Sleepy Survival

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11, 2014 by amylawrencepxp

Two overnights, a late night, two nights off, three daytime shifts, another overnight, a late night, back-to-back evenings, one day off, two more daytime shows, an overnight, a late night, one more evening…and then three days off. Phew! Typing it out makes it look even nuttier. As I navigate this asymmetric stretch of April, my sleep schedule naturally follows suit. Not only is my body clock thrown off by the ever-changing work hours, but the lack of any real pattern saps more of my energy than usual. I’m tired and want to sleep MORE, but that’s not always possible. As daunting and unnatural as the graveyard shift can seem, it would be eaiser to do nothing BUT third shift so my body could adapt. Alas, my career path has never followed a “normal” path…why start now??

A stretch like this is not uncommon for me. My CBS Sports Radio contract calls for me to plug holes on various shows in multiple time slots. Listeners attempt to crack the code and keep up, and I do my best to keep people informed on Facebook and Twitter. But that leads to the inevitable question. Over the last 15 months, I’ve fielded the same one a million times: “When do you sleep?” or a slight variation “Do you ever sleep?” My favorite thing is when it’s followed by a big fat “LOL!” Apparently, there’s something funny about the idea of me staying awake forever. I’ve heard and seen it so many times, it’s turned into a pet peeve. At first, I tried responding with clever phrases: “My superpowers render sleep unnecessary” or “I’m not allowed to sleep when I’m working.” But my wittiness dried up after awhile. Now I realize it’s best to step away from social media when the question irks me. Better not to fire off sarcastic replies when I’m annoyed.

Of course, I sleep; and of course, I need sleep just like everyone else. In fact, I believe sleep is underrated. A good night’s sleep boosts our mood, cognitive function, energy levels, and immune systems. We FEEL better inside and out when well-rested. Only a handful of times in my career has anyone asked me what I consider the more pertinent question: “How do you survive your crazy work schedule?” That’s my inspiration for this post: to share tricks I’ve learned to endure odd or random work hours. Try them at your own risk. Ha!

  • Figure out how to NAP! It’s an acquired skill to be certain. My best friend recently told me she’s jealous of how I can nap whenever I want, though she quickly added it probably helps that I’m always tired. Funny. Would you believe I plan my naps?? I carve out time in the afternoons or early evenings (based on my schedule) so I can rest. It’s never less than an hour, usually 90 minutes or more. I consider my naps to be important engagements, part of my show prep, and I make them a priority.
  • Regulate the caffeine. It’s tempting to guzzle extra caffeine when changing work hours and odd sleep patterns throw your body clock out of whack. But at some point, too much coffee can have adverse effects like anxiety, rapid heart rate, and insomnia (which I don’t need). So I wait as long as I can for my next caffeine boost to maximize the effect and limit my intake. On those once-a-year occasions when I catch a cold and don’t drink coffee for several days, it takes me a while to kick the headaches. I’ll admit to a slight addiction that I don’t want to get any worse! I also stay away from caffeine when I’m within three hours of my scheduled nap.
  • Stick to a mini-routine. Not a complicated or convoluted routine, but enough of a routine to maintain some order in the midst of chaos. For me, it’s a check list of simple chores and tasks that, when accomplished, always give me a sense of peace. If my bed is made, my dishes are washed, my pets are cared for and content, my lunch/dinner is packed for work, and my bills are paid, I can leave the house without fretting that I’ve lost control of my personal life. Having weekly priorities helps, too. Making time to do a load of laundry (even if I don’t have time to fold it) or run to the grocery store for healthy food can change my whole perspective during a crazy week.
  • Exercise anyway. This is my toughest challenge. It’s an area where I’ve cut corners in the last 15 months, but I’m determined to reincorporate regular workouts into my life. As a college basketball player and all-around active human, I could list all the benefits of exercise including higher energy levels. But so often when I’m tired, I opt for a nap instead of an hour at the gym. As a pep talk, I remind myself how much better I feel physically and mentally when I get my heart rate up or take a yoga class or lift a few weights in front of the TV. Of course, exercise can also regulate sleep which should be motivation enough! I have to do it even when I don’t feel like it.
  • Get rid of the dog. JUST KIDDING, Penny! Yes, sometimes I wish I could sleep an extra two hours per day instead of traipsing around the neighborhood. I thought about being dog-free a ton this winter with temps routinely in the single digits or lower! But Penny forces me to get moving. If nothing else, I walk at least three miles a day up and down the hills behind my house. The fresh air shakes out the cobwebs. Plus, no matter how much I’m dragging when I walk in the door after work, my puppy’s enthusiastic welcome home never fails to pick me up.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. I’m a perfectionist and a little anal-retentive. Messy doesn’t suit me. But I’ve learned not to beat myself up when the papers form piles on my desk or the dirty clothes threaten to overwhelm the clean or the bathroom mirror isn’t spotless or the vacuum cleaner sits idle an extra few days. If I can only manage my mini-routine while jumping from overnight to daytime hours and my wagon is sagging, that’s enough. Tomorrow is another day; the chores will still be there. My family gave me a plaque for Christmas that reads “The house was clean yesterday. Sorry you missed it.” They know me well. Instead of stressing over what I didn’t get done, I see my sign and laugh. Ha!
  • Love what you do. I could never navigate these strange hours or push through the fatigue if I didn’t have a passion for sports radio. I’m thankful for a job that I look forward to every day. It stretches and challenges me, keeps me engaged, and employs my unique skill set. God created me to excel in this career, so every show is another chance to fly. Because I love my work, all the sacrifices and struggles are worth it. Above all else, it’s LOVE that keeps me going and helps me survive.

