I'm sitting here in the press box at RFK Stadium in Washington. The Nationals' pitchers have just taken their version of batting practice, and appear to be giving way to the professional hitters.
No one's here yet. No fans, anyway. Players and other team staff is all around the field; media are clustered on the top step of the Nats' dugout. (I'm up in the box because I had to write up an entry for my paper's NASCAR blog; the link is on the right.) AC/DC gives way to another song on the P.A. system.
How could someone give this up? Well, that's just the pretty side of it. Like any other job, there's a lot of unseen stuff that goes on.
The hours can be a grind; this is probably the busiest week of the year with all of our high school playoffs beginning. I probably won't spend any appreciable time with my wife (unless she can secure a lunch date) until Saturday. In my situation, there's not a whole lot of room for advancement and the pay isn't close to being enough to live by yourself.
There's a whole lot more that goes into it, certainly, but it's stuff that I have no desire to get into on here. As a result, my resume has flown through e-mail channels in all corners of the DC metro area (and, given the limited journalistic opportunities here, many of them are PR-related).
But then there's the other side of it. I grew up a sports fan and have loved sports all of my life. So how does one go from being on the inside (or a reasonable facsimilie) to being completely on the outside? It's an issue I grapple with every time I send out a resume and think ahead to what if - what if an interview happens and what if a job offer comes along?
There's no question that I get to do a lot of things that are pretty damn cool, there are a lot of things I've seen that many others would love the opportunity to see. But at what price? When do all of the cool things get cancelled out by all of the negative stuff?
I've counted up the number of MLB and NFL teams I've ever seen play - either when I was young and went to games with my dad or when I was older and covered games. In baseball, there are a total of nine teams I've never seen play (which will fall to eight after tonight's Nats-Astros game); in the NFL, there are 14 teams.
Am I going to bail out before I get to all of the teams? Increasingly, it looks like it.
But that doesn't mean it's going to be easy. I'm sure I'll second-guess myself if any sort of change occurs. What it boils down to is that I'm worried if I leave, any new, non-sports job will make me even more unhappy than I am now. And that's a difficult thing for me to get past.