Michael Phelps vs. Ryan Lochte at Olympic trials

Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte battle it out at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha.

Michael Phelps has shifted his focus since his retirement after swimming in the 2016 Rio Olympics, but his son Boomer seems to share his father's love of the water.
Is Michael Phelps' Son Also Destined for Swimming Greatness?
Michael Phelps has shifted his focus since his retirement after swimming in the 2016 Rio Olympics, but his son Boomer seems to share his father's love of the water.
Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympian of all time, has a powerful message for anyone who is suffering from depression.
Md. Native Michael Phelps Opens Up About Battle With Depression
Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympian of all time, has a powerful message for anyone who is suffering from depression.
Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympian of all time, has a powerful message for anyone who is suffering from depression.
Md. Native Michael Phelps Opens Up About Battle With Depression
Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympian of all time, has a powerful message for anyone who is suffering from depression.
Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympian of all time, has a powerful message for anyone who is suffering from depression.
Md. Native Michael Phelps Opens Up About Battle With Depression
Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympian of all time, has a powerful message for anyone who is suffering from depression.
Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympian of all time, has a powerful message for anyone who is suffering from depression.
Md. Native Michael Phelps Opens Up About Battle With Depression
Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympian of all time, has a powerful message for anyone who is suffering from depression.
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, sits down with CBSN to talk about his passion for saving water, his battle with depression and his life at home with his two young sons, Boomer and Beckett.
Michael Phelps' new mission outside the pool
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, sits down with CBSN to talk about his passion for saving water, his battle with depression and his life at home with his two young sons, Boomer and Beckett.
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, sits down with CBSN to talk about his passion for saving water, his battle with depression and his life at home with his two young sons, Boomer and Beckett.
Michael Phelps' new mission outside the pool
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, sits down with CBSN to talk about his passion for saving water, his battle with depression and his life at home with his two young sons, Boomer and Beckett.
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, sits down with CBSN to talk about his passion for saving water, his battle with depression and his life at home with his two young sons, Boomer and Beckett.
Michael Phelps' new mission outside the pool
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, sits down with CBSN to talk about his passion for saving water, his battle with depression and his life at home with his two young sons, Boomer and Beckett.
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, sits down with CBSN to talk about his passion for saving water, his battle with depression and his life at home with his two young sons, Boomer and Beckett.
Michael Phelps' new mission outside the pool
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, sits down with CBSN to talk about his passion for saving water, his battle with depression and his life at home with his two young sons, Boomer and Beckett.
FILE PHOTO: July 2, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; Michael Phelps reacts after the men's 100m butterfly finals in the U.S. Olympic swimming team trials at CenturyLink Center. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters Picture Supplied by Action Images/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Swimming: U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Swimming
FILE PHOTO: July 2, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; Michael Phelps reacts after the men's 100m butterfly finals in the U.S. Olympic swimming team trials at CenturyLink Center. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters Picture Supplied by Action Images/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Michael Phelps of the U.S. swims to a first place finish in his men's 100m butterfly heat during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 2, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Michael Phelps of the U.S. swims to a first place finish in his men's 100m butterfly heat during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre
FILE PHOTO: Michael Phelps of the U.S. swims to a first place finish in his men's 100m butterfly heat during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 2, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Michael Phelps of the U.S. swims to a first place finish in his men's 100m butterfly heat during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 2, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Michael Phelps of the U.S. swims to a first place finish in his men's 100m butterfly heat during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre
FILE PHOTO: Michael Phelps of the U.S. swims to a first place finish in his men's 100m butterfly heat during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 2, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo
<p>TORONTO – The “Letters To My Younger Self” series from the Players Tribune has been among the most interesting things the digital publication has done. While the editorial conceit <a href="http://www.oprah.com/spirit/celebrities-letters-to-younger-selves/all" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:existed long before The Players Tribune" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">existed long before The Players Tribune</a>, the publication has received well-deserved praise for the series, including very thoughtful pieces bylined by <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/letter-to-my-younger-self-quentin-richardson/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Quentin Richardson" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Quentin Richardson</a>, <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/author/mike-bossy/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mike Bossy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Mike Bossy</a> and <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/damon-stoudamire-nba-letter-to-my-younger-self/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Damon Stoudamire" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Damon Stoudamire</a>. For the column below, I swiped the concept to ask a number of people in the sports media the following question: <em>What specific career advice would you give your younger self and why?</em> Here’s how they answered:</p><h3><strong>Ian Eagle, CBS Sports play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“I would start off by giving the younger version of myself some practical advice. Don&#39;t eat at a suspect Chinese restaurant in San Francisco before flying on a red-eye with a window seat (trust me on this one). </p><p>If you&#39;re fortunate enough to make it in this highly competitive business, don&#39;t take for granted the chair that you occupy. Take the time to truly appreciate the unique moments along the way—a spectacular NFL Sunday in Foxboro, a raucous crowd at Phog Allen Fieldhouse, or the electricity inside Air Canada Centre in Toronto. It&#39;s easy to get caught up in the preparation and minutia of your assignment, but don&#39;t forget to be present and soak up the atmosphere.</p><p>When you&#39;re young you tend to focus on just your role in the broadcast, as you get older and gain experience you begin to value every person on the crew and the sheer enormity of the production you&#39;re working on. The announcer is a small piece of the puzzle and although you may be front and center, you won&#39;t be successful without the hard work and dedication of others. In addition, be a well rounded person with knowledge that extends beyond the two teams you&#39;re covering—pop culture, world news, social issues may be topics of conversation during a broadcast when you least expect it, be prepared for anything. I would also advise my younger self that nobody cares if your flight was delayed or the people in the hotel room next to you traveled a small chicuacua with them—all that matters is being totally focused and locked-in the moment you go on the air. And have fun!! This isn&#39;t brain surgery (but if you&#39;re a well-rounded person you&#39;d be able to perform that if necessary).”</p><h3><strong>Joe Buck, Fox Sports play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“Keep on your path. Don&#39;t let the ‘noise’ creep in as the years go by. Social media will be both a blessing and a curse. Take it for what it is and be you. Don&#39;t let the ‘he tries to be funny too much’ criticism from a certain columnist from the <em>New York Post</em> affect what you do. Be you. See a therapist before your late 30s—you have a lot of issues to work through. And for the love of God, sleep through your eighth hair transplant appointment in 2011. Trust me, it&#39;s for the best.”</p><h3><strong>Marty Smith, ESPN host and reporter</strong></h3><p><em>“Dear Younger Me...</em></p><p><em>Offering you advice seems ungrateful and haughty, as if you need a different direction. Listen up: You don’t. </em><em>You don’t know it yet, but you’re blessed with a life beyond the craziest fantasy world you could ever conjure. </em><em>So let it ride.</em></p><p><em>Live the Golden Rule. </em></p><p><em>Be kind. Work hard. </em></p><p><em>Head up. Nose down. </em></p><p><em>Heart full. Always. </em></p><p><em>Even when it&#39;s empty.</em></p><p><em>Passion never loses. You’ll meet folks with better looks and more talent and a fancier degree. </em></p><p><em>You’ll never meet anybody with more passion. It’s the one thing you can control. Own it. It&#39;ll take you awhile to gain comfort in that space, but your gut is correct—it’s the right way.</em></p><p><em>Momma always said every man is equal, and deserves respect when he gives it. She’s right. </em><em>Keep treating people well. It matters.</em></p><p><em>Status is fleeting. It’s a drug. It’s a fake title. Authenticity and loyalty are eternal—and hard to come by. Embrace them. </em></p><p><em>Just do you. It’s unorthodox and it’s different, and I know some of the traditional cats are giving you a big ol&#39; ration of s*** for it right now. It hurts, but don’t let on. They&#39;ll come around. </em></p><p><em>You liked to be liked. That will never leave you. You’ll eventually be able to admit it openly and be cool with the admittance.</em></p><p><em>Champion your wife and include her in your triumphs and experiences. They’re so much richer when you share them together. </em></p><p><em>Walk your Faith. This will be a boomerang for you. You&#39;ll let it fly away for a time, but when you seek it, it&#39;ll come back.</em></p><p><em>So the advice: </em><em>Don’t concern yourself with awards. You’ll never win any.</em></p><p><em>Raise some hell, you’re pretty good at it. (Just maybe not as much as you’re raising right now.) </em></p><p><em>Go home and spend some of those hours with Momma and Daddy. You won’t have them for long. </em></p><p><em>And just so you know, Marty: All those eye-roll lessons Daddy preaches constantly about accountability and respect and hard work and the indescribable privilege of being American, and the pride of your last name? </em></p><p><em>Write them down. </em><em>He’s right.”</em></p><h3><strong>Rebecca Lowe, NBC Sports host</strong></h3><p>“I could sit my younger self down for an entire day and give advice. But three of the biggest pieces I would impart are...firstly, never believe anyone who tells you they don’t see you in a specific role. If that’s where you see yourself and where you believe you can shine then stick at it and prove the doubters wrong. No one knows you better than you know yourself and use the doubt to drive you on.</p><p>Secondly, know that not every job is perfect and they tend to be less perfect in the early stages of your career when you’re trying to carve your path. It might be that you can’t stand your job, or your boss or the people around you but if it’s a job that will help you get to the next stage then head down and power through. Always remember it is a lucky person who gets to enjoy their job. So if it takes some years of disgruntlement and dissatisfaction to get to where you’re happy, that’s the sacrifice you have to pay. I always suggest asking yourself: ‘What’s your alternative choice?’ Often the alternatives are not as good. And, finally, over prepare. In everything you do. If you do this, you’ll never come unstuck.”</p><h3><strong>Shea Serrano, writer and best-selling author, <em>The Ringer</em></strong></h3><p><em>“</em>I would tell my younger self three things:</p><p><strong>1. Always say yes.</strong> If someone asks you to do a work thing, just say yes. It doesn&#39;t matter if you know how to do it or not. Just say yes and then trust yourself to figure it out. I remember one time MTV asked me to make some pop culture postcards for them for the holidays one year. I had no idea how to do it, but what I did know was that they were gonna pay me several hundred dollars to them. So when they called and asked if it was something I knew how to do, I was just like, ‘Yup. I got you. I do it all the time.’ That&#39;s how I tried to handle everything. I didn&#39;t know how to write a book until I wrote a book, you know what I&#39;m saying?</p><p><strong>2. Don&#39;t be late.</strong> There are absolutely some people who were born with a natural gift for writing and storytelling; just brilliant, exceptional people birthed with brilliant, exceptional talent in their bones. Not me, though. And that being the case, I knew I was never going to be able to keep up with those type of people if I was just depending on my own tiny amount of talent. So, as a way to supplement that, I just decided to try to never, ever, ever be late with an assignment. I would always turn my stuff in early, answer emails quickly, respond to phone calls immediately, so on and so forth. You can&#39;t control talent, but you can control work ethic is what I&#39;m telling you. And in my experience, an editor is more likely to choose working with someone who&#39;s a decent writer but is super dependable over choosing to work with someone who is an exceptional writer but is unreliable.</p><p><strong>3. Know that everyone gets kicked in the teeth a billion times before they ‘make it.’ </strong>This was the hardest thing to learn, and something that I&#39;m still dealing with today. A lot of being a writer is pitching stories and ideas and then either a) never hearing back, or b) hearing back but it&#39;s a no. It&#39;s hard not to take it personal when it happens, because it always seems to feel like they&#39;re turning you down, not like they&#39;re turning your ideas down. But, as I&#39;ve come to learn, it happens to everyone all the time. I mean, just think on it like, I&#39;m a No. 1 <em>New York Times</em> bestselling author. That&#39;s a real and true thing. And still, it doesn&#39;t matter. I get turned down for things literally every week. It&#39;s just the way it goes. You gotta just keep going. Because that&#39;s really the main difference that separates someone who makes it from someone who doesn&#39;t. The person who made it was the one who kept getting up after getting kicked in the teeth. The person who didn&#39;t make it didn&#39;t get up.</p><h3><strong>Erika Nardini, Barstool Sports CEO</strong></h3><p>“You do not look good with short hair, don’t try it. Don’t work away your 20s. Bigger companies don’t necessarily give you bigger chances for success. Don’t worry about how one job relates to the next. There’s a thru-line in there somewhere and the right person/company will see it.”</p><h3><strong>Adam Schefter, ESPN NFL insider and podcast host</strong></h3><p>“What I would tell my younger self is the exact advice I did try to tell my younger self; I just couldn&#39;t listen to it, not in the way I wanted because I was so consumed with trying to land a sports reporting job or advancing once I had it.</p><p>Back when I was at the University of Michigan in the late 1980s, my college roommates and I discovered this poem called <em>The Station</em>, by Robert J. Hastings. We would read it and remind each other of it, and we even put it at the end of a video we made at the end of our senior year, as we were graduating, one final reminder of lessons we all should learn. It&#39;s good advice for any young person in any young field—better than anything I can offer. I never like when people lean on a poem to try to convey thoughts, but I believe it&#39;s valuable advice for anyone just getting started—or even finishing up.”</p><p>The Station, by Robert J. Hastings</p><p><em>Tucked away in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision in which we see ourselves on a long journey that spans an entire continent. We’re traveling by train and, from the windows, we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at crossings, of cattle grazing in distant pastures, of smoke pouring from power plants, of row upon row upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of city skylines and village halls.</em></p><p><em>But uppermost in our conscious minds is our final destination—for at a certain hour and on a given day, our train will finally pull into the Station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands playing. And once that day comes, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So restlessly, we pace the aisles and count the miles, peering ahead, waiting, waiting, waiting for the Station.</em></p><p><em>“Yes, when we reach the Station, that will be it!” we promise ourselves. “When we’re eighteen. . . win that promotion. . . put the last kid through college. . . buy that 450SL Mercedes-Benz. . . have a nest egg for retirement!” From that day on we will all live happily ever after.</em></p><p><em>Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no Station in this life, no one earthly place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The Station is an illusion—it constantly outdistances us. Yesterday’s a memory, tomorrow’s a dream. Yesterday belongs to a history, tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday’s a fading sunset, tomorrow’s a faint sunrise. Only today is there light enough to love and live.</em></p><p><em>So, gently close the door on yesterday and throw the key away. It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad, but rather the regret over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.</em></p><p><em>“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”</em></p><p><em>So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, swim more rivers, climb more mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more and cry less. Go barefoot oftener. Eat more ice cream. Ride more merry-go-rounds. Watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we go along. The Station will come soon enough.</em></p><h3><strong>Amy Trask, NFL analyst, CBS Sports</strong></h3><p>“I would tell my younger self: listen to your mom. The best advice I have ever been given was imparted to me by my mom: to thine own self be true. (As an aside, I will note that it wasn’t until I was almost out of college that I learned that these wise words were those spoken by Polonius to Laertes in Hamlet. While one might then say that my advice to my younger self would be to follow the words of Shakespeare, I shall always consider this the advice my mom shared with me.) </p><p>My mom repeated this advice (over and over), as moms are wont to do. I sometimes rolled my eyes, as kids are wont to do.</p><p>While it is unequivocally the best advice I have ever received, I didn’t always follow it. I heeded this advice for the most part and when I did I was my strongest and my most capable. I am my best when I am myself, as my mom advised me to be. But there were times I didn’t follow this advice and instead tried to be something or someone I was not and in those instances not only was I not my best, I stumbled and bumbled and fumbled. It just doesn’t work for me to try to be what I am not.</p><p>So my advice to my younger self is quite simple: listen to your mom even (or especially) in those instances in which you may be tempted to ignore or don’t believe you need to follow her advice and ‘to thine own self be true.’”</p><h3><strong>Beth Mowins, ESPN and CBS Sports play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“I would tell my younger self to keep a journal. I wish I had the ability to look back over the years and recall where I have been and what I have done. It doesn&#39;t have to be much...even just a few sentences about games and places and people. So many great stories have been lost in my memory banks and I wish I could bring some back. We are lucky to spend time with amazing players and coaches and it would be nice to have a journal to reflect on the good times with the people in this business. Enjoy the journey...and jot it down. It&#39;s important because you want to pass on knowledge to the younger people in this business. It&#39;s always nice to have a story to tell about ‘when I was your age,’ or be able to say, ‘I went through something similar’ and here&#39;s what happened. It can also help you do your job better by providing some historical perspective to the games you are covering. I enjoy a good quote or a funny anecdote as much as the next person. Sportscasting is still about relationships with people and the more connections you can make the better off you will be.”</p><h3><strong>Don Van Natta Jr., ESPN senior writer and investigative reporter</strong></h3><p>“Relax, kid. Don’t sweat the small stuff. And what’s ‘the small stuff,’ you ask? The highlight reel of all the indignities and idiocy that will comprise a 30-year journalism career: the published mistakes (yours and others); the big-footing colleagues; the years (or decades) of no raises; the editors who merrily drive lawn mowers through your copy; the slammed doors and the hung-up phones; the grounded late-night flights and canceled summer vacations; the sources who lie to you or about you; the Christmas Eve calls from long-winded bosses; the scoops that get away; the ‘fake news’-spewing ‘readers’ who don’t read a word of what you write; the rabid fans who will only hear fraudulent, bumper-sticker characterizations of your stories on WEEI in Boston; the omnipresent drumbeat of job cuts.</p><p>In the wide-open canvas of a career, nearly all of it amounts to small stuff. Trust me, it’s true. So keep reminding yourself of that. And don’t frown so damn much.</p><p>Being a journalist in America is still one of the best jobs in the world, despite everything. Think about it: you get paid to find the truth and report it to an audience starving for it. When things go wrong—and they often will—don’t let those moments trip you up. Just roll with it, cold-call the next would-be source and chase the next scoop with as much as confidence and swagger as you mustered the day before.</p><p>You don’t know this now but the friends you make in this business will last far longer than the best stories you’ll write and the best prizes you’ll win. And all the fun you’re going to have will far eclipse the days of failure and frustration. Remember, kid: 10,000 writers would give anything to have your nickels-paying, out-in-the-boondocks job. So…</p><p>Count your blessings. Embrace the good. Savor every moment. And smile.”</p><h3><strong>Candace Buckner, <em>The Washington Post</em> Wizards writer</strong></h3><p>“When I talk to young journalists, I always tell them to read more than just the sports page, network, and write daily—three things I should’ve done better when I was their age. But if I could give my younger self some advice, it would be pointed and simple: don’t bury your head into journalism, get out and experience life.</p><p>I was a focused kid when I arrived at Mizzou, with set-in-stone goals that centered on getting into J-School then becoming the next Willow Bay or Robin Roberts. I worked my tail off, held down a couple jobs and ran a floor in my dorm. I didn’t mess around and while I dig that about young Candace, I wish I would’ve told myself: <em>Chill, homie, and go do real life.</em> Go spend a summer abroad and learn something about the world outside of your perfectly-crafted tiny universe you have at Columbia, Mo. I needed more experience. While I don’t dare to think that if I would’ve gone to Thailand at 22 years old, then I would have this whole life thing all figured out (people who do that are the worst), I do believe that traveling and experiencing other cultures would’ve opened up a lifetime of learning, which in turn would make me a better writer and reporter. When I was younger, I was racing. But it would’ve OK to slow down and live.”</p><h3><strong>Mike Arnold, CBS Sports lead NFL director</strong></h3><p>“I guess the advice I&#39;d give my younger self is to keep working hard and eventually things will work out. I remember first starting out in television as a runner with ABC Sports and was so disappointed when I didn&#39;t get a full time job with them after spending about 3-4 years working countless weekends trying to land a position. I figured I&#39;d end up back home in Scottsdale working somewhere but probably not in television. I even applied to the city of Phoenix to work in the public information office and didn&#39;t get a response. Luckily, I had some young ABC production assistants in my corner because when Terry O&#39;Neil left ABC Sports and came over to CBS Sports, David Dinkins, Jr. and Peter Lasser (those two production assistants) told O&#39;Neil that I should be the first production assistant hired at CBS Sports. O&#39;Neil hired me. That was 1981 and I&#39;m still here at CBS.”</p><h3><strong>Kerith Burke, Warriors reporter, NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California</strong></h3><p>“I’d like to tell my younger self, ‘you’re on the right path, and your path is your own.’ I fall back on this advice in many situations to calm the worry hamster in my head who likes to hop on its wheel and churn the night away. I try to remind myself that when it comes to jobs on this path, talent, timing, and luck all play a role. Only one of those I can control.</p><p>This advice overlaps with something else: Jealousy is a useless emotion. Coming out of college, I was too concerned with others. I was envious about not working for the No. 1 station, or wondered why a colleague got an assignment I knew I could do well. This stemmed from my insecurity, and not knowing healthy ways to aim my ambition. I had to grow up. As I grew up, my path braided with friends in the industry to make us stronger. Don’t compete against your colleagues, befriend them. There’s plenty of room for all of us. It feels best to walk together.”</p><h3><strong>Dianna Russini, ESPN NFL reporter and studio host</strong></h3><p>“Don’t lose touch with those who have helped you grow both professionally and personally. You hear it all the time, ‘be good to everyone,’ but the reality is life gets busy and we all get consumed. It isn’t until you are in a tough spot professionally or maybe even without a job that you start realizing you should have built stronger relationships with those who have put themselves out for your own benefit. Just a few years ago, I was unemployed, living with my parents and looking for work in local sports. I was miserable and the market was worse. About seven years prior, when I was in college at George Mason University, I had reached out to random news directors in the NY/NJ/CT area looking for internships during my summer break. One news director was kind enough to write back to share that he had no openings but to stay in touch. I didn’t. Fast forward to the year I was looking for work and that same news director, Mike St. Peter, who was still the news director at NBC Connecticut, kindly answered my email once again. I always regretted I never sent him a note or even checked in on him over the years since he didn’t have to write back to a college student with zero experience, and I needed him now.