Mon. Aug 20th, 2018

New Year’s Solutions

While watching the College Football Playoff semifinal games on Monday, I noticed the new commercials from Allstate. Mayhem — the guy who represents your blind spot, lucky team flag, and a hot babe out jogging — has made a New Year’s resolution: no more mayhem. That’s right, instead of causing accidents, Mayhem intends to prevent them.

You might roll your eyes and think that resolutions are cliché. They are, but there is never a wrong time to consider ways to improve. I didn’t know when setting goals became a bad thing either. If Mayhem of all people/things can make a New Year’s resolution, it’s smart to consider how you can make improvements in 2018 also.

Outside of working out more and eating faster — yes, I’m easily the slowest eater on the planet — here are three things I need to improve upon in sports talk radio:

Utilizing Anger

Although it sounds odd, this is an actual resolution of mine. I’m not exactly giddy when someone else gets an opportunity that I’m seeking. I’m not envious. I just want to know when it’ll be my turn. Sports talk hosts are like NASCAR teammates — we’re sort of happy when a teammate wins, but when it comes right down to it, WE want to win the race. I want that fill-in shift. I want that full-time opportunity. I can’t help getting angry or frustrated when I’m bypassed. What I can control is how I utilize that anger and frustration. It’s like the song “Freedom” from Rage Against The Machine. Zack de la Rocha says “anger is a gift.” It absolutely is if you apply it the right way.

When someone else gets an opportunity instead of myself, I can try to channel my inner Ned Flanders by saying, “Gee willikers, that’s awesome,” but that’s just not me. You can call it a flaw of mine if you’d like. Even so, I believe that flaws can actually be assets if applied correctly. It’s all about how that inner fire is utilized.

I can attack the shifts that I do have more fiercely. Maybe adding a podcast is a good way to go. I’ll continue to build relationships while battling to get my name out there even more. Instead of looking at what I don’t have, I need to look at the additional things I should be doing that might explain why I’m not where I want to be yet. Being unsatisfied doesn’t mean I’m ungrateful. It just means that I have goals that are currently unchecked. Instead of being that bitter ex-athlete that only complains about not making it because of someone else, I’m going to use my anger to fuel the hunt for a big break.

Don’t Get Sucked In

The reaction of listeners can easily turn into a cesspool of negativity. Freddie Coleman once told me about seeing comments directed at a female sports host that were revolting. I was accused on Tuesday of giving a listener terminal ear cancer while filling in around the holidays. Sadly, it just comes with the territory.

Now, occasionally a Twitter egg will write something that makes me wish that their exact whereabouts were included. Not for any crazy reason — just in case they needed me to demonstrate the Figure-Four Leglock while transitioning smoothly to the Five-Point-Palm Exploding-Heart Technique.

My friend and former co-worker, Bruce Jacobs, was totally fine with negative responses. I honestly believe Bruce actually enjoyed them. I’ll never quite have the same reaction, but Bruce once told me something that made a lot of sense. He said that he’d rather have a listener call him every name in the book instead of being unfamiliar with his show. I agree. If it’s between those two options, I’d rather have someone call me a moron than have zero idea of who I am or what I do. If you look at it that way, criticism is a lot easier to shrug off.

Organizing Better

I spend a lot of time developing my angles and topics, but leave a small amount of time to organize a layout of those topics. General show organization is something that I got worse at last year if I’m being honest with myself. But that was then, baby! This is a new 2018 day and age!

My Uncle Jerry is a car guy. He’s had some beautiful muscle cars over the years that he worked hard to restore. He used to display his cool rides at car shows. It wouldn’t make much sense if he spent all of his time buying cleaning products (Armor All, tire shine, wax, Windex) without leaving enough time to actually clean the car. Imagine if he left just enough time to clean half of the car, then had to clean the rest while the car show was already underway. It’s the same concept with organizing show topics.

It isn’t good enough to only focus on developing topics. You need to organize a loose roadmap of the show at the very least. It’s better to react to breaking news before your pre-planned thoughts on Bret Bielema sounding exactly like Dr. Pepper’s Larry Culpepper on ESPN’s MegaCast playoff coverage. You’ll tweak and adjust the show layout, but you need a loose layout to begin with. The general flow is better and you’ll likely avoid running out of time to discuss the topics you worked hard to develop.

It cracks me up when people oppose New Year’s resolutions. Do they also oppose goals? If you hate resolutions yet support goals, think of New Year’s resolutions as goals that just so happen to coincide with early January. Sheesh, whatever works, right? There is never a bad time to look critically at yourself. Finding solutions to fine-tune your value at work is very important. Simply ask yourself, what can you do a better job of this year?

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