A Column By Vince Agnew, Player Engagement Insider
Success is a word defined by billions of unique visuals that change shape and direction fluidly throughout a lifetime.
When I signed up for last year’s NFL Sports Media Boot Camp, excitement and nerves took over a lion’s share of my thoughts. After seeing the A-list of guest speakers and company representatives that would share the mentoring and critiquing of the current and former players’ work, I hadn’t considered that exactly a year later, I’d be considered one of their peers.
Although I received my degree in journalism from Central Michigan University, it felt so far removed with professional football occupying a majority of my time and energy for the previous five years.
What assignments would they give us? How long do the papers have to be? Am I supposed to wear a suit and tie? Hopefully I don’t mispronounce a name or stutter in the radio segment.
My perspective shifted while listening to the next crop of future journalists and broadcasters ask the same questions, and I remembered a quote from a great mentor, guest speaker and friend Gerry Matalon.
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”
As long as the players came armed with an open mind and willingness to learn, the answers to all of their questions would flow freely from the cast of speakers and Bowling Green State University faculty.
Just a few days after participating in the camp as an attendee last year, I received an opportunity from guest speaker, Ryan Fowler. The writer from FoxSports.com asked if there would be interest in joining his colleague for a fantasy football podcast.
Who, me? Sure. Why not?
With almost eerie timing, the NFL’s Player Engagement department requested a story detailing my transition from football into journalism on the same day—a request that ended with a job offer to become a contracted journalist for the department.
I can’t explain the privilege it has been to spend the last 12 months interviewing the men who make the NFL what it is, and share the stories of Pro Bowlers like Joe Thomas, Hall-of-Famers Aeneas Williams and Mike Haynes, and Emmy Award winning CBS sportscaster James Brown.
Not a half-bad gig.
Probably most important, I have the ability to teach my two little boys, who spent their early years traveling all over to watch me play football, that they can hop on airplanes to cool cities and it doesn’t have to be because of a physical ability, but because of a mental one.
My wife mostly enjoys the flexibility it gives so that I can spend more time at home and take over her least favorite task—folding laundry.
With the job comes immense responsibility to fairly represent the professional athletes who use their platforms to make lasting impacts in communities across the country. I aspire to inspire by sharing their voices.
Each new experience is a blessing that adds to my version of success, and for that, I am forever grateful.