The Concept of Courage

Posted in Uncategorized on March 1, 2014 by amylawrencepxp

The word “courage” means different things to different people. In fact, the word conjures up dozens of different images in my own mind: a fireman who runs into a burning building while everyone else tries to escape; a teacher who shields her terrified students with a gunman on the loose inside her school; a whistle-blower; a missionary in hostile territory; a football player who stands up for himself when he’s bullied by teammates; a woman who faces her attacker in court after she’s been assaulted. Courage can take many forms; but at its very core, courage requires character and strength. Courage is NOT the absence of fear, but the choice to move ahead DESPITE our fear.

I recently watched the movie Lone Survivor about a failed Navy SEAL operation in Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of 19 members of our military. It would have been amazing and thought-provoking if it was solely a movie. The fact that Marcus Lutrell actually lived through the experience, the fact that it’s TRUE, makes the story even more powerful and gut-wrenching. After reading the book and seeing it depicted on screen, my heart remains heavy for the heroes we’ve lost as a nation. But I’m proud of the men and women who serve, and I’m eternally grateful for their sacrifices. The ultimate act of courage is putting your own life on the line to save someone else, the willingness to trade your life for another’s. The majority of us will never be required to make that choice, so wrapping my mind around that type of courage is hard to do.

Closer to home, I see other examples of courage just as inspiring. One of my mom’s best friends just lost her husband six months after he was diagnosed with cancer. He bravely faced treatment and a complicated surgery despite very slim odds in his favor. Now that he’s gone to heaven, his wife carries on – teaching English, taking care of her two daughters, putting one foot in front of the other even when the grief is debilitating. One of my best friends in the world is starting over after her husband cheated on her and decided he doesn’t want to be married to her anymore. The pain, humiliation, and fear of the unknown threaten to overwhelm her. She feels like she’s drowning even as she struggles to answer the question of “Why me?” She doesn’t deserve a story like this, not when she’s devoted her whole life to him and their family. No one would blame her if she freaked out or checked out for awhile, but she’s doing the exact opposite. She faces every day with grace and dignity, even when it hurts like hell. Her courage gets her out of bed every morning; her courage compels her to care for her two little boys, to be their anchor even as their world is torn apart.