</p><p>This time he brought me in for an interview, and days later, he hired me as a sports/news reporter. That was the start of my career. Under his leadership, he allowed me to be part of breaking news coverage at Sandy Hook Elementary and the Boston Marathon bombings. It turned out he wasn’t just a good e-mailer but a superb newsroom leader. He took a really big chance on me when in reality I had done nothing to give him security that I was a good reporter or even a decent human being. Every year since I don’t make the same mistake. I send Mike, who has now moved on to become President and General Manager of NBC Boston, a note to just say, thanks for giving me a chance when nobody would take a call. He usually responds with something that lets me know he’s proud. Work hard at your craft but you can’t do it alone. Appreciate those who help because you never know.”</p><h3><strong>Andrea Kremer, NFL Network reporter and HBO Real Sports correspondent</strong></h3><p>“I would tell my younger self to try and enjoy the moment more. For decades, I was so focused on what’s the next story...the next game...the next big interview....the next important issue that I rarely enjoyed ‘the moment.’ This is not one of these New Age epiphanies but there have been seminal moments of my career that I wish I had relished more. In retrospect, I think it felt anathema to me to ‘enjoy’ the moment as though I equated that with being a fan and not a serious journalist but that is wrong. After more than two decades in television my realization came in 2008 as I prepared to cover the single greatest event in my career (to date)—Michael Phelps’ quest for his eighth gold medal. I specifically thought about the historical aspect of the day and my small role in it as I was headed to the pool deck. It was meaningful for what it taught me at that time and moving forward. Now it’s a learning lesson I try to impart to younger broadcasters in lieu of my younger self.”</p><h3><strong>J.A. Adande, director of sports journalism at Northwestern University</strong></h3><p>“On a practical level, I&#39;d tell myself to invest in the company 401k at the earliest opportunity and to the maximum tax-exempt amounts. And if not eligible, open an IRA. The last thing a 21-year-old thinks about is retirement planning.</p><p>I am curious what would have happened if I had told my younger self to stick with my original goal of being a play-by-play announcer. I got a taste of working game broadcasts while doing sidelines the past few years and it kind of made me wish I had charted a course toward sitting in that No. 1 seat. Still, I doubt it would have led to me working 20 NBA Finals in addition to just about every other major sporting event, so I think younger me got it right.”</p><h3><strong>Suzanne Smith, CBS Sports director and the first woman to direct NFL games fulltime</strong></h3><p><em>“</em>Dear Suzanne,</p><p>You are about to embark on an amazing journey. One full of adventure, excitement and challenges. Hard work, your attitude, respect and integrity will be the cornerstones.</p><p><strong>Some basic rules</strong></p><p>Treat EVERYONE equally, from your runners to the CEO. Work as hard as you can. Tackle each task like it’s the last, then work harder. Understand that every job is important. Speak up. Your ideas have value, even in a room of people with more experience. Take risks, don’t be afraid to fail. Send handwritten thank you notes. If you’re not early, you’re late.</p><p><strong>Take advantage of the skills you’ve gained as an athlete</strong></p><p>Be a leader and a team player. Be competitive while working with your colleagues. First to arrive, last to leave. Inspire others. Rise to the occasion when the pressure is on.</p><p><strong>On the practical side</strong></p><p>Invest in a good piece of luggage, one with wheels! Dress like a professional, not like you are in your college dorm. Keep a journal, keep your credentials, photos. Don’t be in a rush to get from one event to the next. Take the time to soak it all in. Don’t assume your boss knows what you want to do. Be proactive about your assignments and the events you want to be a part of.</p><p><strong>The boys club</strong></p><p>Be yourself. You will never be one of the boys, stop trying. The day you accept this, things will be easier. The day you realize you don’t WANT to be part of ‘the club,’ your world will change.</p><p><strong>Family and friends</strong></p><p>Balancing your career and life will be challenging at times. You will have to make sacrifices to be successful in this industry. Remember, your family, partner and friends are affected as well.</p><p><strong>You got this</strong></p><p>It’s not enough to dream your dreams. You’ve got to pursue your dreams. No, it’s not always easy but if it was easy, anybody could do it. Always remember and remind those around you that it is a privilege to be a part of some of the most coveted sporting events in the world. Believe in yourself and let your passions be your guide. Enjoy your amazing journey.”</p><h3><strong>Tim Brando, Fox Sports play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“Many times as sportscasters we talk about players that sometimes force it, or press their efforts as opposed to letting the game come to them. Ours is a totally subjective craft and for everyone that loves your work there will always be those that don’t. I’m blessed to have had a career that’s spanned four decades with ESPN as its starting point, then a quick transition to Turner, and then an 18-year run at CBS, before joining FOX four years ago. Honestly, only now do I personally believe I’m as grateful and feel as privileged as I always should have to do what I love for a living. Type A’s are littered throughout sports television and most of us want to get the top assignments in live sports television. I wouldn’t change my path, but I would recommend if I had the chance to start over to have enjoyed the journey by living more in the moment than I did. Breaking into syndicated play-by-play in 1982-83 with Raycom/Jefferson Pilot and making ESPN freelance appearances as a play-by-play man in my mid 20’s in 1985 had me thinking that was my calling. But upon my arrival to Bristol in late 1986 the suits saw me as a studio talent first! I fought that and I probably should have embraced it far more; it did help me later in securing a gig at the ‘Tiffany’ Network, CBS. I loved what I was doing, but shouldn’t have been so concerned with what’s next!</p><p>‘Tim, slow down, you’re in a great spot, don’t worry so much about what’s next,’ my old departed friend John Saunders would say. He was right. I tell young broadcasters all the time to enjoy the journey and the relationships that come with it. A wonderful collection of people that could put me in places to succeed have always been there for me. They (the suits) want to know how privileged you feel. I would tell myself if I were younger, to let them know that, and stop worrying about chasing the next great gig. You’ve already got a really good one. Keep loving it, performing it and good things will come your way. I’ve found that understanding your role, and giving the employer your best in that role is not only better, but allows for greater fullness of life.”</p><h3><strong>Nancy Armour, sports columnist, <em>USA Today</em></strong></h3><p><strong>“Develop your own voice.</strong></p><p>Find writers whose work—and work ethic—you admire, and study what they do and how they do it. Learn from them and make use of any tips or guidance they share, but don’t make the mistake of trying to be them. There will only be one Dave Anderson or Jim Litke or Jackie MacMullan or Leonard Pitts, and trying to write in a voice or style that isn’t your own will come across as forced and inauthentic. Find your voice, your style and the writing will flow better.</p><p><strong>Learn from your mistakes.</strong></p><p>Mistakes are going to happen, it’s human nature. You will beat yourself up something awful and forever cringe at the memory of it. But make sure you learn from it, too. Recognizing how and why the mistake occurred is the surest way to avoid doing it again in the future.</p><p><strong>Expand your world.</strong></p><p>Read books and listen to podcasts about things that have nothing to do with your job or the sport(s) you cover. Have friends and interests outside the business. There’s a risk of getting stale and jaded when you are immersed in the same thing day after day, week after week, year after year. Getting outside your bubble is the best way of guarding against that—and also a reminder that what we do is pretty damn cool.</p><p><strong>Don’t be afraid to fail.</strong></p><p>When I was 13, my father gave me some advice that influences me to this day. I won’t bore you with the whole story, but the gist was that you should never let the fear of failure, or fear in general, stop you from doing something. Wondering ‘What if?’ after you’ve let an opportunity pass will haunt you longer than any embarrassment you might have suffered, and nothing empowers you quite like tackling your fears head on.</p><p><strong>Enjoy the ride.</strong></p><p>We have fun, interesting jobs that most people envy when they hear about them. It’s easy to forget that with deadlines, the stress over the state of the business and the pressure of always having to do more. But every once in a while, take a breather and remember what drew you to the profession in the first place.”</p><h3><strong>Kenny Albert, Fox Sports and NBC Sports play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“Work, work, work! Preparation will be the key to a career in sports broadcasting. Read everything you can get your hands on. Look into internships during your high school and college years, but also get as many reps as you can on-air. If a local cable station happens to visit your high school to film a girls basketball game, volunteer to do the play-by-play. Perhaps they will offer you hundreds of other games in all sports over the next three years, which could prove to be the most invaluable experience you could ever ask for.</p><p>Practice makes perfect! Also be sure to learn other positions—producing, editing, writing, keeping statistics, etc. Watch and listen to as many games as possible—to absorb both announcing styles and information via osmosis. If your initial goal is hockey radio play-by-play, send tapes out to as many teams as possible all over North America. Don&#39;t be afraid of 10-hour bus rides. Working in the minor leagues could wind up among the most important and memorable years of your professional career.”</p><h3><strong>Adnan Virk, ESPN studio host and play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“I would tell myself to ignore all the trolls. When people ask me for advice in this business it can be epitomized in two words: thick skin. No matter what people may tweet at you, no matter how disparaging or hateful it may be, don’t let it affect you emotionally, or your performance in any manner. I would also tell my younger self to pay more attention to the 1984 Orange Bowl between Nebraska and Miami since one day improbably I would be the studio host for CFB and such background would be more helpful rather than watching the Gretzky-era Oilers dynasty in bloom.”</p><h3><strong>Mina Kimes, ESPN reporter and columnist</strong></h3><p>&quot;I would have told my younger self to take more creative risks. At the beginning of my career, I was terrified of failure, so I always pursued projects that I knew I could execute. But I&#39;ve since learned that the best stories are the ones that seem insurmountable—not just when the reporting is difficult, but also when an idea feels murky at the outset. I wish I had been more daring early on, because my greatest experiences as a writer have been ones that teetered on the edge.&quot;</p><h3>THE NOISE REPORT</h3><p><strong>1a.</strong> As expected, there was immense pushback from viewers on the decision by Turner Sports to buck longstanding Selection Sunday tradition and reveal all the teams in the NCAA tournament field prior to the bracket itself. The phrase “Selection Show” trended on Twitter long after the show ended and <a href="https://twitter.com/i/moments/972960904143888384" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Twitter compiled reaction from an angry crowd of sports viewers" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Twitter compiled reaction from an angry crowd of sports viewers</a>. The most notable response, from all places, was <a href="https://twitter.com/LawrenceKS_PD/status/972957250506641411" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:this laugh-out-loud tweet from the Lawrence (Ks.) Police" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">this laugh-out-loud tweet from the Lawrence (Ks.) Police</a>. What I wrote in 2016 holds true today: “Front-load the program so that all the brackets are revealed within the first 35 minutes and spend the next 85 minutes going heavy on analysis and interviews. If the analysis is good, people are not going to abandon your channel just because the brackets are in. Obviously, this is a high profile property and CBS is in the business of keeping you around to make money but the pacing on Sunday was a huge miss. Viewers will revolt if they think you are stringing them along, which is how it felt watching.” This from the <em><a href="http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/for-petes-sake/article204614759.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Kansas City Star" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Kansas City Star</a></em> and <a href="https://www.si.com/extra-mustard/2018/03/12/ncaa-tournament-selection-show-twitter-reaction" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:this from SI’s Jimmy Traina" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">this from SI’s Jimmy Traina</a> cover the reactions.</p><p><strong>1b.</strong> ESPN NFL analyst Louis Riddick is not a man of moderate opinions and goals. He wants to be part of Monday Night Football and has no problem letting the world know of his interest, including his bosses at ESPN.</p><p>“This is something that has been a goal of mind and ESPN is very well aware that I am very interested in it,” said Riddick, this week’s guest on the SI Media Podcast. “It is the pinnacle of broadcasting as far as I am concerned, the most iconic position in broadcasting. To be involved with Monday Night Football either as a play-by-play person or analyst is something I am hoping I can achieve.”</p><p>Asked what ESPN management’s response has been to Riddick’s interest, Riddick said, “It has been very favorable. They are well aware of it. I think you saw my interest in being a part of a live broadcast, a live game, with my involvement with the Pro Bowl this year and that only scratched the surface of what I think I am capable of doing with that kind of platform. I am fired up about the possibility of being involved with the brand of Monday Night Football in any way shape or form and I think the next couple of weeks and months as ESPN figures out where they want to go with that are going to be awfully exciting for me personally.”</p><p>As the guest on Episode 168 of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast, Riddick addressed many topics including what separates a good NFL broadcaster versus an average one; how he has attempted to improve as a broadcaster; his candidness on issues and why too often former players pull punches on the air; how he navigates being a candidate for NFL general manager jobs versus working at ESPN; his thoughts when someone does not report on him accurately; how he approaches discussing social issues or politics on social media; playing under Nick Saban and Bill Belichick in Cleveland; Saban’s attention to detail and what makes him different than other coaches; how the Browns should approach holding the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in the NFL Draft, and much more. To listen to the podcast in full, check it out on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.</p><p><strong>PODCAST BREAKDOWN:</strong></p><p><strong>• 1:00: </strong>What separates a good NFL broadcaster from an average one.</p><p><strong>• 2:50:</strong> How has Riddick improved as a broadcaster and how much film he watches on his own work.</p><p><strong>• 6:40: </strong>The aesthetics of sports broadcasting.</p><p><strong>• 9:30:</strong> Being candid about NFL personnel people and trying to take people behind the curtain of the NFL</p><p><strong>• 14:15: </strong>Playing for Bill Bellichick and Nick Saban and what separates Saban from other coaches.</p><p><strong>• 20:20: </strong>Interviewing for general manager jobs while working for ESPN.</p><p><strong>• 24:30:</strong> Other media writing about him, and his reaction to what he says is incorrect reporting.</p><p><strong>• 33:00:</strong> What would happen if a mid-season GM job came up.</p><p><strong>• 35:20:</strong> His approach to social media when it comes to social issues and politics.</p><p><strong>• 36:40 </strong>His interest in being on Monday Night Football.</p><p><strong>• 41:00: </strong>Tony Romo’s work this year on CBS and Riddick&#39;s preparation for the NFL Draft.</p><p><strong>• 47:20: </strong>How he believes the Browns will approach the No. 1 and No. 4 overall pick.</p><p><strong>• 51:00: </strong>How he would approach the end of Tom Brady’s career if he were Patriots management.</p><p><strong>2.</strong> SI legal analyst Michael McCann <a href="https://www.si.com/tech-media/2018/03/05/adrienne-lawrence-espn-lawsuit-john-buccigross" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:analyzed Adrienne Lawrence’s lawsuit against ESPN" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">analyzed Adrienne Lawrence’s lawsuit against ESPN</a> and the company’s possible defenses.</p><p><strong>2a.</strong> As SI first reported, <a href="https://www.si.com/tech-media/2018/03/08/michael-smith-espn-leaving-sportscenter-sc6" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Michael Smith’s last day as an ESPN SportsCenter host" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Michael Smith’s last day as an ESPN SportsCenter host</a> was Friday.</p><p><strong>2b.</strong> ESPN jettisoned Sean McDonough out of the Monday Night Football booth despite public votes of confidence from management as recent as just a few months ago. On a positive note for viewers, McDonough signed a new multi-year extension and will rejoin ESPN’s college football team this fall. His assignments will include weekly college football games, as well as a College Football Playoff Semifinal. He will continue to call the CFP National Championship on ESPN Radio, marquee college basketball games, The Masters Par 3 contest and more.</p><p><strong>3.</strong> <a href="https://www.si.com/tech-media/2018/03/07/winter-paralympics-2018-nbc-coverage-pyeongchang" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:How to Watch—And What to Expect From—the Winter Paralympics 2018 on NBC." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">How to Watch—And What to Expect From—the Winter Paralympics 2018 on NBC.</a></p><p><strong>4.</strong> <strong>Sports pieces of note:</strong></p><p>• From <em>Indianapolis Star</em> reporters Tim Evans, Joe Guillen, Gina Kaufman, Marisa Kwiatkowski, Matt Mencarini and Mark Alesia: <a href="https://www.indystar.com/story/news/2018/03/08/larry-nassar-sexually-abused-gymnasts-michigan-state-university-usa-gymnastics/339051002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:How Larry Nassar abused hundreds of gymnasts and eluded justice for decades." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">How Larry Nassar abused hundreds of gymnasts and eluded justice for decades.</a></p><p>• A remarkable thread on the KHL from reporter Slava Malamud: </p><p>• From Juliet Macur of <em>The New York Times</em>: <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/08/sports/opioids-suicide.html?smid=tw-nytsports&#38;smtyp=cur" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Suicides, Drug Addiction and High School Football." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Suicides, Drug Addiction and High School Football.</a></p><p>• <a href="https://www.theringer.com/2018/3/6/17072332/cody-rhodes-dusty-rhodes-all-in" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Cody Rhodes is carving his own path in memory of his father" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Cody Rhodes is carving his own path in memory of his father</a>, &quot;The American Dream&quot; Dusty Rhodes, from Mike Piellucci of The Ringer.</p><p>• Kevin Love, for The Players Tribune, <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/kevin-love-everyone-is-going-through-something/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:on suffering panic attacks." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">on suffering panic attacks.</a></p><p>• <em>New York Times</em> writer Harvey Araton <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/06/sports/ncaabasketball/big-east-st-johns-mullin.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fsports&#38;action=click&#38;contentCollection=sports&#38;region=rank&#38;module=package&#38;version=highlights&#38;contentPlacement=1&#38;pgtype=sectionfront" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:profiled St. John’s coach Chris Mullin." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">profiled St. John’s coach Chris Mullin.</a></p><p>• ESPN’s <a href="http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/22624561/ichiro-suzuki-return-seattle-mariners-resolve-internal-battle" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Wright Thompson on Ichiro" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Wright Thompson on Ichiro</a>.</p><p>• SI’s Lee Jenkins profiled <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/03/06/dwane-casey-raptors-kyle-lowry-demar-derozan-kentucky-ncaa" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey</a>.</p><p>• Steve Francis, for The Players Tribune, on <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/steve-francis-i-got-a-story-to-tell/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:his unlikely journey to the NBA." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">his unlikely journey to the NBA.</a></p><p>• The Athletic’s Levi Weaver on <a href="https://theathletic.com/264535/2018/03/07/tim-lincecum-and-the-weird-gremlin-of-grief/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tim Lincecum." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Tim Lincecum.</a></p><p>• From ESPN.com’s Susan Ninan: <a href="http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/22667359/in-india-rugby-helps-women-find-level-playing-field?utm_source=The+Sunday+Long+Read+subscribers&#38;utm_campaign=fa5fa24f7d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_03_09&#38;utm_medium=email&#38;utm_term=0_67e6e8a504-fa5fa24f7d-273522061" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:India&#39;s Rugby Revolution." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">India&#39;s Rugby Revolution.</a></p><p><strong>Non-sports pieces of note</strong></p><p>• <em>The New Yorker</em>’s Jane Mayer on <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/03/12/christopher-steele-the-man-behind-the-trump-dossier" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Christopher Steele" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Christopher Steele</a>.</p><p>• Via The Atlantic’s Rachel Monroe: <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/04/our-time-com-con-man/554057/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Perfect Man Who Wasn&#39;t." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Perfect Man Who Wasn&#39;t.</a></p><p>• Via Farhad Manjoo of <em>The New York Times</em>: <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/07/technology/two-months-news-newspapers.html?smid=tw-share" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned.</a></p><p>• <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/obituaries/overlooked.html?smid=tw-nytimes&#38;smtyp=cur" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Fifteen women The New York Times overlooked for obituaries" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Fifteen women <em>The New York Times</em> overlooked for obituaries</a>.</p><p>• From Josh Dean of <em>Bloomberg Businessweek</em>: <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/obituaries/overlooked.html?smid=tw-nytimes&#38;smtyp=cur" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:America Is Giving Away the $30 Billion Medical Marijuana Industry." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">America Is Giving Away the $30 Billion Medical Marijuana Industry.</a></p><p>• From Eric Adler of <em>The Kansas City Star</em>: <a href="http://www.kansascity.com/news/state/missouri/article204287484.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Missouri is a destination wedding spot—for 15-year-old brides." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Missouri is a destination wedding spot—for 15-year-old brides.</a></p><p>This is my final piece (at least for awhile) for <em>Sports Illustrated</em>. It is a weird sentence to write. This was the singular place I dreamed of working for as a young person and to have worked here for two decades has been an immense professional privilege. SI paid for me to travel the world—I covered seven Olympic Games—and trusted me with assignments that meant a great deal to me, including the Women’s Final Four and the U.S. Open. I was able to work for every part of the editorial brand, from Swimsuit to SI.com to SI Commemoratives, and spent two years helping edit SI For Women (RIP).</p><p>It has been an amazing place to work and I leave feeling as close to the brand as I did when <a href="https://www.si.com/vault/1998/06/15/244478/howie-young-red-wings-defenseman-january-28-1963" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:SI published my first byline" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">SI published my first byline</a> in 1998 about Howie Young, an NHL defenseman for the Red Wings who drank himself out of professional sports before sobering up and finding a second life in Thoreau, N.M., a predominantly Navajo community two hours west of Albuquerque, as a mild-mannered bus driver for the McKinley County public schools.</p><p>There are many colleagues that I want to cite publicly for helping and educating me along the journey but I’ll do that in a post on my own social channels. I’ll announce soon enough what’s next but thank you for reading me here, for listening to the podcast and for having an interest in what my SI colleagues and I do professionally.</p>
Media Circus: 22 Well-Known Sports Media Members Give Advice to Their Younger Selves

TORONTO – The “Letters To My Younger Self” series from the Players Tribune has been among the most interesting things the digital publication has done. While the editorial conceit existed long before The Players Tribune, the publication has received well-deserved praise for the series, including very thoughtful pieces bylined by Quentin Richardson, Mike Bossy and Damon Stoudamire. For the column below, I swiped the concept to ask a number of people in the sports media the following question: What specific career advice would you give your younger self and why? Here’s how they answered:

Ian Eagle, CBS Sports play-by-play announcer

“I would start off by giving the younger version of myself some practical advice. Don't eat at a suspect Chinese restaurant in San Francisco before flying on a red-eye with a window seat (trust me on this one).

