For the first time in 4 years, I didn’t use my summer for an overseas missions trip. After a pair of soccer projects for kids in Ambato, Ecuador, and then a trek to Mozambique last September, it was time for a break. And somewhere in my brain, I concluded this summer would be calmer. Boy, was I wrong. I crammed more cities, states, road trips and plane flights into a four-month period than I ever thought possible. My family marked several events in a big way, including my Grandmother’s 90th birthday. Most of my dad’s side gathered in the middle of farm country, Wisconsin, three hours from the closest airport, to celebrate her amazing milestone. I’ll never forget how beautiful she looked or how she smiled when she realized more than 100 people showed up to be part of her special occasion. Even though it was a quick trip, I relished the hours with my Gram, uncles, aunts, and brother. We even introduced Grammy to Face Time on the iPad. Ha!
My travels also featured a family first: vacation together in the Outer Banks. What a week! It was an awesome experience, camping near Cape Hatteras, but it was definitely NOT relaxing. My brother’s family is used to getting up early, so there were texts every morning before 7am to make coffee runs! Throw in 27 hours of driving to and from North Carolina with a dog, and sleep wasn’t a big part of the equation. But we made up for it with days full of sunshine, sand, waves, frisbee, walks, cookouts, games, shopping, exploring, and 248 steps to the top of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The best day was the one we spent playing with paddleboards and jet skis (my brother used his to knock me off my paddleboard). And it was a dream-come-true when I got to parasail with my nieces. I’ll never forget soaring a thousand feet up and behind the boat with two of my favorite people in the world!!
Those experiences were the most prominent but only the tip of the iceberg. A house-warming party in Maine, a drive to New Hampshire to introduce Penny to more family, a jaunt to Fenway Park with V-Foundation auction winners, a 10-day visit from Mom and Gemmy, a surprise picnic/hike along the Appalachian Trail for my sister-in-law’s birthday, and a flight back to Oklahoma to see some of my best friends for the first time in 5 years. I finally got to meet the daughter of one of my closest friends, and she’s only the most precocious and personable 18-month-old ever! Totally worth all those frequent flier miles.
In the midst of all the traveling, I set out to accomplish a professional goal: hire an agent for the first time in my career. A daunting task with so many factors to consider, but despite feeling overwhelmed, I launched myself into the process. After 15 years of basketball play-by-play & analysis for various high schools and colleges, it was time to take a drastic step toward making my NBA dreams come true. An agent has more connections and access to more information than I do on my own. An agent can promote and negotiate and guage the market in ways that I can’t. Initially, I wanted to find an agent who believes in me and my abilities, but I also needed to find one who can map out strategies for landing a female play-by-play announcer in the NBA. I was searching for an agency large enough to have an established reputation but small enough that I wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle. In addition, I had to consider potential conflicts of interest with other clients.
After hours of research and phone calls, I narrowed down my search to a pair of agents on the East Coast. How to know which was the right fit? Face-to-face visits was the only way, so off to New York and Atlanta I went. The process spanned most of the summer, but just before Labor Day, I found the perfect one for me. I’m blessed to have an agent who doesn’t blink at the challenge of breaking ground, who possesses both short-term and long-term vision, and who shares my enthusiasm for the road ahead. Not only am I getting used to saying “my agent” in work conversations, but I’m also adjusting to the idea of sharing this journey with a team. For so long, it’s been just me navigating this career.
Crazy summer that it was, I’m so thankful for precious time with family and friends as well as a rejuvenated energy and purpose for the days and weeks to come. P.S. Dixie is thankful for a break now that summer’s over. She’s up to nearly 273,000 miles now!!