My story has always kept me off the beaten path. Ten years ago, if you outlined the mountains I’d have to climb and conquer along this journey, I never would have believed you. And I might’ve been paralyzed by fear. Choosing to pursue our dreams is never easy, especially when the pursuit comes with a cost. But anything worth having is worth sacrificing for. Courage is never blind; it can see very clearly what lies ahead. I knew my 2013 would be a lonely path. Leaving behind my house, my church, my friends, and my routine to move to a brand new place and start all over again was anything but easy. More times than I care to admit I nearly succumbed to the fear and convinced myself I couldn’t do it. The loneliness was palpable at times; the tears real. I wish I could say I never second-guessed my decisions, but that wouldn’t be true. More than once, I wondered if I would’ve been better off staying where I was, without the added risks and sacrifices. Thankfully, my faith in God plus the support and prayers of family and friends gave me just enough courage to keep moving forward, no matter how scary or overwhelming the road.

There is a school of thought that teaches fear as weakness, but I disagree wholeheartedly. Fear is a very real part of life, whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Courage is staring your fears in the face and refusing to allow them to get the best of you. Courage is fighting back; courage is doing what needs to be done. Courage is never giving up, no matter how you feel. The concept of courage is different for everyone, but the choice to be strong and courageous is not singular or unique. Each of us faces that choice over and over…and every time we choose courage, we grow a little bit stronger.

Fan to the Core

Posted in Uncategorized on January 29, 2014 by amylawrencepxp

For the first time in 15 years, my favorite football team is playing in the Super Bowl. For the first time in my career, I’ll be on the radio hosting a post game show right after my team plays in the Super Bowl. People ask me how I do it – how I block out all the emotions that come along with being a fan in order to do my job. They want to know how I go from crazed fanatic to calm professional. And make no mistake about it, “crazed” describes me perfectly when it comes to the Denver Broncos. I fell in love with this team at age 13 when I saw John Elway lead them to an exciting fourth quarter comeback. That was before I knew anything about football and way before I knew what career path I would take. The love affair survived three Super Bowl losses, including a pair of devastating defeats (42-10 to the Redskins and 55-10 to the Niners) that broke my young heart. That was the lowest of the lows, but the highest of highs came in the late 90s as the Broncos won back to back titles to send Elway out in style. I still watch games the same way I did as a kid: standing up and then sitting down, pacing, talking to the TV, making sarcastic comments, pumping my fist, battling the pit in my stomach. The only thing that’s different now is I yell a lot less to preserve my voice…oh, and I also tweet while I’m watching. Haha!

I know some people expect me to have zero rooting interest and stay neutral no matter what game, sport or team I’m following. In fact, being a fan makes me BETTER at my job. Not only can I relate and empathize with sports radio listeners, but I bring to my shows the same passion, fire, and enthusiasm I feel for my teams. Being a fan is not the same as being biased. Being a fan doesn’t mean I’m not objective or can’t criticize my favorites. I’d say the opposite is more often the case…I’m harder on my teams than other people might be. All season long, I’ve been saying the Broncos’ defense isn’t good enough to win a Super Bowl and pointing to their beat up secondary as among the worst in the league. After the AFC Championship, I finally had to admit I underestimated Denver on that side of the ball. Fellow Broncos devotees accuse me of being a terrible fan or get mad at me when I point out their flaws and mistakes. Some listeners who don’t know my rooting background have no idea I cheer for Denver. I take that as a compliment. It means I’m doing my job the right way, but it was a skill that took some time to master. I can best describe it as a switch that flips in my brain…a switch that turns off the irrational, illogical crazed emotions of a fan and turns on the analytical, cognitive approach of a broadcaster. It may sound impossible; but I like to tell people that in addition to my Master’s degree in TV & Radio, I also have a bachelor’s degree in Accounting. Two opposite sides of the same brain. When I work during major sporting events that involve my teams (in the past, the World Series, NBA Finals and March Madness), the rooting interest bears no part. My credibility is on the line when I’m on the radio, and the drive to do my job to the best of my ability takes over.

What a strange convergence in my brain this year: my first time working Super Week and my favorite team will compete for the championship. I’m thrilled for new opportunities like spending time on Radio Row, networking with members of the media and football communities, and attending some of the annual events. I’ve been asked to emcee the Women’s Super Bowl Tailgate Party to benefit the American Cancer Society. If you’re in town, I hope you’ll join us! www.femalesfootballphilanthropy.org In addition, an NFL agent friend invited me to the EA Sports Madden Bowl which will also be a first. Of course, the best part of the week is hosting After Hours Friday and Saturday nights (11p-3a PT) and the CBS Sports Radio post game show on Sunday right after the winner is crowned. I can’t imagine a better Super Bowl party than that!