If you're fortunate enough to make it in this highly competitive business, don't take for granted the chair that you occupy. Take the time to truly appreciate the unique moments along the way—a spectacular NFL Sunday in Foxboro, a raucous crowd at Phog Allen Fieldhouse, or the electricity inside Air Canada Centre in Toronto. It's easy to get caught up in the preparation and minutia of your assignment, but don't forget to be present and soak up the atmosphere.

When you're young you tend to focus on just your role in the broadcast, as you get older and gain experience you begin to value every person on the crew and the sheer enormity of the production you're working on. The announcer is a small piece of the puzzle and although you may be front and center, you won't be successful without the hard work and dedication of others. In addition, be a well rounded person with knowledge that extends beyond the two teams you're covering—pop culture, world news, social issues may be topics of conversation during a broadcast when you least expect it, be prepared for anything. I would also advise my younger self that nobody cares if your flight was delayed or the people in the hotel room next to you traveled a small chicuacua with them—all that matters is being totally focused and locked-in the moment you go on the air. And have fun!! This isn't brain surgery (but if you're a well-rounded person you'd be able to perform that if necessary).”

Joe Buck, Fox Sports play-by-play announcer

“Keep on your path. Don't let the ‘noise’ creep in as the years go by. Social media will be both a blessing and a curse. Take it for what it is and be you. Don't let the ‘he tries to be funny too much’ criticism from a certain columnist from the New York Post affect what you do. Be you. See a therapist before your late 30s—you have a lot of issues to work through. And for the love of God, sleep through your eighth hair transplant appointment in 2011. Trust me, it's for the best.”

Marty Smith, ESPN host and reporter

“Dear Younger Me...

Offering you advice seems ungrateful and haughty, as if you need a different direction. Listen up: You don’t. You don’t know it yet, but you’re blessed with a life beyond the craziest fantasy world you could ever conjure. So let it ride.

Live the Golden Rule.

Be kind. Work hard.

Head up. Nose down.

Heart full. Always.

Even when it's empty.

Passion never loses. You’ll meet folks with better looks and more talent and a fancier degree.

You’ll never meet anybody with more passion. It’s the one thing you can control. Own it. It'll take you awhile to gain comfort in that space, but your gut is correct—it’s the right way.

Momma always said every man is equal, and deserves respect when he gives it. She’s right. Keep treating people well. It matters.

Status is fleeting. It’s a drug. It’s a fake title. Authenticity and loyalty are eternal—and hard to come by. Embrace them.

Just do you. It’s unorthodox and it’s different, and I know some of the traditional cats are giving you a big ol' ration of s*** for it right now. It hurts, but don’t let on. They'll come around.

You liked to be liked. That will never leave you. You’ll eventually be able to admit it openly and be cool with the admittance.

Champion your wife and include her in your triumphs and experiences. They’re so much richer when you share them together.

Walk your Faith. This will be a boomerang for you. You'll let it fly away for a time, but when you seek it, it'll come back.

So the advice: Don’t concern yourself with awards. You’ll never win any.

Raise some hell, you’re pretty good at it. (Just maybe not as much as you’re raising right now.)

Go home and spend some of those hours with Momma and Daddy. You won’t have them for long.

And just so you know, Marty: All those eye-roll lessons Daddy preaches constantly about accountability and respect and hard work and the indescribable privilege of being American, and the pride of your last name?

Write them down. He’s right.”

Rebecca Lowe, NBC Sports host

“I could sit my younger self down for an entire day and give advice. But three of the biggest pieces I would impart are...firstly, never believe anyone who tells you they don’t see you in a specific role. If that’s where you see yourself and where you believe you can shine then stick at it and prove the doubters wrong. No one knows you better than you know yourself and use the doubt to drive you on.

Secondly, know that not every job is perfect and they tend to be less perfect in the early stages of your career when you’re trying to carve your path. It might be that you can’t stand your job, or your boss or the people around you but if it’s a job that will help you get to the next stage then head down and power through. Always remember it is a lucky person who gets to enjoy their job. So if it takes some years of disgruntlement and dissatisfaction to get to where you’re happy, that’s the sacrifice you have to pay. I always suggest asking yourself: ‘What’s your alternative choice?’ Often the alternatives are not as good. And, finally, over prepare. In everything you do. If you do this, you’ll never come unstuck.”

Shea Serrano, writer and best-selling author, The Ringer

I would tell my younger self three things:

1. Always say yes. If someone asks you to do a work thing, just say yes. It doesn't matter if you know how to do it or not. Just say yes and then trust yourself to figure it out. I remember one time MTV asked me to make some pop culture postcards for them for the holidays one year. I had no idea how to do it, but what I did know was that they were gonna pay me several hundred dollars to them. So when they called and asked if it was something I knew how to do, I was just like, ‘Yup. I got you. I do it all the time.’ That's how I tried to handle everything. I didn't know how to write a book until I wrote a book, you know what I'm saying?

2. Don't be late. There are absolutely some people who were born with a natural gift for writing and storytelling; just brilliant, exceptional people birthed with brilliant, exceptional talent in their bones. Not me, though. And that being the case, I knew I was never going to be able to keep up with those type of people if I was just depending on my own tiny amount of talent. So, as a way to supplement that, I just decided to try to never, ever, ever be late with an assignment. I would always turn my stuff in early, answer emails quickly, respond to phone calls immediately, so on and so forth. You can't control talent, but you can control work ethic is what I'm telling you. And in my experience, an editor is more likely to choose working with someone who's a decent writer but is super dependable over choosing to work with someone who is an exceptional writer but is unreliable.

3. Know that everyone gets kicked in the teeth a billion times before they ‘make it.’ This was the hardest thing to learn, and something that I'm still dealing with today. A lot of being a writer is pitching stories and ideas and then either a) never hearing back, or b) hearing back but it's a no. It's hard not to take it personal when it happens, because it always seems to feel like they're turning you down, not like they're turning your ideas down. But, as I've come to learn, it happens to everyone all the time. I mean, just think on it like, I'm a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author. That's a real and true thing. And still, it doesn't matter. I get turned down for things literally every week. It's just the way it goes. You gotta just keep going. Because that's really the main difference that separates someone who makes it from someone who doesn't. The person who made it was the one who kept getting up after getting kicked in the teeth. The person who didn't make it didn't get up.

Erika Nardini, Barstool Sports CEO

“You do not look good with short hair, don’t try it. Don’t work away your 20s. Bigger companies don’t necessarily give you bigger chances for success. Don’t worry about how one job relates to the next. There’s a thru-line in there somewhere and the right person/company will see it.”

Adam Schefter, ESPN NFL insider and podcast host

“What I would tell my younger self is the exact advice I did try to tell my younger self; I just couldn't listen to it, not in the way I wanted because I was so consumed with trying to land a sports reporting job or advancing once I had it.

Back when I was at the University of Michigan in the late 1980s, my college roommates and I discovered this poem called The Station, by Robert J. Hastings. We would read it and remind each other of it, and we even put it at the end of a video we made at the end of our senior year, as we were graduating, one final reminder of lessons we all should learn. It's good advice for any young person in any young field—better than anything I can offer. I never like when people lean on a poem to try to convey thoughts, but I believe it's valuable advice for anyone just getting started—or even finishing up.”

The Station, by Robert J. Hastings

Tucked away in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision in which we see ourselves on a long journey that spans an entire continent. We’re traveling by train and, from the windows, we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at crossings, of cattle grazing in distant pastures, of smoke pouring from power plants, of row upon row upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our conscious minds is our final destination—for at a certain hour and on a given day, our train will finally pull into the Station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands playing. And once that day comes, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So restlessly, we pace the aisles and count the miles, peering ahead, waiting, waiting, waiting for the Station.

“Yes, when we reach the Station, that will be it!” we promise ourselves. “When we’re eighteen. . . win that promotion. . . put the last kid through college. . . buy that 450SL Mercedes-Benz. . . have a nest egg for retirement!” From that day on we will all live happily ever after.

Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no Station in this life, no one earthly place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The Station is an illusion—it constantly outdistances us. Yesterday’s a memory, tomorrow’s a dream. Yesterday belongs to a history, tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday’s a fading sunset, tomorrow’s a faint sunrise. Only today is there light enough to love and live.

So, gently close the door on yesterday and throw the key away. It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad, but rather the regret over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.

“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, swim more rivers, climb more mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more and cry less. Go barefoot oftener. Eat more ice cream. Ride more merry-go-rounds. Watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we go along. The Station will come soon enough.

Amy Trask, NFL analyst, CBS Sports

“I would tell my younger self: listen to your mom. The best advice I have ever been given was imparted to me by my mom: to thine own self be true. (As an aside, I will note that it wasn’t until I was almost out of college that I learned that these wise words were those spoken by Polonius to Laertes in Hamlet. While one might then say that my advice to my younger self would be to follow the words of Shakespeare, I shall always consider this the advice my mom shared with me.)

My mom repeated this advice (over and over), as moms are wont to do. I sometimes rolled my eyes, as kids are wont to do.

While it is unequivocally the best advice I have ever received, I didn’t always follow it. I heeded this advice for the most part and when I did I was my strongest and my most capable. I am my best when I am myself, as my mom advised me to be. But there were times I didn’t follow this advice and instead tried to be something or someone I was not and in those instances not only was I not my best, I stumbled and bumbled and fumbled. It just doesn’t work for me to try to be what I am not.

So my advice to my younger self is quite simple: listen to your mom even (or especially) in those instances in which you may be tempted to ignore or don’t believe you need to follow her advice and ‘to thine own self be true.’”

Beth Mowins, ESPN and CBS Sports play-by-play announcer

“I would tell my younger self to keep a journal. I wish I had the ability to look back over the years and recall where I have been and what I have done. It doesn't have to be much...even just a few sentences about games and places and people. So many great stories have been lost in my memory banks and I wish I could bring some back. We are lucky to spend time with amazing players and coaches and it would be nice to have a journal to reflect on the good times with the people in this business. Enjoy the journey...and jot it down. It's important because you want to pass on knowledge to the younger people in this business. It's always nice to have a story to tell about ‘when I was your age,’ or be able to say, ‘I went through something similar’ and here's what happened. It can also help you do your job better by providing some historical perspective to the games you are covering. I enjoy a good quote or a funny anecdote as much as the next person. Sportscasting is still about relationships with people and the more connections you can make the better off you will be.”

Don Van Natta Jr., ESPN senior writer and investigative reporter

“Relax, kid. Don’t sweat the small stuff. And what’s ‘the small stuff,’ you ask? The highlight reel of all the indignities and idiocy that will comprise a 30-year journalism career: the published mistakes (yours and others); the big-footing colleagues; the years (or decades) of no raises; the editors who merrily drive lawn mowers through your copy; the slammed doors and the hung-up phones; the grounded late-night flights and canceled summer vacations; the sources who lie to you or about you; the Christmas Eve calls from long-winded bosses; the scoops that get away; the ‘fake news’-spewing ‘readers’ who don’t read a word of what you write; the rabid fans who will only hear fraudulent, bumper-sticker characterizations of your stories on WEEI in Boston; the omnipresent drumbeat of job cuts.

In the wide-open canvas of a career, nearly all of it amounts to small stuff. Trust me, it’s true. So keep reminding yourself of that. And don’t frown so damn much.

Being a journalist in America is still one of the best jobs in the world, despite everything. Think about it: you get paid to find the truth and report it to an audience starving for it. When things go wrong—and they often will—don’t let those moments trip you up. Just roll with it, cold-call the next would-be source and chase the next scoop with as much as confidence and swagger as you mustered the day before.

You don’t know this now but the friends you make in this business will last far longer than the best stories you’ll write and the best prizes you’ll win. And all the fun you’re going to have will far eclipse the days of failure and frustration. Remember, kid: 10,000 writers would give anything to have your nickels-paying, out-in-the-boondocks job. So…

Count your blessings. Embrace the good. Savor every moment. And smile.”

Candace Buckner, The Washington Post Wizards writer

“When I talk to young journalists, I always tell them to read more than just the sports page, network, and write daily—three things I should’ve done better when I was their age. But if I could give my younger self some advice, it would be pointed and simple: don’t bury your head into journalism, get out and experience life.

I was a focused kid when I arrived at Mizzou, with set-in-stone goals that centered on getting into J-School then becoming the next Willow Bay or Robin Roberts. I worked my tail off, held down a couple jobs and ran a floor in my dorm. I didn’t mess around and while I dig that about young Candace, I wish I would’ve told myself: Chill, homie, and go do real life. Go spend a summer abroad and learn something about the world outside of your perfectly-crafted tiny universe you have at Columbia, Mo. I needed more experience. While I don’t dare to think that if I would’ve gone to Thailand at 22 years old, then I would have this whole life thing all figured out (people who do that are the worst), I do believe that traveling and experiencing other cultures would’ve opened up a lifetime of learning, which in turn would make me a better writer and reporter. When I was younger, I was racing. But it would’ve OK to slow down and live.”

Mike Arnold, CBS Sports lead NFL director

“I guess the advice I'd give my younger self is to keep working hard and eventually things will work out. I remember first starting out in television as a runner with ABC Sports and was so disappointed when I didn't get a full time job with them after spending about 3-4 years working countless weekends trying to land a position. I figured I'd end up back home in Scottsdale working somewhere but probably not in television. I even applied to the city of Phoenix to work in the public information office and didn't get a response. Luckily, I had some young ABC production assistants in my corner because when Terry O'Neil left ABC Sports and came over to CBS Sports, David Dinkins, Jr. and Peter Lasser (those two production assistants) told O'Neil that I should be the first production assistant hired at CBS Sports. O'Neil hired me. That was 1981 and I'm still here at CBS.”

Kerith Burke, Warriors reporter, NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California

“I’d like to tell my younger self, ‘you’re on the right path, and your path is your own.’ I fall back on this advice in many situations to calm the worry hamster in my head who likes to hop on its wheel and churn the night away. I try to remind myself that when it comes to jobs on this path, talent, timing, and luck all play a role. Only one of those I can control.

This advice overlaps with something else: Jealousy is a useless emotion. Coming out of college, I was too concerned with others. I was envious about not working for the No. 1 station, or wondered why a colleague got an assignment I knew I could do well. This stemmed from my insecurity, and not knowing healthy ways to aim my ambition. I had to grow up. As I grew up, my path braided with friends in the industry to make us stronger. Don’t compete against your colleagues, befriend them. There’s plenty of room for all of us. It feels best to walk together.”

Dianna Russini, ESPN NFL reporter and studio host

“Don’t lose touch with those who have helped you grow both professionally and personally. You hear it all the time, ‘be good to everyone,’ but the reality is life gets busy and we all get consumed. It isn’t until you are in a tough spot professionally or maybe even without a job that you start realizing you should have built stronger relationships with those who have put themselves out for your own benefit. Just a few years ago, I was unemployed, living with my parents and looking for work in local sports. I was miserable and the market was worse. About seven years prior, when I was in college at George Mason University, I had reached out to random news directors in the NY/NJ/CT area looking for internships during my summer break. One news director was kind enough to write back to share that he had no openings but to stay in touch. I didn’t. Fast forward to the year I was looking for work and that same news director, Mike St. Peter, who was still the news director at NBC Connecticut, kindly answered my email once again. I always regretted I never sent him a note or even checked in on him over the years since he didn’t have to write back to a college student with zero experience, and I needed him now.

This time he brought me in for an interview, and days later, he hired me as a sports/news reporter. That was the start of my career. Under his leadership, he allowed me to be part of breaking news coverage at Sandy Hook Elementary and the Boston Marathon bombings. It turned out he wasn’t just a good e-mailer but a superb newsroom leader. He took a really big chance on me when in reality I had done nothing to give him security that I was a good reporter or even a decent human being. Every year since I don’t make the same mistake. I send Mike, who has now moved on to become President and General Manager of NBC Boston, a note to just say, thanks for giving me a chance when nobody would take a call. He usually responds with something that lets me know he’s proud. Work hard at your craft but you can’t do it alone. Appreciate those who help because you never know.”

Andrea Kremer, NFL Network reporter and HBO Real Sports correspondent

“I would tell my younger self to try and enjoy the moment more. For decades, I was so focused on what’s the next story...the next game...the next big interview....the next important issue that I rarely enjoyed ‘the moment.’ This is not one of these New Age epiphanies but there have been seminal moments of my career that I wish I had relished more. In retrospect, I think it felt anathema to me to ‘enjoy’ the moment as though I equated that with being a fan and not a serious journalist but that is wrong. After more than two decades in television my realization came in 2008 as I prepared to cover the single greatest event in my career (to date)—Michael Phelps’ quest for his eighth gold medal. I specifically thought about the historical aspect of the day and my small role in it as I was headed to the pool deck. It was meaningful for what it taught me at that time and moving forward. Now it’s a learning lesson I try to impart to younger broadcasters in lieu of my younger self.”

J.A. Adande, director of sports journalism at Northwestern University

“On a practical level, I'd tell myself to invest in the company 401k at the earliest opportunity and to the maximum tax-exempt amounts. And if not eligible, open an IRA. The last thing a 21-year-old thinks about is retirement planning.

I am curious what would have happened if I had told my younger self to stick with my original goal of being a play-by-play announcer. I got a taste of working game broadcasts while doing sidelines the past few years and it kind of made me wish I had charted a course toward sitting in that No. 1 seat. Still, I doubt it would have led to me working 20 NBA Finals in addition to just about every other major sporting event, so I think younger me got it right.”

Suzanne Smith, CBS Sports director and the first woman to direct NFL games fulltime

Dear Suzanne,

You are about to embark on an amazing journey. One full of adventure, excitement and challenges. Hard work, your attitude, respect and integrity will be the cornerstones.

Some basic rules

Treat EVERYONE equally, from your runners to the CEO. Work as hard as you can. Tackle each task like it’s the last, then work harder. Understand that every job is important. Speak up. Your ideas have value, even in a room of people with more experience. Take risks, don’t be afraid to fail. Send handwritten thank you notes. If you’re not early, you’re late.

Take advantage of the skills you’ve gained as an athlete

Be a leader and a team player. Be competitive while working with your colleagues. First to arrive, last to leave. Inspire others. Rise to the occasion when the pressure is on.

