? What if I’m only really good at working? But I know I have to try. I’m a firm believer that it’s never too late to change your course and try something new. And so with all the faith I can muster, I take this new personal fork in my road, full of anticipation for what’s on the horizon.

 

DeBunking Myths About Me

Posted in Uncategorized on May 4, 2014 by amylawrencepxp

It’s an historic weekend in the NBA playoffs with FIVE winner-take-all Game Sevens just to get out of the first round. Exactly a week ago, the sports world was consumed by the racist remarks of an NBA owner caught on tape. It’s always something. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time we had a dull weekend in sports. The Final Four; the Masters; the NFL regular season, playoffs, and Super Bowl; college football; baseball–the sports calendar doesn’t feature much downtime, especially not over weekends. Friday through Sunday nights is a whirlwind stretch for me because there’s ALWAYS something happening. That’s why I chuckle when people ask me if I’d rather host a weekday show on CBS Sports Radio. The question is frequently posed OR I hear it as an insult on social media. Listeners taunt me by saying I’d be hosting during the week if I was any good. Perfect example: I recently received a tweet telling me I was “buried” nights & weekends. Ha! If you say so…

This is just one of the common misconceptions about who I am and what I do. What better way to dispel them than to use a new blog post! The truth is I LOVE working nights and weekends because there’s always something for me to sink my teeth into on air. In fact, when I auditioned for the bosses at CBS back in 2012, I told them how much I love Sunday nights. It’s literally my favorite night of the week to be on the radio, no matter what the season. I also told them mornings aren’t for me. Shocker. Haha. You either go to bed early evening and miss the pertinent games and events (because the alarm goes off before dawn) or you stay up to watch and then spend all your time exhausted. I can’t be effective as a host without seeing the games myself; so when I did morning radio, I was bleary-eyed and dazed most of the time. And while it’s nice to collapse on the couch in the evenings after hosting the Doug Gottlieb Show now and then, I’d rather react in the aftermath of a huge Game Seven or a packed NFL Sunday than preview what’s to come. I hate predicting games because it’s nothing more than guesswork, and most often, not even educated guesses. Sports defy logic. The games very rarely go according to plan which is why we keep coming back. So instead of taking wild stabs on a daytime show and telling you what MIGHT happen, I’d rather wait until the action unfolds and share what I saw, heard, felt, and experienced. That’s why I prefer hosting nights and weekends in sports radio. I’ve got the best time slots of the week!

I also have ZERO desire to take my talents to a small screen near you. Another myth about me is that I must have TV goals and aspirations or that I’m using the radio medium as a stepping stone to reach television. Nothing could be further from the truth for me (and I can only speak for me). I’ve done play-by-play and color for TV basketball games for more than a decade, but only because I don’t have to be on camera more than 5 minutes. Ha! That taste is enough. TV is too high maintenance for me. Too much emphasis placed on what you look like instead of what you know, especially for women in sports. I’ve worked too hard to be dismissed or dissected based on how I do my hair or whether I’m a supermodel…which I’m not. It cheapens all the effort I’ve put into getting this far. More importantly, radio and TV require completely different skill sets. Most TV anchors couldn’t navigate a four-hour radio show and keep the conversation interesting and entertaining the whole time. In between commercial breaks, my radio segments can run 13 minutes. That kind of air time isn’t offered on TV, and I NEED my air time! The four-hour shows give me a chance to get creative and dive into a variety of topics, looking at them from every angle. I also enjoy interacting with listeners by taking phone calls and fielding tweets. On TV, you rarely have time to go deeper; instead, you barely scratch the surface. Plus there’s no teleprompter or script in my radio studio like television which tends to be more packaged and controlled. The two mediums are completely different when it comes to sports, night and day. My strengths are better served on radio, and I’ve always been in love with the idea of using nothing but words and audio to paint an entire picture.

While I know this post doesn’t answer all the questions I’m asked about my radio journey, I want people to know I’m thrilled with what I’m doing. Yes, I have goals and aspirations; yes, I want to keep moving forward until I achieve my dreams. But there isn’t one part of me that’s unhappy hosting CBS Sports Radio shows on the nights and weekends. Woooo! As I always remind people, I was never meant to walk the conventional beaten path. I’m the only one on the planet traveling this particular road, so whatever’s “logical” or “normal,” I’m usually the opposite!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 102 other followers