I remain a fan to the core, and as always, I bleed Denver Broncos orange. Because I’ve been a fan all these years, I know what a privilege it is to talk about sports for a living. There may be two sides to my brain, but only one heart…one excited, nervous, enthusiastic, grateful heart.

In With the New!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 4, 2014 by amylawrencepxp

“Out with the old; in with the new.” That popular phrase encapsulates all of 2013 for me. From start to finish, the last 12 months were about transitition and growth in absolutely every area of my life. Everything new…from the personal to the professional, from my geography to my weekly schedule. New job, new challenge, new routine, new address, new church, new friends, new start! It’s a good thing I didn’t realize all that was in store or I would have been overwhelmed. God knows exactly how much of His plan to reveal: enough that I can see His hand at work, but not so much that I’m rendered immobile by what looms on the horizon. I’ll admit much of 2013 swept by in a blur. At times, it was all I could do to hang on for dear life.

The word that comes to mind when I think back on the last year? MOVING! I spent most of 2013 physically moving my belongings from my house in the woods to an apartment on the side of someone else’s house. The moving happened in spurts, and even after the transfer from Connecticut to New Jersey was completed in July, there seemed no end to the consolidating and organizing. In fact, that process isn’t quite over. Turns out it’s not all that easy to cram into a space half the size. But at least 99% of what I own is now in the same county. Ha!

While I moved to a new address in 2013, I also moved into a new creative phase of my career. CBS Sports Radio gives me the freedom to spread my wings on the air. When hosting talk shows, I get to share my unique opinions on the topics I choose in my own unconventional way. I moved into a realm of new possibilities where I can develop my style and delivery by trial and error. I’ll be the first to admit my ideas don’t always work, but knowing I have the freedom to try gives me confidence to take risks. After Hours with Amy Lawrence has definitely morphed and changed a ton since we launched the show last January 4th. It’s a wild ride that never stops moving!

So often in 2013, I had to force myself to get moving. While my dog Penny and the commute into New York City keep me on the go, my exercise routine was thrown off-kilter more than I’d like to admit. When fatigue and stress threaten, I’ve always found that exercise is a great way to combat both. Training for the “Race for the Cure” in Central Park in September motivated me to get moving on those days when I felt lethargic; but in the next 12 months, I need to double my efforts on the exercise front. Move it!! Haha. Socially, I had to make the decision to move out of my comfort zone. Starting a new job feels like the first day of school. I spent a good portion of last year getting to know the people at CBS, understanding how they operate, and finding common ground. And it was no different personally. I may have introduced myself to more people in 2013 than any other year of my life. Moving out of my comfort zone, for sure!

Ever go through a phase of your life that pushes, pulls and stretches you and requires all you have to give? That was 2013 for me! Starting over is an understatement; and this time last year, I wasn’t sure I could do it. But we all face crossroads in our lives where the unknown lies in front of us; and no matter how scary or daunting it seems, we recognize there’s no going back. And so we move forward…some days quickly and confidently; other days, slowly and more timidly. Some days, we cover miles; other days, only a few feet. I love how the start of a new year gives a chance to look back, even briefly, to see how far we come.

It’s amazing the distance covered in my 2013 journey: personally, professionally, physically, emotionally, socially, financially, and spiritually. My goal for 2014? Keep moving! Maybe the changes are more internal than external this year; more subtle than overt. Let’s hope they have nothing to do with geography and physical location, though. I could do without that kind of moving for awhile. Ha! But I do want to look back a year from now and know I didn’t stay the same.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” Isaiah 43:18-19

Happy New Year!