On the practical side

Invest in a good piece of luggage, one with wheels! Dress like a professional, not like you are in your college dorm. Keep a journal, keep your credentials, photos. Don’t be in a rush to get from one event to the next. Take the time to soak it all in. Don’t assume your boss knows what you want to do. Be proactive about your assignments and the events you want to be a part of.

The boys club

Be yourself. You will never be one of the boys, stop trying. The day you accept this, things will be easier. The day you realize you don’t WANT to be part of ‘the club,’ your world will change.

Family and friends

Balancing your career and life will be challenging at times. You will have to make sacrifices to be successful in this industry. Remember, your family, partner and friends are affected as well.

You got this

It’s not enough to dream your dreams. You’ve got to pursue your dreams. No, it’s not always easy but if it was easy, anybody could do it. Always remember and remind those around you that it is a privilege to be a part of some of the most coveted sporting events in the world. Believe in yourself and let your passions be your guide. Enjoy your amazing journey.”

Tim Brando, Fox Sports play-by-play announcer

“Many times as sportscasters we talk about players that sometimes force it, or press their efforts as opposed to letting the game come to them. Ours is a totally subjective craft and for everyone that loves your work there will always be those that don’t. I’m blessed to have had a career that’s spanned four decades with ESPN as its starting point, then a quick transition to Turner, and then an 18-year run at CBS, before joining FOX four years ago. Honestly, only now do I personally believe I’m as grateful and feel as privileged as I always should have to do what I love for a living. Type A’s are littered throughout sports television and most of us want to get the top assignments in live sports television. I wouldn’t change my path, but I would recommend if I had the chance to start over to have enjoyed the journey by living more in the moment than I did. Breaking into syndicated play-by-play in 1982-83 with Raycom/Jefferson Pilot and making ESPN freelance appearances as a play-by-play man in my mid 20’s in 1985 had me thinking that was my calling. But upon my arrival to Bristol in late 1986 the suits saw me as a studio talent first! I fought that and I probably should have embraced it far more; it did help me later in securing a gig at the ‘Tiffany’ Network, CBS. I loved what I was doing, but shouldn’t have been so concerned with what’s next!

‘Tim, slow down, you’re in a great spot, don’t worry so much about what’s next,’ my old departed friend John Saunders would say. He was right. I tell young broadcasters all the time to enjoy the journey and the relationships that come with it. A wonderful collection of people that could put me in places to succeed have always been there for me. They (the suits) want to know how privileged you feel. I would tell myself if I were younger, to let them know that, and stop worrying about chasing the next great gig. You’ve already got a really good one. Keep loving it, performing it and good things will come your way. I’ve found that understanding your role, and giving the employer your best in that role is not only better, but allows for greater fullness of life.”

Nancy Armour, sports columnist, USA Today

“Develop your own voice.

Find writers whose work—and work ethic—you admire, and study what they do and how they do it. Learn from them and make use of any tips or guidance they share, but don’t make the mistake of trying to be them. There will only be one Dave Anderson or Jim Litke or Jackie MacMullan or Leonard Pitts, and trying to write in a voice or style that isn’t your own will come across as forced and inauthentic. Find your voice, your style and the writing will flow better.

Learn from your mistakes.

Mistakes are going to happen, it’s human nature. You will beat yourself up something awful and forever cringe at the memory of it. But make sure you learn from it, too. Recognizing how and why the mistake occurred is the surest way to avoid doing it again in the future.

Expand your world.

Read books and listen to podcasts about things that have nothing to do with your job or the sport(s) you cover. Have friends and interests outside the business. There’s a risk of getting stale and jaded when you are immersed in the same thing day after day, week after week, year after year. Getting outside your bubble is the best way of guarding against that—and also a reminder that what we do is pretty damn cool.

Don’t be afraid to fail.

When I was 13, my father gave me some advice that influences me to this day. I won’t bore you with the whole story, but the gist was that you should never let the fear of failure, or fear in general, stop you from doing something. Wondering ‘What if?’ after you’ve let an opportunity pass will haunt you longer than any embarrassment you might have suffered, and nothing empowers you quite like tackling your fears head on.

Enjoy the ride.

We have fun, interesting jobs that most people envy when they hear about them. It’s easy to forget that with deadlines, the stress over the state of the business and the pressure of always having to do more. But every once in a while, take a breather and remember what drew you to the profession in the first place.”

Kenny Albert, Fox Sports and NBC Sports play-by-play announcer

“Work, work, work! Preparation will be the key to a career in sports broadcasting. Read everything you can get your hands on. Look into internships during your high school and college years, but also get as many reps as you can on-air. If a local cable station happens to visit your high school to film a girls basketball game, volunteer to do the play-by-play. Perhaps they will offer you hundreds of other games in all sports over the next three years, which could prove to be the most invaluable experience you could ever ask for.

Practice makes perfect! Also be sure to learn other positions—producing, editing, writing, keeping statistics, etc. Watch and listen to as many games as possible—to absorb both announcing styles and information via osmosis. If your initial goal is hockey radio play-by-play, send tapes out to as many teams as possible all over North America. Don't be afraid of 10-hour bus rides. Working in the minor leagues could wind up among the most important and memorable years of your professional career.”

Adnan Virk, ESPN studio host and play-by-play announcer

“I would tell myself to ignore all the trolls. When people ask me for advice in this business it can be epitomized in two words: thick skin. No matter what people may tweet at you, no matter how disparaging or hateful it may be, don’t let it affect you emotionally, or your performance in any manner. I would also tell my younger self to pay more attention to the 1984 Orange Bowl between Nebraska and Miami since one day improbably I would be the studio host for CFB and such background would be more helpful rather than watching the Gretzky-era Oilers dynasty in bloom.”

Mina Kimes, ESPN reporter and columnist

"I would have told my younger self to take more creative risks. At the beginning of my career, I was terrified of failure, so I always pursued projects that I knew I could execute. But I've since learned that the best stories are the ones that seem insurmountable—not just when the reporting is difficult, but also when an idea feels murky at the outset. I wish I had been more daring early on, because my greatest experiences as a writer have been ones that teetered on the edge."

THE NOISE REPORT

1a. As expected, there was immense pushback from viewers on the decision by Turner Sports to buck longstanding Selection Sunday tradition and reveal all the teams in the NCAA tournament field prior to the bracket itself. The phrase “Selection Show” trended on Twitter long after the show ended and Twitter compiled reaction from an angry crowd of sports viewers. The most notable response, from all places, was this laugh-out-loud tweet from the Lawrence (Ks.) Police. What I wrote in 2016 holds true today: “Front-load the program so that all the brackets are revealed within the first 35 minutes and spend the next 85 minutes going heavy on analysis and interviews. If the analysis is good, people are not going to abandon your channel just because the brackets are in. Obviously, this is a high profile property and CBS is in the business of keeping you around to make money but the pacing on Sunday was a huge miss. Viewers will revolt if they think you are stringing them along, which is how it felt watching.” This from the Kansas City Star and this from SI’s Jimmy Traina cover the reactions.

1b. ESPN NFL analyst Louis Riddick is not a man of moderate opinions and goals. He wants to be part of Monday Night Football and has no problem letting the world know of his interest, including his bosses at ESPN.

“This is something that has been a goal of mind and ESPN is very well aware that I am very interested in it,” said Riddick, this week’s guest on the SI Media Podcast. “It is the pinnacle of broadcasting as far as I am concerned, the most iconic position in broadcasting. To be involved with Monday Night Football either as a play-by-play person or analyst is something I am hoping I can achieve.”

Asked what ESPN management’s response has been to Riddick’s interest, Riddick said, “It has been very favorable. They are well aware of it. I think you saw my interest in being a part of a live broadcast, a live game, with my involvement with the Pro Bowl this year and that only scratched the surface of what I think I am capable of doing with that kind of platform. I am fired up about the possibility of being involved with the brand of Monday Night Football in any way shape or form and I think the next couple of weeks and months as ESPN figures out where they want to go with that are going to be awfully exciting for me personally.”

As the guest on Episode 168 of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast, Riddick addressed many topics including what separates a good NFL broadcaster versus an average one; how he has attempted to improve as a broadcaster; his candidness on issues and why too often former players pull punches on the air; how he navigates being a candidate for NFL general manager jobs versus working at ESPN; his thoughts when someone does not report on him accurately; how he approaches discussing social issues or politics on social media; playing under Nick Saban and Bill Belichick in Cleveland; Saban’s attention to detail and what makes him different than other coaches; how the Browns should approach holding the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in the NFL Draft, and much more. To listen to the podcast in full, check it out on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.

PODCAST BREAKDOWN:

• 1:00: What separates a good NFL broadcaster from an average one.

• 2:50: How has Riddick improved as a broadcaster and how much film he watches on his own work.

• 6:40: The aesthetics of sports broadcasting.

• 9:30: Being candid about NFL personnel people and trying to take people behind the curtain of the NFL

• 14:15: Playing for Bill Bellichick and Nick Saban and what separates Saban from other coaches.

• 20:20: Interviewing for general manager jobs while working for ESPN.

• 24:30: Other media writing about him, and his reaction to what he says is incorrect reporting.

• 33:00: What would happen if a mid-season GM job came up.

• 35:20: His approach to social media when it comes to social issues and politics.

• 36:40 His interest in being on Monday Night Football.

• 41:00: Tony Romo’s work this year on CBS and Riddick's preparation for the NFL Draft.

• 47:20: How he believes the Browns will approach the No. 1 and No. 4 overall pick.

• 51:00: How he would approach the end of Tom Brady’s career if he were Patriots management.

2. SI legal analyst Michael McCann analyzed Adrienne Lawrence’s lawsuit against ESPN and the company’s possible defenses.

2a. As SI first reported, Michael Smith’s last day as an ESPN SportsCenter host was Friday.

2b. ESPN jettisoned Sean McDonough out of the Monday Night Football booth despite public votes of confidence from management as recent as just a few months ago. On a positive note for viewers, McDonough signed a new multi-year extension and will rejoin ESPN’s college football team this fall. His assignments will include weekly college football games, as well as a College Football Playoff Semifinal. He will continue to call the CFP National Championship on ESPN Radio, marquee college basketball games, The Masters Par 3 contest and more.

3. How to Watch—And What to Expect From—the Winter Paralympics 2018 on NBC.

4. Sports pieces of note:

• From Indianapolis Star reporters Tim Evans, Joe Guillen, Gina Kaufman, Marisa Kwiatkowski, Matt Mencarini and Mark Alesia: How Larry Nassar abused hundreds of gymnasts and eluded justice for decades.

• A remarkable thread on the KHL from reporter Slava Malamud:

• From Juliet Macur of The New York Times: Suicides, Drug Addiction and High School Football.

Cody Rhodes is carving his own path in memory of his father, "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, from Mike Piellucci of The Ringer.

• Kevin Love, for The Players Tribune, on suffering panic attacks.

New York Times writer Harvey Araton profiled St. John’s coach Chris Mullin.

• ESPN’s Wright Thompson on Ichiro.

• SI’s Lee Jenkins profiled Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey.

• Steve Francis, for The Players Tribune, on his unlikely journey to the NBA.

• The Athletic’s Levi Weaver on Tim Lincecum.

• From ESPN.com’s Susan Ninan: India's Rugby Revolution.

Non-sports pieces of note

The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer on Christopher Steele.

• Via The Atlantic’s Rachel Monroe: The Perfect Man Who Wasn't.

• Via Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times: For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned.

Fifteen women The New York Times overlooked for obituaries.

• From Josh Dean of Bloomberg Businessweek: America Is Giving Away the $30 Billion Medical Marijuana Industry.

• From Eric Adler of The Kansas City Star: Missouri is a destination wedding spot—for 15-year-old brides.

This is my final piece (at least for awhile) for Sports Illustrated. It is a weird sentence to write. This was the singular place I dreamed of working for as a young person and to have worked here for two decades has been an immense professional privilege. SI paid for me to travel the world—I covered seven Olympic Games—and trusted me with assignments that meant a great deal to me, including the Women’s Final Four and the U.S. Open. I was able to work for every part of the editorial brand, from Swimsuit to SI.com to SI Commemoratives, and spent two years helping edit SI For Women (RIP).

It has been an amazing place to work and I leave feeling as close to the brand as I did when SI published my first byline in 1998 about Howie Young, an NHL defenseman for the Red Wings who drank himself out of professional sports before sobering up and finding a second life in Thoreau, N.M., a predominantly Navajo community two hours west of Albuquerque, as a mild-mannered bus driver for the McKinley County public schools.

There are many colleagues that I want to cite publicly for helping and educating me along the journey but I’ll do that in a post on my own social channels. I’ll announce soon enough what’s next but thank you for reading me here, for listening to the podcast and for having an interest in what my SI colleagues and I do professionally.

