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Thursday, September 5, 2013

My Reality Check - I'm not Joe Smith

The past two weeks have been frustrating, to say the least... And, frankly, I needed a "Reality Check" to get myself back on track. Thanks to Cleveland Indian Joe Smith and the Browns 53-man roster cuts, I got two such "Reality Checks." And today, I'm feeling pretty good about things.

I've been writing this blog for a few years now. It started as an outlet for my creative juices and I wrote about my family and life in general. It quickly morphed into a Sports Blog about my Cleveland Teams. As someone who loves all things Cleveland-Sporty, I needed this outlet. I've been calling radio shows to talk sports since 1994 but that wasn't enough. I also discovered Twitter and, in a way, Twitter discovered me. I've got more followers than a simple sports chick should have and some faithful readers of my ramblings. I was starting to think maybe I could find a way to make a career out of my love of sports.

I've also had the opportunity to do an internet radio show. It's been 2 years since I started and I'm addicted. It began with a show every Saturday morning and has moved to Wednesday nights once or twice a month, but it feeds my need to talk. Those of you who know me must admit I'm quite the talker. But it's given me experience doing a ton of things that terrestrial radio hosts do and I wouldn't have had the opportunity to learn this type of a "craft" without the internet.

A couple months ago, I was approached to write an article or two for www.nflfemale.com about the Browns and how I became a fan. They loved my stuff and asked me to be the Official Fan Reporter covering the Browns this season.  Whoa! Someone who doesn't know me thinks I'm good, worthy of being an actual reporter... thinks people will want to read what I have to say.  Mind. Blown.  Of course I said YES and it's been really great.  I've "met" about 35 ladies via twitter that are hardcore football fans and rep their teams the way I rep my Browns. It's been amazing to find a group of women who really get my love of football and yes, guys, we are out there!

So I figured everything would be easy now as far as being "accepted" in a guys world. I sent a letter off to the Browns requesting Media Status - access to players for interview, info packets, field passes, the works. They're still deciding if I qualify as "media" or until they've had a chance to see me "at work, covering practices and games, etc."  Not sure I can do an adequate job of covering them without a certain amount of access, but I get it. I'm patient. No problem.

Then, last week, I had a player interview scheduled that was postponed. And rescheduled. Twice. Now, being a girl, I tried not to take that personally but you know me... I did. So I talked to a couple media friends about it and they told me not to worry. Happens all the time. But I'm ashamed to say that in my head I was thinking "Do they know who I am?" I'm the one and only Cleveland K8. People approach me on the street or at the North Ridgeville Corn Festival or at Cleveland Indians games and say "hey, are you Cleveland Kate from twitter? You're awesome!" Most are followers and I will admit to feeling a little bit famous when this happens.  Reality Check Time!  I am NOT Joe Smith!

I shall refresh your memory about Joe Smith.... last summer, there was an incident at an establishment that, I believe, may or may not sell alcohol. He didn't have an ID on him and when asked by security for that ID he replied "But I pitch for the Indians!?" The media and sports talk had a field day... how full of himself he seemed. Did he really try to play the "do you know who I am" card? Because we're all pretty sure the guard had no clue who he was.  Sometime, you need to be reminded that you aren't "all that."

Thankfully, I am self-aware enough to realize that even while I was thinking it, I was crazy. I'm a grain of sand in the beach of sports talk / writing. OK, maybe not quite that small, but I took a step back to look at what I was doing and, more importantly, WHY I was doing it. I was feeling very discouraged and unmotivated. But that's where the Browns 53-man roster cuts gave me a second Reality Check.

I wrote about the first 3 preseason football games for nflfemale.com and, after the 4th game vs the Bears, I really didn't think there was much worth noting from a football/plays/game standpoint. And as I was figuring out what to write about, the Browns started announcing roster cuts. And I felt something of a kinship with the guys getting let go. It's not the end of their NFL dream, just the end of it in Cleveland. I heard a coach refer to the cuts that way and that got me to thinking: why do they put themselves through it all?

So I wrote about some of the guys that were cut, guys I watched play last year or watched in training camp. Guys I was going to miss and hoped would either come back to the Practice Squad or maybe get picked up by another team. And I wrote about how gutsy they were to keep trying, keep getting knocked down and back up again, try all over with another team, pack their bags for one more hotel room... all in the pursuit of a dream to play in the NFL. Nothing is guaranteed and these guys are doing everything they can to take another shot at playing the game they love. I have the utmost respect for them.

So that got me thinking in terms of myself. Why do I talk sports? Why do I write? What do I really want? And how will I respect MYSELF if I can't answer those questions.  Well, here goes.

I talk sports because I freaking love sports.  I write because I have so many thoughts in my head that sometimes I feel as if it will explode if I don't write them down. Seriously. I've stopped in the middle of cooking dinner because I was compelled to write a blog. There are days/weeks where I could write every single day and not run out of topics. But out of respect for the dozen of you who read myself, I refrain. You're welcome. :)

What I really want is to be able to talk sports and to write. Period. It's not about money - I have a job. I can be happy just talking and tweeting and writing like I am now. I would like some respect though. And that's something I need to work on. The people that matter in my life respect my opinions and I need to be ok with that. (I'm a work in progress folks). But in order to respect myself, I need to keep doing what I'm doing, not let anyone interfere with my dreams. Yes, I'd love the opportunity to do more, have a larger audience, break the gender barrier in this town and show people that women do indeed have sports opinions and that we know what we're talking about....

So I'll keep tweeting.  And writing my blog & my articles for the website. And broadcasting my thoughts over the internet. And you can all come along on this journey with me, share your thoughts, conversate with me or even disagree with me.  It's all good. But I won't let anyone - not even myself - tell me I can't do this, that I'm not good at it, that I can't simply enjoy it for what it is without wishing it was more.

Sometimes a "Reality Check" or two is just the thing to remind us to Enjoy The Moment but also to Keep Dreaming. Maybe this will serve as one for you - live your dream, or at least live trying for your dream. Regrets are not easy to live with and why not just go for it? Because that's what I plan to do.

Respectfully Submitted,

Cleveland K8

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