Thanksgiving: Easier Said Than Done

Posted in Uncategorized on December 1, 2013 by amylawrencepxp

It’s the time of year when we pause to count our blessings and reflect on all the reasons we have to smile. Families, friends, jobs, churches, homes, cars, and other comforts. We’re grateful when our bills are paid, someone makes us laugh out loud, the sun is shining, we receive a nice compliment, or the table is piled high with a turkey and all the trimmings. YUM!! Being thankful on a good day is easy. It’s natural to stay thankful when things are falling into place the way we want and the way we plan. The real challenge comes when nothing’s going our way…or we’re forced to wait longer than we like for our prayers to be answered. That’s where I find myself this holiday season.

Yes, I’m blessed by an amazing family; wonderful, generous friends; three hysterical pets; two jobs that stretch and challenge me; a supportive agent and boss; money to pay the bills; a reliable car; opportunities to travel; perfect health; a great new church; my salvation; and a God who loves me more than I can comprehend. For all of those things, I give thanks on a regular basis. But I’d be lying if I said they aren’t often overshadowed by a dull pain in my heart and a longing that never goes away. I’ve been praying, waiting, hoping, and believing for a husband and family for more than a decade. It’s the deepest desire of my heart, the most important thing to me for my future. The older I get, the more difficult it becomes to wait and the more I feel as though I’m trudging this path alone. I only have a few girlfriends who remain single, and they’re nearly all ten years younger than me. Most friends are married and having or raising awesome kiddos. All my eligible family members are married with children now. Even at church, I stick out like a sore thumb. The majority of people within the Christian community marry young, so in a group of hundreds of other people sharing a common faith, I can still feel brutally alone. Friends suggest I try not to think about it so much, but that’s impossible. This longing to share life with a husband, partner, co-pilot, and father to my kids never leaves me. I don’t know why it hasn’t happened for me yet, but I have zero designs on giving up. I WILL keep waiting until it works out. Until then, my daily challenge is to stay thankful and focus on the gifts and blessings I DO have.

A couple years ago, I started a list of reasons why I’m glad to still be single. When I’m really struggling, I force myself to say them out loud. Many times, it’s through tears. But it reminds me the time is not wasted. Topping the list is my relationship with my nieces. I can’t imagine loving two girls more than I love them. I’m so thankful I’ve had the time to get to know them, to go to DC to hang out with them, to attend their basketball games and concerts and plays, to take them on special adventures, to cook with them, and to enjoy downtime by watching movies or playing games. If I had my own kids already, I wouldn’t be able to drop everything for a visit just because I miss them. I cherish those relationships; so no matter how hard it is to be single, I wouldn’t trade one second from the time I’ve spent with them. The same goes for my other family and friends. As they face obstacles and challenges in their own lives, I’m grateful for the chance to support and encourage them, pray for them, stay in contact, and even travel to see them. It’s also a blessing when they want me involved with their children. I’ve learned so much about parenting by observing and helping out. No doubt those lessons will serve me well in the future. Plus, they want me around because I’m constantly entertaining them with my dating horror stories. Ha!

On a professional note, while plenty of people in my industry balance marriage and families with demanding jobs (I will too), I wouldn’t be where I am in my career if I’d gotten married before now. My path as a woman in sports radio has required nearly all of me. I’ve given it everything I have for more than 15 years: body, mind, heart, soul, and spirit. I would still be successful if I already had a family, but I wouldn’t be where I am now. My priorities would have been different all this time, and my efforts wouldn’t have been concentrated on my broadcasting goals. You probably wouldn’t be reading this blog either.

Lastly, I’m thankful for the ways my singleness has changed me as a person. I barely recognize the girl I was 15 years ago. I was extremely insecure with a propensity for making poor choices about the men I allowed into my life. I’m so grateful for what I’ve learned and accepted about myself and how aware I am of my strengths and weaknesses. I know what I bring to the table in a relationship, and I know what I’m looking for in a husband and home. I’m finally comfortable in my own skin, and I like who I am. That perspective is invaluable in any relationship. I’ve also developed more patience than I thought possible. I don’t always wait with grace, but I hang on and refuse to give up. That tenacity serves me well in every other area of my life. This period of waiting (and waiting and waiting and waiting) has prepared me to be the wife and mom that I want to be.