<p>TORONTO – The “Letters To My Younger Self” series from the Players Tribune has been among the most interesting things the digital publication has done. While the editorial conceit <a href="http://www.oprah.com/spirit/celebrities-letters-to-younger-selves/all" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:existed long before The Players Tribune" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">existed long before The Players Tribune</a>, the publication has received well-deserved praise for the series, including very thoughtful pieces bylined by <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/letter-to-my-younger-self-quentin-richardson/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Quentin Richardson" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Quentin Richardson</a>, <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/author/mike-bossy/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mike Bossy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Mike Bossy</a> and <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/damon-stoudamire-nba-letter-to-my-younger-self/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Damon Stoudamire" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Damon Stoudamire</a>. For the column below, I swiped the concept to ask a number of people in the sports media the following question: <em>What specific career advice would you give your younger self and why?</em> Here’s how they answered:</p><h3><strong>Ian Eagle, CBS Sports play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“I would start off by giving the younger version of myself some practical advice. Don&#39;t eat at a suspect Chinese restaurant in San Francisco before flying on a red-eye with a window seat (trust me on this one). </p><p>If you&#39;re fortunate enough to make it in this highly competitive business, don&#39;t take for granted the chair that you occupy. Take the time to truly appreciate the unique moments along the way—a spectacular NFL Sunday in Foxboro, a raucous crowd at Phog Allen Fieldhouse, or the electricity inside Air Canada Centre in Toronto. It&#39;s easy to get caught up in the preparation and minutia of your assignment, but don&#39;t forget to be present and soak up the atmosphere.</p><p>When you&#39;re young you tend to focus on just your role in the broadcast, as you get older and gain experience you begin to value every person on the crew and the sheer enormity of the production you&#39;re working on. The announcer is a small piece of the puzzle and although you may be front and center, you won&#39;t be successful without the hard work and dedication of others. In addition, be a well rounded person with knowledge that extends beyond the two teams you&#39;re covering—pop culture, world news, social issues may be topics of conversation during a broadcast when you least expect it, be prepared for anything. I would also advise my younger self that nobody cares if your flight was delayed or the people in the hotel room next to you traveled a small chicuacua with them—all that matters is being totally focused and locked-in the moment you go on the air. And have fun!! This isn&#39;t brain surgery (but if you&#39;re a well-rounded person you&#39;d be able to perform that if necessary).”</p><h3><strong>Joe Buck, Fox Sports play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“Keep on your path. Don&#39;t let the ‘noise’ creep in as the years go by. Social media will be both a blessing and a curse. Take it for what it is and be you. Don&#39;t let the ‘he tries to be funny too much’ criticism from a certain columnist from the <em>New York Post</em> affect what you do. Be you. See a therapist before your late 30s—you have a lot of issues to work through. And for the love of God, sleep through your eighth hair transplant appointment in 2011. Trust me, it&#39;s for the best.”</p><h3><strong>Marty Smith, ESPN host and reporter</strong></h3><p><em>“Dear Younger Me...</em></p><p><em>Offering you advice seems ungrateful and haughty, as if you need a different direction. Listen up: You don’t. </em><em>You don’t know it yet, but you’re blessed with a life beyond the craziest fantasy world you could ever conjure. </em><em>So let it ride.</em></p><p><em>Live the Golden Rule. </em></p><p><em>Be kind. Work hard. </em></p><p><em>Head up. Nose down. </em></p><p><em>Heart full. Always. </em></p><p><em>Even when it&#39;s empty.</em></p><p><em>Passion never loses. You’ll meet folks with better looks and more talent and a fancier degree. </em></p><p><em>You’ll never meet anybody with more passion. It’s the one thing you can control. Own it. It&#39;ll take you awhile to gain comfort in that space, but your gut is correct—it’s the right way.</em></p><p><em>Momma always said every man is equal, and deserves respect when he gives it. She’s right. </em><em>Keep treating people well. It matters.</em></p><p><em>Status is fleeting. It’s a drug. It’s a fake title. Authenticity and loyalty are eternal—and hard to come by. Embrace them. </em></p><p><em>Just do you. It’s unorthodox and it’s different, and I know some of the traditional cats are giving you a big ol&#39; ration of s*** for it right now. It hurts, but don’t let on. They&#39;ll come around. </em></p><p><em>You liked to be liked. That will never leave you. You’ll eventually be able to admit it openly and be cool with the admittance.</em></p><p><em>Champion your wife and include her in your triumphs and experiences. They’re so much richer when you share them together. </em></p><p><em>Walk your Faith. This will be a boomerang for you. You&#39;ll let it fly away for a time, but when you seek it, it&#39;ll come back.</em></p><p><em>So the advice: </em><em>Don’t concern yourself with awards. You’ll never win any.</em></p><p><em>Raise some hell, you’re pretty good at it. (Just maybe not as much as you’re raising right now.) </em></p><p><em>Go home and spend some of those hours with Momma and Daddy. You won’t have them for long. </em></p><p><em>And just so you know, Marty: All those eye-roll lessons Daddy preaches constantly about accountability and respect and hard work and the indescribable privilege of being American, and the pride of your last name? </em></p><p><em>Write them down. </em><em>He’s right.”</em></p><h3><strong>Rebecca Lowe, NBC Sports host</strong></h3><p>“I could sit my younger self down for an entire day and give advice. But three of the biggest pieces I would impart are...firstly, never believe anyone who tells you they don’t see you in a specific role. If that’s where you see yourself and where you believe you can shine then stick at it and prove the doubters wrong. No one knows you better than you know yourself and use the doubt to drive you on.</p><p>Secondly, know that not every job is perfect and they tend to be less perfect in the early stages of your career when you’re trying to carve your path. It might be that you can’t stand your job, or your boss or the people around you but if it’s a job that will help you get to the next stage then head down and power through. Always remember it is a lucky person who gets to enjoy their job. So if it takes some years of disgruntlement and dissatisfaction to get to where you’re happy, that’s the sacrifice you have to pay. I always suggest asking yourself: ‘What’s your alternative choice?’ Often the alternatives are not as good. And, finally, over prepare. In everything you do. If you do this, you’ll never come unstuck.”</p><h3><strong>Shea Serrano, writer and best-selling author, <em>The Ringer</em></strong></h3><p><em>“</em>I would tell my younger self three things:</p><p><strong>1. Always say yes.</strong> If someone asks you to do a work thing, just say yes. It doesn&#39;t matter if you know how to do it or not. Just say yes and then trust yourself to figure it out. I remember one time MTV asked me to make some pop culture postcards for them for the holidays one year. I had no idea how to do it, but what I did know was that they were gonna pay me several hundred dollars to them. So when they called and asked if it was something I knew how to do, I was just like, ‘Yup. I got you. I do it all the time.’ That&#39;s how I tried to handle everything. I didn&#39;t know how to write a book until I wrote a book, you know what I&#39;m saying?</p><p><strong>2. Don&#39;t be late.</strong> There are absolutely some people who were born with a natural gift for writing and storytelling; just brilliant, exceptional people birthed with brilliant, exceptional talent in their bones. Not me, though. And that being the case, I knew I was never going to be able to keep up with those type of people if I was just depending on my own tiny amount of talent. So, as a way to supplement that, I just decided to try to never, ever, ever be late with an assignment. I would always turn my stuff in early, answer emails quickly, respond to phone calls immediately, so on and so forth. You can&#39;t control talent, but you can control work ethic is what I&#39;m telling you. And in my experience, an editor is more likely to choose working with someone who&#39;s a decent writer but is super dependable over choosing to work with someone who is an exceptional writer but is unreliable.</p><p><strong>3. Know that everyone gets kicked in the teeth a billion times before they ‘make it.’ </strong>This was the hardest thing to learn, and something that I&#39;m still dealing with today. A lot of being a writer is pitching stories and ideas and then either a) never hearing back, or b) hearing back but it&#39;s a no. It&#39;s hard not to take it personal when it happens, because it always seems to feel like they&#39;re turning you down, not like they&#39;re turning your ideas down. But, as I&#39;ve come to learn, it happens to everyone all the time. I mean, just think on it like, I&#39;m a No. 1 <em>New York Times</em> bestselling author. That&#39;s a real and true thing. And still, it doesn&#39;t matter. I get turned down for things literally every week. It&#39;s just the way it goes. You gotta just keep going. Because that&#39;s really the main difference that separates someone who makes it from someone who doesn&#39;t. The person who made it was the one who kept getting up after getting kicked in the teeth. The person who didn&#39;t make it didn&#39;t get up.</p><h3><strong>Erika Nardini, Barstool Sports CEO</strong></h3><p>“You do not look good with short hair, don’t try it. Don’t work away your 20s. Bigger companies don’t necessarily give you bigger chances for success. Don’t worry about how one job relates to the next. There’s a thru-line in there somewhere and the right person/company will see it.”</p><h3><strong>Adam Schefter, ESPN NFL insider and podcast host</strong></h3><p>“What I would tell my younger self is the exact advice I did try to tell my younger self; I just couldn&#39;t listen to it, not in the way I wanted because I was so consumed with trying to land a sports reporting job or advancing once I had it.</p><p>Back when I was at the University of Michigan in the late 1980s, my college roommates and I discovered this poem called <em>The Station</em>, by Robert J. Hastings. We would read it and remind each other of it, and we even put it at the end of a video we made at the end of our senior year, as we were graduating, one final reminder of lessons we all should learn. It&#39;s good advice for any young person in any young field—better than anything I can offer. I never like when people lean on a poem to try to convey thoughts, but I believe it&#39;s valuable advice for anyone just getting started—or even finishing up.”</p><p>The Station, by Robert J. Hastings</p><p><em>Tucked away in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision in which we see ourselves on a long journey that spans an entire continent. We’re traveling by train and, from the windows, we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at crossings, of cattle grazing in distant pastures, of smoke pouring from power plants, of row upon row upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of city skylines and village halls.</em></p><p><em>But uppermost in our conscious minds is our final destination—for at a certain hour and on a given day, our train will finally pull into the Station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands playing. And once that day comes, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So restlessly, we pace the aisles and count the miles, peering ahead, waiting, waiting, waiting for the Station.</em></p><p><em>“Yes, when we reach the Station, that will be it!” we promise ourselves. “When we’re eighteen. . . win that promotion. . . put the last kid through college. . . buy that 450SL Mercedes-Benz. . . have a nest egg for retirement!” From that day on we will all live happily ever after.</em></p><p><em>Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no Station in this life, no one earthly place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The Station is an illusion—it constantly outdistances us. Yesterday’s a memory, tomorrow’s a dream. Yesterday belongs to a history, tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday’s a fading sunset, tomorrow’s a faint sunrise. Only today is there light enough to love and live.</em></p><p><em>So, gently close the door on yesterday and throw the key away. It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad, but rather the regret over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.</em></p><p><em>“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”</em></p><p><em>So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, swim more rivers, climb more mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more and cry less. Go barefoot oftener. Eat more ice cream. Ride more merry-go-rounds. Watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we go along. The Station will come soon enough.</em></p><h3><strong>Amy Trask, NFL analyst, CBS Sports</strong></h3><p>“I would tell my younger self: listen to your mom. The best advice I have ever been given was imparted to me by my mom: to thine own self be true. (As an aside, I will note that it wasn’t until I was almost out of college that I learned that these wise words were those spoken by Polonius to Laertes in Hamlet. While one might then say that my advice to my younger self would be to follow the words of Shakespeare, I shall always consider this the advice my mom shared with me.) </p><p>My mom repeated this advice (over and over), as moms are wont to do. I sometimes rolled my eyes, as kids are wont to do.</p><p>While it is unequivocally the best advice I have ever received, I didn’t always follow it. I heeded this advice for the most part and when I did I was my strongest and my most capable. I am my best when I am myself, as my mom advised me to be. But there were times I didn’t follow this advice and instead tried to be something or someone I was not and in those instances not only was I not my best, I stumbled and bumbled and fumbled. It just doesn’t work for me to try to be what I am not.</p><p>So my advice to my younger self is quite simple: listen to your mom even (or especially) in those instances in which you may be tempted to ignore or don’t believe you need to follow her advice and ‘to thine own self be true.’”</p><h3><strong>Beth Mowins, ESPN and CBS Sports play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“I would tell my younger self to keep a journal. I wish I had the ability to look back over the years and recall where I have been and what I have done. It doesn&#39;t have to be much...even just a few sentences about games and places and people. So many great stories have been lost in my memory banks and I wish I could bring some back. We are lucky to spend time with amazing players and coaches and it would be nice to have a journal to reflect on the good times with the people in this business. Enjoy the journey...and jot it down. It&#39;s important because you want to pass on knowledge to the younger people in this business. It&#39;s always nice to have a story to tell about ‘when I was your age,’ or be able to say, ‘I went through something similar’ and here&#39;s what happened. It can also help you do your job better by providing some historical perspective to the games you are covering. I enjoy a good quote or a funny anecdote as much as the next person. Sportscasting is still about relationships with people and the more connections you can make the better off you will be.”</p><h3><strong>Don Van Natta Jr., ESPN senior writer and investigative reporter</strong></h3><p>“Relax, kid. Don’t sweat the small stuff. And what’s ‘the small stuff,’ you ask? The highlight reel of all the indignities and idiocy that will comprise a 30-year journalism career: the published mistakes (yours and others); the big-footing colleagues; the years (or decades) of no raises; the editors who merrily drive lawn mowers through your copy; the slammed doors and the hung-up phones; the grounded late-night flights and canceled summer vacations; the sources who lie to you or about you; the Christmas Eve calls from long-winded bosses; the scoops that get away; the ‘fake news’-spewing ‘readers’ who don’t read a word of what you write; the rabid fans who will only hear fraudulent, bumper-sticker characterizations of your stories on WEEI in Boston; the omnipresent drumbeat of job cuts.</p><p>In the wide-open canvas of a career, nearly all of it amounts to small stuff. Trust me, it’s true. So keep reminding yourself of that. And don’t frown so damn much.</p><p>Being a journalist in America is still one of the best jobs in the world, despite everything. Think about it: you get paid to find the truth and report it to an audience starving for it. When things go wrong—and they often will—don’t let those moments trip you up. Just roll with it, cold-call the next would-be source and chase the next scoop with as much as confidence and swagger as you mustered the day before.</p><p>You don’t know this now but the friends you make in this business will last far longer than the best stories you’ll write and the best prizes you’ll win. And all the fun you’re going to have will far eclipse the days of failure and frustration. Remember, kid: 10,000 writers would give anything to have your nickels-paying, out-in-the-boondocks job. So…</p><p>Count your blessings. Embrace the good. Savor every moment. And smile.”</p><h3><strong>Candace Buckner, <em>The Washington Post</em> Wizards writer</strong></h3><p>“When I talk to young journalists, I always tell them to read more than just the sports page, network, and write daily—three things I should’ve done better when I was their age. But if I could give my younger self some advice, it would be pointed and simple: don’t bury your head into journalism, get out and experience life.</p><p>I was a focused kid when I arrived at Mizzou, with set-in-stone goals that centered on getting into J-School then becoming the next Willow Bay or Robin Roberts. I worked my tail off, held down a couple jobs and ran a floor in my dorm. I didn’t mess around and while I dig that about young Candace, I wish I would’ve told myself: <em>Chill, homie, and go do real life.</em> Go spend a summer abroad and learn something about the world outside of your perfectly-crafted tiny universe you have at Columbia, Mo. I needed more experience. While I don’t dare to think that if I would’ve gone to Thailand at 22 years old, then I would have this whole life thing all figured out (people who do that are the worst), I do believe that traveling and experiencing other cultures would’ve opened up a lifetime of learning, which in turn would make me a better writer and reporter. When I was younger, I was racing. But it would’ve OK to slow down and live.”</p><h3><strong>Mike Arnold, CBS Sports lead NFL director</strong></h3><p>“I guess the advice I&#39;d give my younger self is to keep working hard and eventually things will work out. I remember first starting out in television as a runner with ABC Sports and was so disappointed when I didn&#39;t get a full time job with them after spending about 3-4 years working countless weekends trying to land a position. I figured I&#39;d end up back home in Scottsdale working somewhere but probably not in television. I even applied to the city of Phoenix to work in the public information office and didn&#39;t get a response. Luckily, I had some young ABC production assistants in my corner because when Terry O&#39;Neil left ABC Sports and came over to CBS Sports, David Dinkins, Jr. and Peter Lasser (those two production assistants) told O&#39;Neil that I should be the first production assistant hired at CBS Sports. O&#39;Neil hired me. That was 1981 and I&#39;m still here at CBS.”</p><h3><strong>Kerith Burke, Warriors reporter, NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California</strong></h3><p>“I’d like to tell my younger self, ‘you’re on the right path, and your path is your own.’ I fall back on this advice in many situations to calm the worry hamster in my head who likes to hop on its wheel and churn the night away. I try to remind myself that when it comes to jobs on this path, talent, timing, and luck all play a role. Only one of those I can control.</p><p>This advice overlaps with something else: Jealousy is a useless emotion. Coming out of college, I was too concerned with others. I was envious about not working for the No. 1 station, or wondered why a colleague got an assignment I knew I could do well. This stemmed from my insecurity, and not knowing healthy ways to aim my ambition. I had to grow up. As I grew up, my path braided with friends in the industry to make us stronger. Don’t compete against your colleagues, befriend them. There’s plenty of room for all of us. It feels best to walk together.”</p><h3><strong>Dianna Russini, ESPN NFL reporter and studio host</strong></h3><p>“Don’t lose touch with those who have helped you grow both professionally and personally. You hear it all the time, ‘be good to everyone,’ but the reality is life gets busy and we all get consumed. It isn’t until you are in a tough spot professionally or maybe even without a job that you start realizing you should have built stronger relationships with those who have put themselves out for your own benefit. Just a few years ago, I was unemployed, living with my parents and looking for work in local sports. I was miserable and the market was worse. About seven years prior, when I was in college at George Mason University, I had reached out to random news directors in the NY/NJ/CT area looking for internships during my summer break. One news director was kind enough to write back to share that he had no openings but to stay in touch. I didn’t. Fast forward to the year I was looking for work and that same news director, Mike St. Peter, who was still the news director at NBC Connecticut, kindly answered my email once again. I always regretted I never sent him a note or even checked in on him over the years since he didn’t have to write back to a college student with zero experience, and I needed him now.</p><p>This time he brought me in for an interview, and days later, he hired me as a sports/news reporter. That was the start of my career. Under his leadership, he allowed me to be part of breaking news coverage at Sandy Hook Elementary and the Boston Marathon bombings. It turned out he wasn’t just a good e-mailer but a superb newsroom leader. He took a really big chance on me when in reality I had done nothing to give him security that I was a good reporter or even a decent human being. Every year since I don’t make the same mistake. I send Mike, who has now moved on to become President and General Manager of NBC Boston, a note to just say, thanks for giving me a chance when nobody would take a call. He usually responds with something that lets me know he’s proud. Work hard at your craft but you can’t do it alone. Appreciate those who help because you never know.”</p><h3><strong>Andrea Kremer, NFL Network reporter and HBO Real Sports correspondent</strong></h3><p>“I would tell my younger self to try and enjoy the moment more. For decades, I was so focused on what’s the next story...the next game...the next big interview....the next important issue that I rarely enjoyed ‘the moment.’ This is not one of these New Age epiphanies but there have been seminal moments of my career that I wish I had relished more. In retrospect, I think it felt anathema to me to ‘enjoy’ the moment as though I equated that with being a fan and not a serious journalist but that is wrong. After more than two decades in television my realization came in 2008 as I prepared to cover the single greatest event in my career (to date)—Michael Phelps’ quest for his eighth gold medal. I specifically thought about the historical aspect of the day and my small role in it as I was headed to the pool deck. It was meaningful for what it taught me at that time and moving forward. Now it’s a learning lesson I try to impart to younger broadcasters in lieu of my younger self.”</p><h3><strong>J.A. Adande, director of sports journalism at Northwestern University</strong></h3><p>“On a practical level, I&#39;d tell myself to invest in the company 401k at the earliest opportunity and to the maximum tax-exempt amounts. And if not eligible, open an IRA. The last thing a 21-year-old thinks about is retirement planning.</p><p>I am curious what would have happened if I had told my younger self to stick with my original goal of being a play-by-play announcer. I got a taste of working game broadcasts while doing sidelines the past few years and it kind of made me wish I had charted a course toward sitting in that No. 1 seat. Still, I doubt it would have led to me working 20 NBA Finals in addition to just about every other major sporting event, so I think younger me got it right.”</p><h3><strong>Suzanne Smith, CBS Sports director and the first woman to direct NFL games fulltime</strong></h3><p><em>“</em>Dear Suzanne,</p><p>You are about to embark on an amazing journey. One full of adventure, excitement and challenges. Hard work, your attitude, respect and integrity will be the cornerstones.</p><p><strong>Some basic rules</strong></p><p>Treat EVERYONE equally, from your runners to the CEO. Work as hard as you can. Tackle each task like it’s the last, then work harder. Understand that every job is important. Speak up. Your ideas have value, even in a room of people with more experience. Take risks, don’t be afraid to fail. Send handwritten thank you notes. If you’re not early, you’re late.</p><p><strong>Take advantage of the skills you’ve gained as an athlete</strong></p><p>Be a leader and a team player. Be competitive while working with your colleagues. First to arrive, last to leave. Inspire others. Rise to the occasion when the pressure is on.</p><p><strong>On the practical side</strong></p><p>Invest in a good piece of luggage, one with wheels! Dress like a professional, not like you are in your college dorm. Keep a journal, keep your credentials, photos. Don’t be in a rush to get from one event to the next. Take the time to soak it all in. Don’t assume your boss knows what you want to do. Be proactive about your assignments and the events you want to be a part of.</p><p><strong>The boys club</strong></p><p>Be yourself. You will never be one of the boys, stop trying. The day you accept this, things will be easier. The day you realize you don’t WANT to be part of ‘the club,’ your world will change.</p><p><strong>Family and friends</strong></p><p>Balancing your career and life will be challenging at times. You will have to make sacrifices to be successful in this industry. Remember, your family, partner and friends are affected as well.</p><p><strong>You got this</strong></p><p>It’s not enough to dream your dreams. You’ve got to pursue your dreams. No, it’s not always easy but if it was easy, anybody could do it. Always remember and remind those around you that it is a privilege to be a part of some of the most coveted sporting events in the world. Believe in yourself and let your passions be your guide. Enjoy your amazing journey.”</p><h3><strong>Tim Brando, Fox Sports play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“Many times as sportscasters we talk about players that sometimes force it, or press their efforts as opposed to letting the game come to them. Ours is a totally subjective craft and for everyone that loves your work there will always be those that don’t. I’m blessed to have had a career that’s spanned four decades with ESPN as its starting point, then a quick transition to Turner, and then an 18-year run at CBS, before joining FOX four years ago. Honestly, only now do I personally believe I’m as grateful and feel as privileged as I always should have to do what I love for a living. Type A’s are littered throughout sports television and most of us want to get the top assignments in live sports television. I wouldn’t change my path, but I would recommend if I had the chance to start over to have enjoyed the journey by living more in the moment than I did. Breaking into syndicated play-by-play in 1982-83 with Raycom/Jefferson Pilot and making ESPN freelance appearances as a play-by-play man in my mid 20’s in 1985 had me thinking that was my calling. But upon my arrival to Bristol in late 1986 the suits saw me as a studio talent first! I fought that and I probably should have embraced it far more; it did help me later in securing a gig at the ‘Tiffany’ Network, CBS. I loved what I was doing, but shouldn’t have been so concerned with what’s next!</p><p>‘Tim, slow down, you’re in a great spot, don’t worry so much about what’s next,’ my old departed friend John Saunders would say. He was right. I tell young broadcasters all the time to enjoy the journey and the relationships that come with it. A wonderful collection of people that could put me in places to succeed have always been there for me. They (the suits) want to know how privileged you feel. I would tell myself if I were younger, to let them know that, and stop worrying about chasing the next great gig. You’ve already got a really good one. Keep loving it, performing it and good things will come your way. I’ve found that understanding your role, and giving the employer your best in that role is not only better, but allows for greater fullness of life.”</p><h3><strong>Nancy Armour, sports columnist, <em>USA Today</em></strong></h3><p><strong>“Develop your own voice.</strong></p><p>Find writers whose work—and work ethic—you admire, and study what they do and how they do it. Learn from them and make use of any tips or guidance they share, but don’t make the mistake of trying to be them. There will only be one Dave Anderson or Jim Litke or Jackie MacMullan or Leonard Pitts, and trying to write in a voice or style that isn’t your own will come across as forced and inauthentic. Find your voice, your style and the writing will flow better.</p><p><strong>Learn from your mistakes.</strong></p><p>Mistakes are going to happen, it’s human nature. You will beat yourself up something awful and forever cringe at the memory of it. But make sure you learn from it, too. Recognizing how and why the mistake occurred is the surest way to avoid doing it again in the future.</p><p><strong>Expand your world.</strong></p><p>Read books and listen to podcasts about things that have nothing to do with your job or the sport(s) you cover. Have friends and interests outside the business. There’s a risk of getting stale and jaded when you are immersed in the same thing day after day, week after week, year after year. Getting outside your bubble is the best way of guarding against that—and also a reminder that what we do is pretty damn cool.</p><p><strong>Don’t be afraid to fail.</strong></p><p>When I was 13, my father gave me some advice that influences me to this day. I won’t bore you with the whole story, but the gist was that you should never let the fear of failure, or fear in general, stop you from doing something. Wondering ‘What if?’ after you’ve let an opportunity pass will haunt you longer than any embarrassment you might have suffered, and nothing empowers you quite like tackling your fears head on.</p><p><strong>Enjoy the ride.</strong></p><p>We have fun, interesting jobs that most people envy when they hear about them. It’s easy to forget that with deadlines, the stress over the state of the business and the pressure of always having to do more. But every once in a while, take a breather and remember what drew you to the profession in the first place.”</p><h3><strong>Kenny Albert, Fox Sports and NBC Sports play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“Work, work, work! Preparation will be the key to a career in sports broadcasting. Read everything you can get your hands on. Look into internships during your high school and college years, but also get as many reps as you can on-air. If a local cable station happens to visit your high school to film a girls basketball game, volunteer to do the play-by-play. Perhaps they will offer you hundreds of other games in all sports over the next three years, which could prove to be the most invaluable experience you could ever ask for.</p><p>Practice makes perfect! Also be sure to learn other positions—producing, editing, writing, keeping statistics, etc. Watch and listen to as many games as possible—to absorb both announcing styles and information via osmosis. If your initial goal is hockey radio play-by-play, send tapes out to as many teams as possible all over North America. Don&#39;t be afraid of 10-hour bus rides. Working in the minor leagues could wind up among the most important and memorable years of your professional career.”</p><h3><strong>Adnan Virk, ESPN studio host and play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“I would tell myself to ignore all the trolls. When people ask me for advice in this business it can be epitomized in two words: thick skin. No matter what people may tweet at you, no matter how disparaging or hateful it may be, don’t let it affect you emotionally, or your performance in any manner. I would also tell my younger self to pay more attention to the 1984 Orange Bowl between Nebraska and Miami since one day improbably I would be the studio host for CFB and such background would be more helpful rather than watching the Gretzky-era Oilers dynasty in bloom.”</p><h3><strong>Mina Kimes, ESPN reporter and columnist</strong></h3><p>&quot;I would have told my younger self to take more creative risks. At the beginning of my career, I was terrified of failure, so I always pursued projects that I knew I could execute. But I&#39;ve since learned that the best stories are the ones that seem insurmountable—not just when the reporting is difficult, but also when an idea feels murky at the outset. I wish I had been more daring early on, because my greatest experiences as a writer have been ones that teetered on the edge.&quot;</p><h3>THE NOISE REPORT</h3><p><strong>1a.</strong> As expected, there was immense pushback from viewers on the decision by Turner Sports to buck longstanding Selection Sunday tradition and reveal all the teams in the NCAA tournament field prior to the bracket itself. The phrase “Selection Show” trended on Twitter long after the show ended and <a href="https://twitter.com/i/moments/972960904143888384" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Twitter compiled reaction from an angry crowd of sports viewers" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Twitter compiled reaction from an angry crowd of sports viewers</a>. The most notable response, from all places, was <a href="https://twitter.com/LawrenceKS_PD/status/972957250506641411" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:this laugh-out-loud tweet from the Lawrence (Ks.) Police" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">this laugh-out-loud tweet from the Lawrence (Ks.) Police</a>. What I wrote in 2016 holds true today: “Front-load the program so that all the brackets are revealed within the first 35 minutes and spend the next 85 minutes going heavy on analysis and interviews. If the analysis is good, people are not going to abandon your channel just because the brackets are in. Obviously, this is a high profile property and CBS is in the business of keeping you around to make money but the pacing on Sunday was a huge miss. Viewers will revolt if they think you are stringing them along, which is how it felt watching.” This from the <em><a href="http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/for-petes-sake/article204614759.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Kansas City Star" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Kansas City Star</a></em> and <a href="https://www.si.com/extra-mustard/2018/03/12/ncaa-tournament-selection-show-twitter-reaction" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:this from SI’s Jimmy Traina" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">this from SI’s Jimmy Traina</a> cover the reactions.</p><p><strong>1b.</strong> ESPN NFL analyst Louis Riddick is not a man of moderate opinions and goals. He wants to be part of Monday Night Football and has no problem letting the world know of his interest, including his bosses at ESPN.</p><p>“This is something that has been a goal of mind and ESPN is very well aware that I am very interested in it,” said Riddick, this week’s guest on the SI Media Podcast. “It is the pinnacle of broadcasting as far as I am concerned, the most iconic position in broadcasting. To be involved with Monday Night Football either as a play-by-play person or analyst is something I am hoping I can achieve.”</p><p>Asked what ESPN management’s response has been to Riddick’s interest, Riddick said, “It has been very favorable. They are well aware of it. I think you saw my interest in being a part of a live broadcast, a live game, with my involvement with the Pro Bowl this year and that only scratched the surface of what I think I am capable of doing with that kind of platform. I am fired up about the possibility of being involved with the brand of Monday Night Football in any way shape or form and I think the next couple of weeks and months as ESPN figures out where they want to go with that are going to be awfully exciting for me personally.”</p><p>As the guest on Episode 168 of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast, Riddick addressed many topics including what separates a good NFL broadcaster versus an average one; how he has attempted to improve as a broadcaster; his candidness on issues and why too often former players pull punches on the air; how he navigates being a candidate for NFL general manager jobs versus working at ESPN; his thoughts when someone does not report on him accurately; how he approaches discussing social issues or politics on social media; playing under Nick Saban and Bill Belichick in Cleveland; Saban’s attention to detail and what makes him different than other coaches; how the Browns should approach holding the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in the NFL Draft, and much more. To listen to the podcast in full, check it out on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.</p><p><strong>PODCAST BREAKDOWN:</strong></p><p><strong>• 1:00: </strong>What separates a good NFL broadcaster from an average one.</p><p><strong>• 2:50:</strong> How has Riddick improved as a broadcaster and how much film he watches on his own work.</p><p><strong>• 6:40: </strong>The aesthetics of sports broadcasting.</p><p><strong>• 9:30:</strong> Being candid about NFL personnel people and trying to take people behind the curtain of the NFL</p><p><strong>• 14:15: </strong>Playing for Bill Bellichick and Nick Saban and what separates Saban from other coaches.</p><p><strong>• 20:20: </strong>Interviewing for general manager jobs while working for ESPN.</p><p><strong>• 24:30:</strong> Other media writing about him, and his reaction to what he says is incorrect reporting.</p><p><strong>• 33:00:</strong> What would happen if a mid-season GM job came up.</p><p><strong>• 35:20:</strong> His approach to social media when it comes to social issues and politics.</p><p><strong>• 36:40 </strong>His interest in being on Monday Night Football.</p><p><strong>• 41:00: </strong>Tony Romo’s work this year on CBS and Riddick&#39;s preparation for the NFL Draft.</p><p><strong>• 47:20: </strong>How he believes the Browns will approach the No. 1 and No. 4 overall pick.</p><p><strong>• 51:00: </strong>How he would approach the end of Tom Brady’s career if he were Patriots management.</p><p><strong>2.</strong> SI legal analyst Michael McCann <a href="https://www.si.com/tech-media/2018/03/05/adrienne-lawrence-espn-lawsuit-john-buccigross" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:analyzed Adrienne Lawrence’s lawsuit against ESPN" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">analyzed Adrienne Lawrence’s lawsuit against ESPN</a> and the company’s possible defenses.</p><p><strong>2a.</strong> As SI first reported, <a href="https://www.si.com/tech-media/2018/03/08/michael-smith-espn-leaving-sportscenter-sc6" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Michael Smith’s last day as an ESPN SportsCenter host" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Michael Smith’s last day as an ESPN SportsCenter host</a> was Friday.</p><p><strong>2b.</strong> ESPN jettisoned Sean McDonough out of the Monday Night Football booth despite public votes of confidence from management as recent as just a few months ago. On a positive note for viewers, McDonough signed a new multi-year extension and will rejoin ESPN’s college football team this fall. His assignments will include weekly college football games, as well as a College Football Playoff Semifinal. He will continue to call the CFP National Championship on ESPN Radio, marquee college basketball games, The Masters Par 3 contest and more.</p><p><strong>3.</strong> <a href="https://www.si.com/tech-media/2018/03/07/winter-paralympics-2018-nbc-coverage-pyeongchang" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:How to Watch—And What to Expect From—the Winter Paralympics 2018 on NBC." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">How to Watch—And What to Expect From—the Winter Paralympics 2018 on NBC.</a></p><p><strong>4.</strong> <strong>Sports pieces of note:</strong></p><p>• From <em>Indianapolis Star</em> reporters Tim Evans, Joe Guillen, Gina Kaufman, Marisa Kwiatkowski, Matt Mencarini and Mark Alesia: <a href="https://www.indystar.com/story/news/2018/03/08/larry-nassar-sexually-abused-gymnasts-michigan-state-university-usa-gymnastics/339051002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:How Larry Nassar abused hundreds of gymnasts and eluded justice for decades." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">How Larry Nassar abused hundreds of gymnasts and eluded justice for decades.</a></p><p>• A remarkable thread on the KHL from reporter Slava Malamud: </p><p>• From Juliet Macur of <em>The New York Times</em>: <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/08/sports/opioids-suicide.html?smid=tw-nytsports&#38;smtyp=cur" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Suicides, Drug Addiction and High School Football." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Suicides, Drug Addiction and High School Football.</a></p><p>• <a href="https://www.theringer.com/2018/3/6/17072332/cody-rhodes-dusty-rhodes-all-in" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Cody Rhodes is carving his own path in memory of his father" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Cody Rhodes is carving his own path in memory of his father</a>, &quot;The American Dream&quot; Dusty Rhodes, from Mike Piellucci of The Ringer.</p><p>• Kevin Love, for The Players Tribune, <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/kevin-love-everyone-is-going-through-something/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:on suffering panic attacks." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">on suffering panic attacks.</a></p><p>• <em>New York Times</em> writer Harvey Araton <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/06/sports/ncaabasketball/big-east-st-johns-mullin.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fsports&#38;action=click&#38;contentCollection=sports&#38;region=rank&#38;module=package&#38;version=highlights&#38;contentPlacement=1&#38;pgtype=sectionfront" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:profiled St. John’s coach Chris Mullin." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">profiled St. John’s coach Chris Mullin.</a></p><p>• ESPN’s <a href="http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/22624561/ichiro-suzuki-return-seattle-mariners-resolve-internal-battle" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Wright Thompson on Ichiro" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Wright Thompson on Ichiro</a>.</p><p>• SI’s Lee Jenkins profiled <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/03/06/dwane-casey-raptors-kyle-lowry-demar-derozan-kentucky-ncaa" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey</a>.</p><p>• Steve Francis, for The Players Tribune, on <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/steve-francis-i-got-a-story-to-tell/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:his unlikely journey to the NBA." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">his unlikely journey to the NBA.</a></p><p>• The Athletic’s Levi Weaver on <a href="https://theathletic.com/264535/2018/03/07/tim-lincecum-and-the-weird-gremlin-of-grief/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tim Lincecum." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Tim Lincecum.</a></p><p>• From ESPN.com’s Susan Ninan: <a href="http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/22667359/in-india-rugby-helps-women-find-level-playing-field?utm_source=The+Sunday+Long+Read+subscribers&#38;utm_campaign=fa5fa24f7d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_03_09&#38;utm_medium=email&#38;utm_term=0_67e6e8a504-fa5fa24f7d-273522061" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:India&#39;s Rugby Revolution." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">India&#39;s Rugby Revolution.</a></p><p><strong>Non-sports pieces of note</strong></p><p>• <em>The New Yorker</em>’s Jane Mayer on <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/03/12/christopher-steele-the-man-behind-the-trump-dossier" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Christopher Steele" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Christopher Steele</a>.</p><p>• Via The Atlantic’s Rachel Monroe: <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/04/our-time-com-con-man/554057/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Perfect Man Who Wasn&#39;t." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Perfect Man Who Wasn&#39;t.</a></p><p>• Via Farhad Manjoo of <em>The New York Times</em>: <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/07/technology/two-months-news-newspapers.html?smid=tw-share" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned.</a></p><p>• <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/obituaries/overlooked.html?smid=tw-nytimes&#38;smtyp=cur" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Fifteen women The New York Times overlooked for obituaries" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Fifteen women <em>The New York Times</em> overlooked for obituaries</a>.</p><p>• From Josh Dean of <em>Bloomberg Businessweek</em>: <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/obituaries/overlooked.html?smid=tw-nytimes&#38;smtyp=cur" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:America Is Giving Away the $30 Billion Medical Marijuana Industry." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">America Is Giving Away the $30 Billion Medical Marijuana Industry.</a></p><p>• From Eric Adler of <em>The Kansas City Star</em>: <a href="http://www.kansascity.com/news/state/missouri/article204287484.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Missouri is a destination wedding spot—for 15-year-old brides." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Missouri is a destination wedding spot—for 15-year-old brides.</a></p><p>This is my final piece (at least for awhile) for <em>Sports Illustrated</em>. It is a weird sentence to write. This was the singular place I dreamed of working for as a young person and to have worked here for two decades has been an immense professional privilege. SI paid for me to travel the world—I covered seven Olympic Games—and trusted me with assignments that meant a great deal to me, including the Women’s Final Four and the U.S. Open. I was able to work for every part of the editorial brand, from Swimsuit to SI.com to SI Commemoratives, and spent two years helping edit SI For Women (RIP).</p><p>It has been an amazing place to work and I leave feeling as close to the brand as I did when <a href="https://www.si.com/vault/1998/06/15/244478/howie-young-red-wings-defenseman-january-28-1963" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:SI published my first byline" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">SI published my first byline</a> in 1998 about Howie Young, an NHL defenseman for the Red Wings who drank himself out of professional sports before sobering up and finding a second life in Thoreau, N.M., a predominantly Navajo community two hours west of Albuquerque, as a mild-mannered bus driver for the McKinley County public schools.</p><p>There are many colleagues that I want to cite publicly for helping and educating me along the journey but I’ll do that in a post on my own social channels. I’ll announce soon enough what’s next but thank you for reading me here, for listening to the podcast and for having an interest in what my SI colleagues and I do professionally.</p>
Media Circus: 22 Well-Known Sports Media Members Give Advice to Their Younger Selves

TORONTO – The “Letters To My Younger Self” series from the Players Tribune has been among the most interesting things the digital publication has done. While the editorial conceit existed long before The Players Tribune, the publication has received well-deserved praise for the series, including very thoughtful pieces bylined by Quentin Richardson, Mike Bossy and Damon Stoudamire. For the column below, I swiped the concept to ask a number of people in the sports media the following question: What specific career advice would you give your younger self and why? Here’s how they answered:

Ian Eagle, CBS Sports play-by-play announcer

“I would start off by giving the younger version of myself some practical advice. Don't eat at a suspect Chinese restaurant in San Francisco before flying on a red-eye with a window seat (trust me on this one).

If you're fortunate enough to make it in this highly competitive business, don't take for granted the chair that you occupy. Take the time to truly appreciate the unique moments along the way—a spectacular NFL Sunday in Foxboro, a raucous crowd at Phog Allen Fieldhouse, or the electricity inside Air Canada Centre in Toronto. It's easy to get caught up in the preparation and minutia of your assignment, but don't forget to be present and soak up the atmosphere.

When you're young you tend to focus on just your role in the broadcast, as you get older and gain experience you begin to value every person on the crew and the sheer enormity of the production you're working on. The announcer is a small piece of the puzzle and although you may be front and center, you won't be successful without the hard work and dedication of others. In addition, be a well rounded person with knowledge that extends beyond the two teams you're covering—pop culture, world news, social issues may be topics of conversation during a broadcast when you least expect it, be prepared for anything. I would also advise my younger self that nobody cares if your flight was delayed or the people in the hotel room next to you traveled a small chicuacua with them—all that matters is being totally focused and locked-in the moment you go on the air. And have fun!! This isn't brain surgery (but if you're a well-rounded person you'd be able to perform that if necessary).”

Joe Buck, Fox Sports play-by-play announcer

“Keep on your path. Don't let the ‘noise’ creep in as the years go by. Social media will be both a blessing and a curse. Take it for what it is and be you. Don't let the ‘he tries to be funny too much’ criticism from a certain columnist from the New York Post affect what you do. Be you. See a therapist before your late 30s—you have a lot of issues to work through. And for the love of God, sleep through your eighth hair transplant appointment in 2011. Trust me, it's for the best.”

Marty Smith, ESPN host and reporter

“Dear Younger Me...

Offering you advice seems ungrateful and haughty, as if you need a different direction. Listen up: You don’t. You don’t know it yet, but you’re blessed with a life beyond the craziest fantasy world you could ever conjure. So let it ride.

Live the Golden Rule.

Be kind. Work hard.

Head up. Nose down.

Heart full. Always.

Even when it's empty.

Passion never loses. You’ll meet folks with better looks and more talent and a fancier degree.

You’ll never meet anybody with more passion. It’s the one thing you can control. Own it. It'll take you awhile to gain comfort in that space, but your gut is correct—it’s the right way.

Momma always said every man is equal, and deserves respect when he gives it. She’s right. Keep treating people well. It matters.

Status is fleeting. It’s a drug. It’s a fake title. Authenticity and loyalty are eternal—and hard to come by. Embrace them.

Just do you. It’s unorthodox and it’s different, and I know some of the traditional cats are giving you a big ol' ration of s*** for it right now. It hurts, but don’t let on. They'll come around.

You liked to be liked. That will never leave you. You’ll eventually be able to admit it openly and be cool with the admittance.

Champion your wife and include her in your triumphs and experiences. They’re so much richer when you share them together.

Walk your Faith. This will be a boomerang for you. You'll let it fly away for a time, but when you seek it, it'll come back.

So the advice: Don’t concern yourself with awards. You’ll never win any.

Raise some hell, you’re pretty good at it. (Just maybe not as much as you’re raising right now.)

Go home and spend some of those hours with Momma and Daddy. You won’t have them for long.

And just so you know, Marty: All those eye-roll lessons Daddy preaches constantly about accountability and respect and hard work and the indescribable privilege of being American, and the pride of your last name?

Write them down. He’s right.”

Rebecca Lowe, NBC Sports host

“I could sit my younger self down for an entire day and give advice. But three of the biggest pieces I would impart are...firstly, never believe anyone who tells you they don’t see you in a specific role. If that’s where you see yourself and where you believe you can shine then stick at it and prove the doubters wrong. No one knows you better than you know yourself and use the doubt to drive you on.

Secondly, know that not every job is perfect and they tend to be less perfect in the early stages of your career when you’re trying to carve your path. It might be that you can’t stand your job, or your boss or the people around you but if it’s a job that will help you get to the next stage then head down and power through. Always remember it is a lucky person who gets to enjoy their job. So if it takes some years of disgruntlement and dissatisfaction to get to where you’re happy, that’s the sacrifice you have to pay. I always suggest asking yourself: ‘What’s your alternative choice?’ Often the alternatives are not as good. And, finally, over prepare. In everything you do. If you do this, you’ll never come unstuck.”

Shea Serrano, writer and best-selling author, The Ringer

I would tell my younger self three things:

1. Always say yes. If someone asks you to do a work thing, just say yes. It doesn't matter if you know how to do it or not. Just say yes and then trust yourself to figure it out. I remember one time MTV asked me to make some pop culture postcards for them for the holidays one year. I had no idea how to do it, but what I did know was that they were gonna pay me several hundred dollars to them. So when they called and asked if it was something I knew how to do, I was just like, ‘Yup. I got you. I do it all the time.’ That's how I tried to handle everything. I didn't know how to write a book until I wrote a book, you know what I'm saying?

2. Don't be late. There are absolutely some people who were born with a natural gift for writing and storytelling; just brilliant, exceptional people birthed with brilliant, exceptional talent in their bones. Not me, though. And that being the case, I knew I was never going to be able to keep up with those type of people if I was just depending on my own tiny amount of talent. So, as a way to supplement that, I just decided to try to never, ever, ever be late with an assignment. I would always turn my stuff in early, answer emails quickly, respond to phone calls immediately, so on and so forth. You can't control talent, but you can control work ethic is what I'm telling you. And in my experience, an editor is more likely to choose working with someone who's a decent writer but is super dependable over choosing to work with someone who is an exceptional writer but is unreliable.

3. Know that everyone gets kicked in the teeth a billion times before they ‘make it.’ This was the hardest thing to learn, and something that I'm still dealing with today. A lot of being a writer is pitching stories and ideas and then either a) never hearing back, or b) hearing back but it's a no. It's hard not to take it personal when it happens, because it always seems to feel like they're turning you down, not like they're turning your ideas down. But, as I've come to learn, it happens to everyone all the time. I mean, just think on it like, I'm a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author. That's a real and true thing. And still, it doesn't matter. I get turned down for things literally every week. It's just the way it goes. You gotta just keep going. Because that's really the main difference that separates someone who makes it from someone who doesn't. The person who made it was the one who kept getting up after getting kicked in the teeth. The person who didn't make it didn't get up.

Erika Nardini, Barstool Sports CEO

“You do not look good with short hair, don’t try it. Don’t work away your 20s. Bigger companies don’t necessarily give you bigger chances for success. Don’t worry about how one job relates to the next. There’s a thru-line in there somewhere and the right person/company will see it.”

Adam Schefter, ESPN NFL insider and podcast host

“What I would tell my younger self is the exact advice I did try to tell my younger self; I just couldn't listen to it, not in the way I wanted because I was so consumed with trying to land a sports reporting job or advancing once I had it.

Back when I was at the University of Michigan in the late 1980s, my college roommates and I discovered this poem called The Station, by Robert J. Hastings. We would read it and remind each other of it, and we even put it at the end of a video we made at the end of our senior year, as we were graduating, one final reminder of lessons we all should learn. It's good advice for any young person in any young field—better than anything I can offer. I never like when people lean on a poem to try to convey thoughts, but I believe it's valuable advice for anyone just getting started—or even finishing up.”

The Station, by Robert J. Hastings

Tucked away in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision in which we see ourselves on a long journey that spans an entire continent. We’re traveling by train and, from the windows, we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at crossings, of cattle grazing in distant pastures, of smoke pouring from power plants, of row upon row upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our conscious minds is our final destination—for at a certain hour and on a given day, our train will finally pull into the Station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands playing. And once that day comes, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So restlessly, we pace the aisles and count the miles, peering ahead, waiting, waiting, waiting for the Station.

“Yes, when we reach the Station, that will be it!” we promise ourselves. “When we’re eighteen. . . win that promotion. . . put the last kid through college. . . buy that 450SL Mercedes-Benz. . . have a nest egg for retirement!” From that day on we will all live happily ever after.

Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no Station in this life, no one earthly place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The Station is an illusion—it constantly outdistances us. Yesterday’s a memory, tomorrow’s a dream. Yesterday belongs to a history, tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday’s a fading sunset, tomorrow’s a faint sunrise. Only today is there light enough to love and live.

So, gently close the door on yesterday and throw the key away. It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad, but rather the regret over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.

“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, swim more rivers, climb more mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more and cry less. Go barefoot oftener. Eat more ice cream. Ride more merry-go-rounds. Watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we go along. The Station will come soon enough.

Amy Trask, NFL analyst, CBS Sports

“I would tell my younger self: listen to your mom. The best advice I have ever been given was imparted to me by my mom: to thine own self be true. (As an aside, I will note that it wasn’t until I was almost out of college that I learned that these wise words were those spoken by Polonius to Laertes in Hamlet. While one might then say that my advice to my younger self would be to follow the words of Shakespeare, I shall always consider this the advice my mom shared with me.)