I believe everything happens for a reason. No day or challenge or pain needs to be wasted. These years of being single were never what I planned or how I envisioned my life unfolding. In the bleakest moments when it feels like all hope is lost, finding reasons to be thankful is what chases the darkness.

MY Sandbox

Posted in Uncategorized on November 15, 2013 by amylawrencepxp

Over the last week, many friends, listeners and co-workers have asked my opinion about the recent sexist rant of a San Francisco sports talk show host. As Damon Bruce of KNBR (a CBS Sports Radio affiliate) was sharing his opinions of  the coverage of Jonathan Martin’s harassment complaint against the Dolphins, he included the following choice nugget: “A lot of sports has lost its way…part of the reason is because we’ve got women giving us directions. I’m willing to share my sandbox as long as you remember, you’re in my box.”

Bruce, who hosted a Saturday baseball show on my network during the spring and summer months, goes on to say:  “I enjoy many of the women’s contributions to sports…well, that’s a lie. I can’t even pretend that’s true. There are very few…a small handful of women who are any good at this at all. That’s the truth. The amount of women talking in sports to the amount of women who have something to say is one of the most disproportionate ratios I’ve ever seen in my freakin’ life. But here’s a message for all of them … All of this, all of this world of sports, especially the sport of football, has a setting. It’s set to men… It’s a man’s world.”

I believe the point he tried to make somewhere in his rant is that a feminine attitude and approach to bullying in a pro locker room is misguided. He was trying to say an emotional response to the pro football culture comes from people who can’t possibly understand what happens in the locker room; and he equated that emotional (and in his opinion, soft) response with women.  He obviously veered off topic and failed to deliver his point effectively. And once Bruce ripped women in sports media, his perspective was lost in the uproar.

My tweeted response after initially hearing the rant:  “@ALawRadio Most men couldn’t handle the road I’ve traveled @DamonBruce Any time you want to tell me why you’re so much tougher than me, call my show.”

Damon sent me multiple private messages within moments of my tweet. He apologized profusely, told me he respects my work and career tremendously, and said he never intended to disparage women in our business. He also admitted he should’ve left gender out of his rant altogether. Of course, that’s not what he did and definitely not what he said. While I believe the subsequent death threats and his suspension from KNBR are way over the top, Bruce owns the words he uses on the air, just as I do when I screw up on my radio show.

My initial reaction to Bruce’s comments was indignance. To climb to the highest rungs on the sports broadcasting ladder, women have no choice but to be tough and thick-skinned and resilient. I can only share my experience, but I empathize with Martin who says he’s been bullied and harassed since he joined the Dolphins. Early in my career, I was verbally and sexually harassed. I was ostracized and mocked, and I never fit in. I was warned about a “locker room atmosphere” and told to get used to it. It’s never been a real comfortable environment for me, not since the beginning. In sports radio, at least 90% of the producers and talent are male. I don’t look like everyone else, talk like everyone else, think like everyone else, or act like everyone else. I’ve never been part of the fraternity, and nothing’s been handed to me. I don’t get jobs based on how I look since it doesn’t matter on the radio. And I run into a double standard everywhere I turn. My male counterparts can make mistakes or get their facts wrong, and most often, they’re given the benefit of the doubt. When I mess up, people call me all manner of nasty names on social media and yell about how I shouldn’t have a job. Every time I host a show, I receive tweets about how women shouldn’t be allowed to talk football since they never played. I once responded by telling a hater that John Clayton (one of the most respected NFL insiders on the planet) never played pro football either. The listener replied, “He played in high school.” Right…because high school football is EXACTLY like the NFL! The discrimination against women in sports media is inherent. It comes with the territory…which means I had to sink or swim. Let it get to me or use it to make me tougher. So when I hear guys like Damon Bruce claim that women don’t have anything to say and don’t belong in the man’s world of sports, I can feel my heart rate go up. What does he know about harassment and surviving it? What does he know about feeling the pressure that comes with so many people rooting for you to fail? What does he know about banging your head on a glass ceiling until you find a way to crack it?