My mom repeated this advice (over and over), as moms are wont to do. I sometimes rolled my eyes, as kids are wont to do.

While it is unequivocally the best advice I have ever received, I didn’t always follow it. I heeded this advice for the most part and when I did I was my strongest and my most capable. I am my best when I am myself, as my mom advised me to be. But there were times I didn’t follow this advice and instead tried to be something or someone I was not and in those instances not only was I not my best, I stumbled and bumbled and fumbled. It just doesn’t work for me to try to be what I am not.

So my advice to my younger self is quite simple: listen to your mom even (or especially) in those instances in which you may be tempted to ignore or don’t believe you need to follow her advice and ‘to thine own self be true.’”

Beth Mowins, ESPN and CBS Sports play-by-play announcer

“I would tell my younger self to keep a journal. I wish I had the ability to look back over the years and recall where I have been and what I have done. It doesn't have to be much...even just a few sentences about games and places and people. So many great stories have been lost in my memory banks and I wish I could bring some back. We are lucky to spend time with amazing players and coaches and it would be nice to have a journal to reflect on the good times with the people in this business. Enjoy the journey...and jot it down. It's important because you want to pass on knowledge to the younger people in this business. It's always nice to have a story to tell about ‘when I was your age,’ or be able to say, ‘I went through something similar’ and here's what happened. It can also help you do your job better by providing some historical perspective to the games you are covering. I enjoy a good quote or a funny anecdote as much as the next person. Sportscasting is still about relationships with people and the more connections you can make the better off you will be.”

Don Van Natta Jr., ESPN senior writer and investigative reporter

“Relax, kid. Don’t sweat the small stuff. And what’s ‘the small stuff,’ you ask? The highlight reel of all the indignities and idiocy that will comprise a 30-year journalism career: the published mistakes (yours and others); the big-footing colleagues; the years (or decades) of no raises; the editors who merrily drive lawn mowers through your copy; the slammed doors and the hung-up phones; the grounded late-night flights and canceled summer vacations; the sources who lie to you or about you; the Christmas Eve calls from long-winded bosses; the scoops that get away; the ‘fake news’-spewing ‘readers’ who don’t read a word of what you write; the rabid fans who will only hear fraudulent, bumper-sticker characterizations of your stories on WEEI in Boston; the omnipresent drumbeat of job cuts.

In the wide-open canvas of a career, nearly all of it amounts to small stuff. Trust me, it’s true. So keep reminding yourself of that. And don’t frown so damn much.

Being a journalist in America is still one of the best jobs in the world, despite everything. Think about it: you get paid to find the truth and report it to an audience starving for it. When things go wrong—and they often will—don’t let those moments trip you up. Just roll with it, cold-call the next would-be source and chase the next scoop with as much as confidence and swagger as you mustered the day before.

You don’t know this now but the friends you make in this business will last far longer than the best stories you’ll write and the best prizes you’ll win. And all the fun you’re going to have will far eclipse the days of failure and frustration. Remember, kid: 10,000 writers would give anything to have your nickels-paying, out-in-the-boondocks job. So…

Count your blessings. Embrace the good. Savor every moment. And smile.”

Candace Buckner, The Washington Post Wizards writer

“When I talk to young journalists, I always tell them to read more than just the sports page, network, and write daily—three things I should’ve done better when I was their age. But if I could give my younger self some advice, it would be pointed and simple: don’t bury your head into journalism, get out and experience life.

I was a focused kid when I arrived at Mizzou, with set-in-stone goals that centered on getting into J-School then becoming the next Willow Bay or Robin Roberts. I worked my tail off, held down a couple jobs and ran a floor in my dorm. I didn’t mess around and while I dig that about young Candace, I wish I would’ve told myself: Chill, homie, and go do real life. Go spend a summer abroad and learn something about the world outside of your perfectly-crafted tiny universe you have at Columbia, Mo. I needed more experience. While I don’t dare to think that if I would’ve gone to Thailand at 22 years old, then I would have this whole life thing all figured out (people who do that are the worst), I do believe that traveling and experiencing other cultures would’ve opened up a lifetime of learning, which in turn would make me a better writer and reporter. When I was younger, I was racing. But it would’ve OK to slow down and live.”

Mike Arnold, CBS Sports lead NFL director

“I guess the advice I'd give my younger self is to keep working hard and eventually things will work out. I remember first starting out in television as a runner with ABC Sports and was so disappointed when I didn't get a full time job with them after spending about 3-4 years working countless weekends trying to land a position. I figured I'd end up back home in Scottsdale working somewhere but probably not in television. I even applied to the city of Phoenix to work in the public information office and didn't get a response. Luckily, I had some young ABC production assistants in my corner because when Terry O'Neil left ABC Sports and came over to CBS Sports, David Dinkins, Jr. and Peter Lasser (those two production assistants) told O'Neil that I should be the first production assistant hired at CBS Sports. O'Neil hired me. That was 1981 and I'm still here at CBS.”

Kerith Burke, Warriors reporter, NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California

“I’d like to tell my younger self, ‘you’re on the right path, and your path is your own.’ I fall back on this advice in many situations to calm the worry hamster in my head who likes to hop on its wheel and churn the night away. I try to remind myself that when it comes to jobs on this path, talent, timing, and luck all play a role. Only one of those I can control.

This advice overlaps with something else: Jealousy is a useless emotion. Coming out of college, I was too concerned with others. I was envious about not working for the No. 1 station, or wondered why a colleague got an assignment I knew I could do well. This stemmed from my insecurity, and not knowing healthy ways to aim my ambition. I had to grow up. As I grew up, my path braided with friends in the industry to make us stronger. Don’t compete against your colleagues, befriend them. There’s plenty of room for all of us. It feels best to walk together.”

Dianna Russini, ESPN NFL reporter and studio host

“Don’t lose touch with those who have helped you grow both professionally and personally. You hear it all the time, ‘be good to everyone,’ but the reality is life gets busy and we all get consumed. It isn’t until you are in a tough spot professionally or maybe even without a job that you start realizing you should have built stronger relationships with those who have put themselves out for your own benefit. Just a few years ago, I was unemployed, living with my parents and looking for work in local sports. I was miserable and the market was worse. About seven years prior, when I was in college at George Mason University, I had reached out to random news directors in the NY/NJ/CT area looking for internships during my summer break. One news director was kind enough to write back to share that he had no openings but to stay in touch. I didn’t. Fast forward to the year I was looking for work and that same news director, Mike St. Peter, who was still the news director at NBC Connecticut, kindly answered my email once again. I always regretted I never sent him a note or even checked in on him over the years since he didn’t have to write back to a college student with zero experience, and I needed him now.

This time he brought me in for an interview, and days later, he hired me as a sports/news reporter. That was the start of my career. Under his leadership, he allowed me to be part of breaking news coverage at Sandy Hook Elementary and the Boston Marathon bombings. It turned out he wasn’t just a good e-mailer but a superb newsroom leader. He took a really big chance on me when in reality I had done nothing to give him security that I was a good reporter or even a decent human being. Every year since I don’t make the same mistake. I send Mike, who has now moved on to become President and General Manager of NBC Boston, a note to just say, thanks for giving me a chance when nobody would take a call. He usually responds with something that lets me know he’s proud. Work hard at your craft but you can’t do it alone. Appreciate those who help because you never know.”

Andrea Kremer, NFL Network reporter and HBO Real Sports correspondent

“I would tell my younger self to try and enjoy the moment more. For decades, I was so focused on what’s the next story...the next game...the next big interview....the next important issue that I rarely enjoyed ‘the moment.’ This is not one of these New Age epiphanies but there have been seminal moments of my career that I wish I had relished more. In retrospect, I think it felt anathema to me to ‘enjoy’ the moment as though I equated that with being a fan and not a serious journalist but that is wrong. After more than two decades in television my realization came in 2008 as I prepared to cover the single greatest event in my career (to date)—Michael Phelps’ quest for his eighth gold medal. I specifically thought about the historical aspect of the day and my small role in it as I was headed to the pool deck. It was meaningful for what it taught me at that time and moving forward. Now it’s a learning lesson I try to impart to younger broadcasters in lieu of my younger self.”

J.A. Adande, director of sports journalism at Northwestern University

“On a practical level, I'd tell myself to invest in the company 401k at the earliest opportunity and to the maximum tax-exempt amounts. And if not eligible, open an IRA. The last thing a 21-year-old thinks about is retirement planning.

I am curious what would have happened if I had told my younger self to stick with my original goal of being a play-by-play announcer. I got a taste of working game broadcasts while doing sidelines the past few years and it kind of made me wish I had charted a course toward sitting in that No. 1 seat. Still, I doubt it would have led to me working 20 NBA Finals in addition to just about every other major sporting event, so I think younger me got it right.”

Suzanne Smith, CBS Sports director and the first woman to direct NFL games fulltime

Dear Suzanne,

You are about to embark on an amazing journey. One full of adventure, excitement and challenges. Hard work, your attitude, respect and integrity will be the cornerstones.

Some basic rules

Treat EVERYONE equally, from your runners to the CEO. Work as hard as you can. Tackle each task like it’s the last, then work harder. Understand that every job is important. Speak up. Your ideas have value, even in a room of people with more experience. Take risks, don’t be afraid to fail. Send handwritten thank you notes. If you’re not early, you’re late.

Take advantage of the skills you’ve gained as an athlete

Be a leader and a team player. Be competitive while working with your colleagues. First to arrive, last to leave. Inspire others. Rise to the occasion when the pressure is on.

On the practical side

Invest in a good piece of luggage, one with wheels! Dress like a professional, not like you are in your college dorm. Keep a journal, keep your credentials, photos. Don’t be in a rush to get from one event to the next. Take the time to soak it all in. Don’t assume your boss knows what you want to do. Be proactive about your assignments and the events you want to be a part of.

The boys club

Be yourself. You will never be one of the boys, stop trying. The day you accept this, things will be easier. The day you realize you don’t WANT to be part of ‘the club,’ your world will change.

Family and friends

Balancing your career and life will be challenging at times. You will have to make sacrifices to be successful in this industry. Remember, your family, partner and friends are affected as well.

You got this

It’s not enough to dream your dreams. You’ve got to pursue your dreams. No, it’s not always easy but if it was easy, anybody could do it. Always remember and remind those around you that it is a privilege to be a part of some of the most coveted sporting events in the world. Believe in yourself and let your passions be your guide. Enjoy your amazing journey.”

Tim Brando, Fox Sports play-by-play announcer

“Many times as sportscasters we talk about players that sometimes force it, or press their efforts as opposed to letting the game come to them. Ours is a totally subjective craft and for everyone that loves your work there will always be those that don’t. I’m blessed to have had a career that’s spanned four decades with ESPN as its starting point, then a quick transition to Turner, and then an 18-year run at CBS, before joining FOX four years ago. Honestly, only now do I personally believe I’m as grateful and feel as privileged as I always should have to do what I love for a living. Type A’s are littered throughout sports television and most of us want to get the top assignments in live sports television. I wouldn’t change my path, but I would recommend if I had the chance to start over to have enjoyed the journey by living more in the moment than I did. Breaking into syndicated play-by-play in 1982-83 with Raycom/Jefferson Pilot and making ESPN freelance appearances as a play-by-play man in my mid 20’s in 1985 had me thinking that was my calling. But upon my arrival to Bristol in late 1986 the suits saw me as a studio talent first! I fought that and I probably should have embraced it far more; it did help me later in securing a gig at the ‘Tiffany’ Network, CBS. I loved what I was doing, but shouldn’t have been so concerned with what’s next!

‘Tim, slow down, you’re in a great spot, don’t worry so much about what’s next,’ my old departed friend John Saunders would say. He was right. I tell young broadcasters all the time to enjoy the journey and the relationships that come with it. A wonderful collection of people that could put me in places to succeed have always been there for me. They (the suits) want to know how privileged you feel. I would tell myself if I were younger, to let them know that, and stop worrying about chasing the next great gig. You’ve already got a really good one. Keep loving it, performing it and good things will come your way. I’ve found that understanding your role, and giving the employer your best in that role is not only better, but allows for greater fullness of life.”

Nancy Armour, sports columnist, USA Today

“Develop your own voice.

Find writers whose work—and work ethic—you admire, and study what they do and how they do it. Learn from them and make use of any tips or guidance they share, but don’t make the mistake of trying to be them. There will only be one Dave Anderson or Jim Litke or Jackie MacMullan or Leonard Pitts, and trying to write in a voice or style that isn’t your own will come across as forced and inauthentic. Find your voice, your style and the writing will flow better.

Learn from your mistakes.

Mistakes are going to happen, it’s human nature. You will beat yourself up something awful and forever cringe at the memory of it. But make sure you learn from it, too. Recognizing how and why the mistake occurred is the surest way to avoid doing it again in the future.

Expand your world.

Read books and listen to podcasts about things that have nothing to do with your job or the sport(s) you cover. Have friends and interests outside the business. There’s a risk of getting stale and jaded when you are immersed in the same thing day after day, week after week, year after year. Getting outside your bubble is the best way of guarding against that—and also a reminder that what we do is pretty damn cool.

Don’t be afraid to fail.

When I was 13, my father gave me some advice that influences me to this day. I won’t bore you with the whole story, but the gist was that you should never let the fear of failure, or fear in general, stop you from doing something. Wondering ‘What if?’ after you’ve let an opportunity pass will haunt you longer than any embarrassment you might have suffered, and nothing empowers you quite like tackling your fears head on.

Enjoy the ride.

We have fun, interesting jobs that most people envy when they hear about them. It’s easy to forget that with deadlines, the stress over the state of the business and the pressure of always having to do more. But every once in a while, take a breather and remember what drew you to the profession in the first place.”

Kenny Albert, Fox Sports and NBC Sports play-by-play announcer

“Work, work, work! Preparation will be the key to a career in sports broadcasting. Read everything you can get your hands on. Look into internships during your high school and college years, but also get as many reps as you can on-air. If a local cable station happens to visit your high school to film a girls basketball game, volunteer to do the play-by-play. Perhaps they will offer you hundreds of other games in all sports over the next three years, which could prove to be the most invaluable experience you could ever ask for.

Practice makes perfect! Also be sure to learn other positions—producing, editing, writing, keeping statistics, etc. Watch and listen to as many games as possible—to absorb both announcing styles and information via osmosis. If your initial goal is hockey radio play-by-play, send tapes out to as many teams as possible all over North America. Don't be afraid of 10-hour bus rides. Working in the minor leagues could wind up among the most important and memorable years of your professional career.”

Adnan Virk, ESPN studio host and play-by-play announcer

“I would tell myself to ignore all the trolls. When people ask me for advice in this business it can be epitomized in two words: thick skin. No matter what people may tweet at you, no matter how disparaging or hateful it may be, don’t let it affect you emotionally, or your performance in any manner. I would also tell my younger self to pay more attention to the 1984 Orange Bowl between Nebraska and Miami since one day improbably I would be the studio host for CFB and such background would be more helpful rather than watching the Gretzky-era Oilers dynasty in bloom.”

Mina Kimes, ESPN reporter and columnist

"I would have told my younger self to take more creative risks. At the beginning of my career, I was terrified of failure, so I always pursued projects that I knew I could execute. But I've since learned that the best stories are the ones that seem insurmountable—not just when the reporting is difficult, but also when an idea feels murky at the outset. I wish I had been more daring early on, because my greatest experiences as a writer have been ones that teetered on the edge."

THE NOISE REPORT

1a. As expected, there was immense pushback from viewers on the decision by Turner Sports to buck longstanding Selection Sunday tradition and reveal all the teams in the NCAA tournament field prior to the bracket itself. The phrase “Selection Show” trended on Twitter long after the show ended and Twitter compiled reaction from an angry crowd of sports viewers. The most notable response, from all places, was this laugh-out-loud tweet from the Lawrence (Ks.) Police. What I wrote in 2016 holds true today: “Front-load the program so that all the brackets are revealed within the first 35 minutes and spend the next 85 minutes going heavy on analysis and interviews. If the analysis is good, people are not going to abandon your channel just because the brackets are in. Obviously, this is a high profile property and CBS is in the business of keeping you around to make money but the pacing on Sunday was a huge miss. Viewers will revolt if they think you are stringing them along, which is how it felt watching.” This from the Kansas City Star and this from SI’s Jimmy Traina cover the reactions.

1b. ESPN NFL analyst Louis Riddick is not a man of moderate opinions and goals. He wants to be part of Monday Night Football and has no problem letting the world know of his interest, including his bosses at ESPN.

“This is something that has been a goal of mind and ESPN is very well aware that I am very interested in it,” said Riddick, this week’s guest on the SI Media Podcast. “It is the pinnacle of broadcasting as far as I am concerned, the most iconic position in broadcasting. To be involved with Monday Night Football either as a play-by-play person or analyst is something I am hoping I can achieve.”

Asked what ESPN management’s response has been to Riddick’s interest, Riddick said, “It has been very favorable. They are well aware of it. I think you saw my interest in being a part of a live broadcast, a live game, with my involvement with the Pro Bowl this year and that only scratched the surface of what I think I am capable of doing with that kind of platform. I am fired up about the possibility of being involved with the brand of Monday Night Football in any way shape or form and I think the next couple of weeks and months as ESPN figures out where they want to go with that are going to be awfully exciting for me personally.”

As the guest on Episode 168 of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast, Riddick addressed many topics including what separates a good NFL broadcaster versus an average one; how he has attempted to improve as a broadcaster; his candidness on issues and why too often former players pull punches on the air; how he navigates being a candidate for NFL general manager jobs versus working at ESPN; his thoughts when someone does not report on him accurately; how he approaches discussing social issues or politics on social media; playing under Nick Saban and Bill Belichick in Cleveland; Saban’s attention to detail and what makes him different than other coaches; how the Browns should approach holding the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in the NFL Draft, and much more. To listen to the podcast in full, check it out on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.

PODCAST BREAKDOWN:

• 1:00: What separates a good NFL broadcaster from an average one.

• 2:50: How has Riddick improved as a broadcaster and how much film he watches on his own work.

• 6:40: The aesthetics of sports broadcasting.

• 9:30: Being candid about NFL personnel people and trying to take people behind the curtain of the NFL

• 14:15: Playing for Bill Bellichick and Nick Saban and what separates Saban from other coaches.

• 20:20: Interviewing for general manager jobs while working for ESPN.

• 24:30: Other media writing about him, and his reaction to what he says is incorrect reporting.

• 33:00: What would happen if a mid-season GM job came up.

• 35:20: His approach to social media when it comes to social issues and politics.

• 36:40 His interest in being on Monday Night Football.

• 41:00: Tony Romo’s work this year on CBS and Riddick's preparation for the NFL Draft.

• 47:20: How he believes the Browns will approach the No. 1 and No. 4 overall pick.

• 51:00: How he would approach the end of Tom Brady’s career if he were Patriots management.

2. SI legal analyst Michael McCann analyzed Adrienne Lawrence’s lawsuit against ESPN and the company’s possible defenses.

2a. As SI first reported, Michael Smith’s last day as an ESPN SportsCenter host was Friday.

2b. ESPN jettisoned Sean McDonough out of the Monday Night Football booth despite public votes of confidence from management as recent as just a few months ago. On a positive note for viewers, McDonough signed a new multi-year extension and will rejoin ESPN’s college football team this fall. His assignments will include weekly college football games, as well as a College Football Playoff Semifinal. He will continue to call the CFP National Championship on ESPN Radio, marquee college basketball games, The Masters Par 3 contest and more.

3. How to Watch—And What to Expect From—the Winter Paralympics 2018 on NBC.

4. Sports pieces of note:

• From Indianapolis Star reporters Tim Evans, Joe Guillen, Gina Kaufman, Marisa Kwiatkowski, Matt Mencarini and Mark Alesia: How Larry Nassar abused hundreds of gymnasts and eluded justice for decades.

• A remarkable thread on the KHL from reporter Slava Malamud:

• From Juliet Macur of The New York Times: Suicides, Drug Addiction and High School Football.

Cody Rhodes is carving his own path in memory of his father, "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, from Mike Piellucci of The Ringer.

• Kevin Love, for The Players Tribune, on suffering panic attacks.

New York Times writer Harvey Araton profiled St. John’s coach Chris Mullin.

• ESPN’s Wright Thompson on Ichiro.

• SI’s Lee Jenkins profiled Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey.

• Steve Francis, for The Players Tribune, on his unlikely journey to the NBA.

• The Athletic’s Levi Weaver on Tim Lincecum.

• From ESPN.com’s Susan Ninan: India's Rugby Revolution.

Non-sports pieces of note

The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer on Christopher Steele.