My secondary reaction to Bruce’s rant was to grin because I know the truth. Every doubter, every piece of hate mail, every vulgar name, every listener or male colleague who treats me like I don’t belong…it all serves as motivation. They tell me I’m not good enough and can’t do the job, and I respond by working harder so I can prove them wrong. I cried the first time I read a nasty message from a listener and the first time I came across an internet chat room ripping me to pieces. These days, I laugh. Without the resistance, obstacles, and discrimination, I wouldn’t be nearly as good at my job. I wouldn’t know the value of being unique and staying true to who I am. I wouldn’t be as comfortable in my own skin or know how to stand my ground when I defend unpopular opinions on the air. I wouldn’t know how to choose my battles nor would I appreciate the beauty of the breakthrough. I wouldn’t understand what it means to hang onto my faith and God’s promises for dear life in those darkest moments when it feels like all hope is lost. For those reasons and more, I wouldn’t trade any part of my journey or one painful experience for the easy road.

Thank you, Mr. Bruce. You’ve splashed fuel on the fire. Who cares if you want me in the sandbox? I’ve earned my piece of real estate, and I’m here to stay. Women in sports media are here to stay, like it or not.

Race for the Cure

Posted in Uncategorized on September 12, 2013 by amylawrencepxp

RaceNYC
It’s been a few days, but I’m still pretty jazzed up following my first ever Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to boost awareness and raise money for breast cancer research. This race just happened to be in Central Park in New York City with 15,000 of my closest friends. I’ll admit I was slightly intimidated about getting into Manhattan and finding my way among so many people, but I was buoyed by your overwhelming support via Facebook, Twitter, email, and text. Family and friends and radio listeners took time to offer encouragement, donate to my campaign, or share their own stories of triumph and loss.

As I got close to Central Park last Sunday morning, I could feel the surge of energy and excitement as so many converged on the same space. Bands and sound systems blared music; cheerleaders waved their poms; TV cameras captured the excitement; and dozens of shades of PINK threatened to take over the Upper West Side. When I picked up my runner’s tag, I wrote the names of the people for whom I was specifically running: Grandma Mary, Barbara, Gary, Scott, and Porter. Three of them are currently battling cancer; the other two have passed away. The race is the LEAST I can do to be part of this critical fight against a disease that touches so many. Statistics indicate one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. An estimated 40,000 Americans (women and men) will die from this particular form of cancer in 2013. The money generated through Komen Race for the Cure funds breast health exams, mammograms for the uninsured, and education programs to raise awareness. Last year, the donations in NYC alone provided support and assistance for more than 175,000 people! Wow!

Once I pushed my way through the mob of people to reach the start line and began to run, I had plenty to look at > the bright blue sky and sunshine filtering through the trees in Central Park; local residents and volunteers planted along the race route who cheered on the glut of particpants; the various teams banded together by matching t-shirts or tutus or huge pink foam whale hats. The images that will stick with me forever are the neon pink signs on the backs of the runners. Lots of them printed “Mom” and included pictures of their loved ones. There was a teeny little girl with a long blonde ponytail keeping up with the adults. Her sign read “Mommy” and alongside, her mother ran with a sign that read “Myself.” That one nearly brought me to tears. A group of racers in wheelchairs navigated the Park together, and a fireman ran in the heat and humidity in full FDNY gear.

RaceRun

After five years working on the ESPN Radio V-Foundation Auction to raise money for cancer research, I really missed being part of that amazing event in 2013. I missed the teamwork element of joining a group of people who pour their hearts, souls, time, and creativity into a cause that means so much to them. So there was no way I wasn’t signing up for the Komen Race for the Cure when CBS fielded a team. I figured it would be an emotional experience, but I wasn’t prepared to be overwhelmed. There was definitely teamwork as well as camaraderie and compassion and unmistakeable determination…not only to finish the race but to spread light and hope in the midst of what can be dark shadows cast by this disease. I was inspired, encouraged, lifted up, and then carried along those 3.1 miles on Sunday morning. Can’t wait for the next opportunity to run breast cancer out of town!

One final HUGE thanks to those of you who reached out with your kind words, your own stories, and your support. Using the analogy that life is one big long race, I’m grateful for all of my fellow runners. Amy XO

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