• Via The Atlantic’s Rachel Monroe: The Perfect Man Who Wasn't.

• Via Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times: For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned.

Fifteen women The New York Times overlooked for obituaries.

• From Josh Dean of Bloomberg Businessweek: America Is Giving Away the $30 Billion Medical Marijuana Industry.

• From Eric Adler of The Kansas City Star: Missouri is a destination wedding spot—for 15-year-old brides.

This is my final piece (at least for awhile) for Sports Illustrated. It is a weird sentence to write. This was the singular place I dreamed of working for as a young person and to have worked here for two decades has been an immense professional privilege. SI paid for me to travel the world—I covered seven Olympic Games—and trusted me with assignments that meant a great deal to me, including the Women’s Final Four and the U.S. Open. I was able to work for every part of the editorial brand, from Swimsuit to SI.com to SI Commemoratives, and spent two years helping edit SI For Women (RIP).

It has been an amazing place to work and I leave feeling as close to the brand as I did when SI published my first byline in 1998 about Howie Young, an NHL defenseman for the Red Wings who drank himself out of professional sports before sobering up and finding a second life in Thoreau, N.M., a predominantly Navajo community two hours west of Albuquerque, as a mild-mannered bus driver for the McKinley County public schools.

There are many colleagues that I want to cite publicly for helping and educating me along the journey but I’ll do that in a post on my own social channels. I’ll announce soon enough what’s next but thank you for reading me here, for listening to the podcast and for having an interest in what my SI colleagues and I do professionally.

<p>TORONTO – The “Letters To My Younger Self” series from the Players Tribune has been among the most interesting things the digital publication has done. While the editorial conceit <a href="http://www.oprah.com/spirit/celebrities-letters-to-younger-selves/all" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:existed long before The Players Tribune" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">existed long before The Players Tribune</a>, the publication has received well-deserved praise for the series, including very thoughtful pieces bylined by <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/letter-to-my-younger-self-quentin-richardson/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Quentin Richardson" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Quentin Richardson</a>, <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/author/mike-bossy/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mike Bossy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Mike Bossy</a> and <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/damon-stoudamire-nba-letter-to-my-younger-self/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Damon Stoudamire" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Damon Stoudamire</a>. For the column below, I swiped the concept to ask a number of people in the sports media the following question: <em>What specific career advice would you give your younger self and why?</em> Here’s how they answered:</p><h3><strong>Ian Eagle, CBS Sports play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“I would start off by giving the younger version of myself some practical advice. Don&#39;t eat at a suspect Chinese restaurant in San Francisco before flying on a red-eye with a window seat (trust me on this one). </p><p>If you&#39;re fortunate enough to make it in this highly competitive business, don&#39;t take for granted the chair that you occupy. Take the time to truly appreciate the unique moments along the way—a spectacular NFL Sunday in Foxboro, a raucous crowd at Phog Allen Fieldhouse, or the electricity inside Air Canada Centre in Toronto. It&#39;s easy to get caught up in the preparation and minutia of your assignment, but don&#39;t forget to be present and soak up the atmosphere.</p><p>When you&#39;re young you tend to focus on just your role in the broadcast, as you get older and gain experience you begin to value every person on the crew and the sheer enormity of the production you&#39;re working on. The announcer is a small piece of the puzzle and although you may be front and center, you won&#39;t be successful without the hard work and dedication of others. In addition, be a well rounded person with knowledge that extends beyond the two teams you&#39;re covering—pop culture, world news, social issues may be topics of conversation during a broadcast when you least expect it, be prepared for anything. I would also advise my younger self that nobody cares if your flight was delayed or the people in the hotel room next to you traveled a small chicuacua with them—all that matters is being totally focused and locked-in the moment you go on the air. And have fun!! This isn&#39;t brain surgery (but if you&#39;re a well-rounded person you&#39;d be able to perform that if necessary).”</p><h3><strong>Joe Buck, Fox Sports play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“Keep on your path. Don&#39;t let the ‘noise’ creep in as the years go by. Social media will be both a blessing and a curse. Take it for what it is and be you. Don&#39;t let the ‘he tries to be funny too much’ criticism from a certain columnist from the <em>New York Post</em> affect what you do. Be you. See a therapist before your late 30s—you have a lot of issues to work through. And for the love of God, sleep through your eighth hair transplant appointment in 2011. Trust me, it&#39;s for the best.”</p><h3><strong>Marty Smith, ESPN host and reporter</strong></h3><p><em>“Dear Younger Me...</em></p><p><em>Offering you advice seems ungrateful and haughty, as if you need a different direction. Listen up: You don’t. </em><em>You don’t know it yet, but you’re blessed with a life beyond the craziest fantasy world you could ever conjure. </em><em>So let it ride.</em></p><p><em>Live the Golden Rule. </em></p><p><em>Be kind. Work hard. </em></p><p><em>Head up. Nose down. </em></p><p><em>Heart full. Always. </em></p><p><em>Even when it&#39;s empty.</em></p><p><em>Passion never loses. You’ll meet folks with better looks and more talent and a fancier degree. </em></p><p><em>You’ll never meet anybody with more passion. It’s the one thing you can control. Own it. It&#39;ll take you awhile to gain comfort in that space, but your gut is correct—it’s the right way.</em></p><p><em>Momma always said every man is equal, and deserves respect when he gives it. She’s right. </em><em>Keep treating people well. It matters.</em></p><p><em>Status is fleeting. It’s a drug. It’s a fake title. Authenticity and loyalty are eternal—and hard to come by. Embrace them. </em></p><p><em>Just do you. It’s unorthodox and it’s different, and I know some of the traditional cats are giving you a big ol&#39; ration of s*** for it right now. It hurts, but don’t let on. They&#39;ll come around. </em></p><p><em>You liked to be liked. That will never leave you. You’ll eventually be able to admit it openly and be cool with the admittance.</em></p><p><em>Champion your wife and include her in your triumphs and experiences. They’re so much richer when you share them together. </em></p><p><em>Walk your Faith. This will be a boomerang for you. You&#39;ll let it fly away for a time, but when you seek it, it&#39;ll come back.</em></p><p><em>So the advice: </em><em>Don’t concern yourself with awards. You’ll never win any.</em></p><p><em>Raise some hell, you’re pretty good at it. (Just maybe not as much as you’re raising right now.) </em></p><p><em>Go home and spend some of those hours with Momma and Daddy. You won’t have them for long. </em></p><p><em>And just so you know, Marty: All those eye-roll lessons Daddy preaches constantly about accountability and respect and hard work and the indescribable privilege of being American, and the pride of your last name? </em></p><p><em>Write them down. </em><em>He’s right.”</em></p><h3><strong>Rebecca Lowe, NBC Sports host</strong></h3><p>“I could sit my younger self down for an entire day and give advice. But three of the biggest pieces I would impart are...firstly, never believe anyone who tells you they don’t see you in a specific role. If that’s where you see yourself and where you believe you can shine then stick at it and prove the doubters wrong. No one knows you better than you know yourself and use the doubt to drive you on.</p><p>Secondly, know that not every job is perfect and they tend to be less perfect in the early stages of your career when you’re trying to carve your path. It might be that you can’t stand your job, or your boss or the people around you but if it’s a job that will help you get to the next stage then head down and power through. Always remember it is a lucky person who gets to enjoy their job. So if it takes some years of disgruntlement and dissatisfaction to get to where you’re happy, that’s the sacrifice you have to pay. I always suggest asking yourself: ‘What’s your alternative choice?’ Often the alternatives are not as good. And, finally, over prepare. In everything you do. If you do this, you’ll never come unstuck.”</p><h3><strong>Shea Serrano, writer and best-selling author, <em>The Ringer</em></strong></h3><p><em>“</em>I would tell my younger self three things:</p><p><strong>1. Always say yes.</strong> If someone asks you to do a work thing, just say yes. It doesn&#39;t matter if you know how to do it or not. Just say yes and then trust yourself to figure it out. I remember one time MTV asked me to make some pop culture postcards for them for the holidays one year. I had no idea how to do it, but what I did know was that they were gonna pay me several hundred dollars to them. So when they called and asked if it was something I knew how to do, I was just like, ‘Yup. I got you. I do it all the time.’ That&#39;s how I tried to handle everything. I didn&#39;t know how to write a book until I wrote a book, you know what I&#39;m saying?</p><p><strong>2. Don&#39;t be late.</strong> There are absolutely some people who were born with a natural gift for writing and storytelling; just brilliant, exceptional people birthed with brilliant, exceptional talent in their bones. Not me, though. And that being the case, I knew I was never going to be able to keep up with those type of people if I was just depending on my own tiny amount of talent. So, as a way to supplement that, I just decided to try to never, ever, ever be late with an assignment. I would always turn my stuff in early, answer emails quickly, respond to phone calls immediately, so on and so forth. You can&#39;t control talent, but you can control work ethic is what I&#39;m telling you. And in my experience, an editor is more likely to choose working with someone who&#39;s a decent writer but is super dependable over choosing to work with someone who is an exceptional writer but is unreliable.</p><p><strong>3. Know that everyone gets kicked in the teeth a billion times before they ‘make it.’ </strong>This was the hardest thing to learn, and something that I&#39;m still dealing with today. A lot of being a writer is pitching stories and ideas and then either a) never hearing back, or b) hearing back but it&#39;s a no. It&#39;s hard not to take it personal when it happens, because it always seems to feel like they&#39;re turning you down, not like they&#39;re turning your ideas down. But, as I&#39;ve come to learn, it happens to everyone all the time. I mean, just think on it like, I&#39;m a No. 1 <em>New York Times</em> bestselling author. That&#39;s a real and true thing. And still, it doesn&#39;t matter. I get turned down for things literally every week. It&#39;s just the way it goes. You gotta just keep going. Because that&#39;s really the main difference that separates someone who makes it from someone who doesn&#39;t. The person who made it was the one who kept getting up after getting kicked in the teeth. The person who didn&#39;t make it didn&#39;t get up.</p><h3><strong>Erika Nardini, Barstool Sports CEO</strong></h3><p>“You do not look good with short hair, don’t try it. Don’t work away your 20s. Bigger companies don’t necessarily give you bigger chances for success. Don’t worry about how one job relates to the next. There’s a thru-line in there somewhere and the right person/company will see it.”</p><h3><strong>Adam Schefter, ESPN NFL insider and podcast host</strong></h3><p>“What I would tell my younger self is the exact advice I did try to tell my younger self; I just couldn&#39;t listen to it, not in the way I wanted because I was so consumed with trying to land a sports reporting job or advancing once I had it.</p><p>Back when I was at the University of Michigan in the late 1980s, my college roommates and I discovered this poem called <em>The Station</em>, by Robert J. Hastings. We would read it and remind each other of it, and we even put it at the end of a video we made at the end of our senior year, as we were graduating, one final reminder of lessons we all should learn. It&#39;s good advice for any young person in any young field—better than anything I can offer. I never like when people lean on a poem to try to convey thoughts, but I believe it&#39;s valuable advice for anyone just getting started—or even finishing up.”</p><p>The Station, by Robert J. Hastings</p><p><em>Tucked away in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision in which we see ourselves on a long journey that spans an entire continent. We’re traveling by train and, from the windows, we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at crossings, of cattle grazing in distant pastures, of smoke pouring from power plants, of row upon row upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of city skylines and village halls.</em></p><p><em>But uppermost in our conscious minds is our final destination—for at a certain hour and on a given day, our train will finally pull into the Station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands playing. And once that day comes, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So restlessly, we pace the aisles and count the miles, peering ahead, waiting, waiting, waiting for the Station.</em></p><p><em>“Yes, when we reach the Station, that will be it!” we promise ourselves. “When we’re eighteen. . . win that promotion. . . put the last kid through college. . . buy that 450SL Mercedes-Benz. . . have a nest egg for retirement!” From that day on we will all live happily ever after.</em></p><p><em>Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no Station in this life, no one earthly place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The Station is an illusion—it constantly outdistances us. Yesterday’s a memory, tomorrow’s a dream. Yesterday belongs to a history, tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday’s a fading sunset, tomorrow’s a faint sunrise. Only today is there light enough to love and live.</em></p><p><em>So, gently close the door on yesterday and throw the key away. It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad, but rather the regret over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.</em></p><p><em>“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”</em></p><p><em>So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, swim more rivers, climb more mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more and cry less. Go barefoot oftener. Eat more ice cream. Ride more merry-go-rounds. Watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we go along. The Station will come soon enough.</em></p><h3><strong>Amy Trask, NFL analyst, CBS Sports</strong></h3><p>“I would tell my younger self: listen to your mom. The best advice I have ever been given was imparted to me by my mom: to thine own self be true. (As an aside, I will note that it wasn’t until I was almost out of college that I learned that these wise words were those spoken by Polonius to Laertes in Hamlet. While one might then say that my advice to my younger self would be to follow the words of Shakespeare, I shall always consider this the advice my mom shared with me.) </p><p>My mom repeated this advice (over and over), as moms are wont to do. I sometimes rolled my eyes, as kids are wont to do.</p><p>While it is unequivocally the best advice I have ever received, I didn’t always follow it. I heeded this advice for the most part and when I did I was my strongest and my most capable. I am my best when I am myself, as my mom advised me to be. But there were times I didn’t follow this advice and instead tried to be something or someone I was not and in those instances not only was I not my best, I stumbled and bumbled and fumbled. It just doesn’t work for me to try to be what I am not.</p><p>So my advice to my younger self is quite simple: listen to your mom even (or especially) in those instances in which you may be tempted to ignore or don’t believe you need to follow her advice and ‘to thine own self be true.’”</p><h3><strong>Beth Mowins, ESPN and CBS Sports play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“I would tell my younger self to keep a journal. I wish I had the ability to look back over the years and recall where I have been and what I have done. It doesn&#39;t have to be much...even just a few sentences about games and places and people. So many great stories have been lost in my memory banks and I wish I could bring some back. We are lucky to spend time with amazing players and coaches and it would be nice to have a journal to reflect on the good times with the people in this business. Enjoy the journey...and jot it down. It&#39;s important because you want to pass on knowledge to the younger people in this business. It&#39;s always nice to have a story to tell about ‘when I was your age,’ or be able to say, ‘I went through something similar’ and here&#39;s what happened. It can also help you do your job better by providing some historical perspective to the games you are covering. I enjoy a good quote or a funny anecdote as much as the next person. Sportscasting is still about relationships with people and the more connections you can make the better off you will be.”</p><h3><strong>Don Van Natta Jr., ESPN senior writer and investigative reporter</strong></h3><p>“Relax, kid. Don’t sweat the small stuff. And what’s ‘the small stuff,’ you ask? The highlight reel of all the indignities and idiocy that will comprise a 30-year journalism career: the published mistakes (yours and others); the big-footing colleagues; the years (or decades) of no raises; the editors who merrily drive lawn mowers through your copy; the slammed doors and the hung-up phones; the grounded late-night flights and canceled summer vacations; the sources who lie to you or about you; the Christmas Eve calls from long-winded bosses; the scoops that get away; the ‘fake news’-spewing ‘readers’ who don’t read a word of what you write; the rabid fans who will only hear fraudulent, bumper-sticker characterizations of your stories on WEEI in Boston; the omnipresent drumbeat of job cuts.</p><p>In the wide-open canvas of a career, nearly all of it amounts to small stuff. Trust me, it’s true. So keep reminding yourself of that. And don’t frown so damn much.</p><p>Being a journalist in America is still one of the best jobs in the world, despite everything. Think about it: you get paid to find the truth and report it to an audience starving for it. When things go wrong—and they often will—don’t let those moments trip you up. Just roll with it, cold-call the next would-be source and chase the next scoop with as much as confidence and swagger as you mustered the day before.</p><p>You don’t know this now but the friends you make in this business will last far longer than the best stories you’ll write and the best prizes you’ll win. And all the fun you’re going to have will far eclipse the days of failure and frustration. Remember, kid: 10,000 writers would give anything to have your nickels-paying, out-in-the-boondocks job. So…</p><p>Count your blessings. Embrace the good. Savor every moment. And smile.”</p><h3><strong>Candace Buckner, <em>The Washington Post</em> Wizards writer</strong></h3><p>“When I talk to young journalists, I always tell them to read more than just the sports page, network, and write daily—three things I should’ve done better when I was their age. But if I could give my younger self some advice, it would be pointed and simple: don’t bury your head into journalism, get out and experience life.</p><p>I was a focused kid when I arrived at Mizzou, with set-in-stone goals that centered on getting into J-School then becoming the next Willow Bay or Robin Roberts. I worked my tail off, held down a couple jobs and ran a floor in my dorm. I didn’t mess around and while I dig that about young Candace, I wish I would’ve told myself: <em>Chill, homie, and go do real life.</em> Go spend a summer abroad and learn something about the world outside of your perfectly-crafted tiny universe you have at Columbia, Mo. I needed more experience. While I don’t dare to think that if I would’ve gone to Thailand at 22 years old, then I would have this whole life thing all figured out (people who do that are the worst), I do believe that traveling and experiencing other cultures would’ve opened up a lifetime of learning, which in turn would make me a better writer and reporter. When I was younger, I was racing. But it would’ve OK to slow down and live.”</p><h3><strong>Mike Arnold, CBS Sports lead NFL director</strong></h3><p>“I guess the advice I&#39;d give my younger self is to keep working hard and eventually things will work out. I remember first starting out in television as a runner with ABC Sports and was so disappointed when I didn&#39;t get a full time job with them after spending about 3-4 years working countless weekends trying to land a position. I figured I&#39;d end up back home in Scottsdale working somewhere but probably not in television. I even applied to the city of Phoenix to work in the public information office and didn&#39;t get a response. Luckily, I had some young ABC production assistants in my corner because when Terry O&#39;Neil left ABC Sports and came over to CBS Sports, David Dinkins, Jr. and Peter Lasser (those two production assistants) told O&#39;Neil that I should be the first production assistant hired at CBS Sports. O&#39;Neil hired me. That was 1981 and I&#39;m still here at CBS.”</p><h3><strong>Kerith Burke, Warriors reporter, NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California</strong></h3><p>“I’d like to tell my younger self, ‘you’re on the right path, and your path is your own.’ I fall back on this advice in many situations to calm the worry hamster in my head who likes to hop on its wheel and churn the night away. I try to remind myself that when it comes to jobs on this path, talent, timing, and luck all play a role. Only one of those I can control.</p><p>This advice overlaps with something else: Jealousy is a useless emotion. Coming out of college, I was too concerned with others. I was envious about not working for the No. 1 station, or wondered why a colleague got an assignment I knew I could do well. This stemmed from my insecurity, and not knowing healthy ways to aim my ambition. I had to grow up. As I grew up, my path braided with friends in the industry to make us stronger. Don’t compete against your colleagues, befriend them. There’s plenty of room for all of us. It feels best to walk together.”</p><h3><strong>Dianna Russini, ESPN NFL reporter and studio host</strong></h3><p>“Don’t lose touch with those who have helped you grow both professionally and personally. You hear it all the time, ‘be good to everyone,’ but the reality is life gets busy and we all get consumed. It isn’t until you are in a tough spot professionally or maybe even without a job that you start realizing you should have built stronger relationships with those who have put themselves out for your own benefit. Just a few years ago, I was unemployed, living with my parents and looking for work in local sports. I was miserable and the market was worse. About seven years prior, when I was in college at George Mason University, I had reached out to random news directors in the NY/NJ/CT area looking for internships during my summer break. One news director was kind enough to write back to share that he had no openings but to stay in touch. I didn’t. Fast forward to the year I was looking for work and that same news director, Mike St. Peter, who was still the news director at NBC Connecticut, kindly answered my email once again. I always regretted I never sent him a note or even checked in on him over the years since he didn’t have to write back to a college student with zero experience, and I needed him now.</p><p>This time he brought me in for an interview, and days later, he hired me as a sports/news reporter. That was the start of my career. Under his leadership, he allowed me to be part of breaking news coverage at Sandy Hook Elementary and the Boston Marathon bombings. It turned out he wasn’t just a good e-mailer but a superb newsroom leader. He took a really big chance on me when in reality I had done nothing to give him security that I was a good reporter or even a decent human being. Every year since I don’t make the same mistake. I send Mike, who has now moved on to become President and General Manager of NBC Boston, a note to just say, thanks for giving me a chance when nobody would take a call. He usually responds with something that lets me know he’s proud. Work hard at your craft but you can’t do it alone. Appreciate those who help because you never know.”</p><h3><strong>Andrea Kremer, NFL Network reporter and HBO Real Sports correspondent</strong></h3><p>“I would tell my younger self to try and enjoy the moment more. For decades, I was so focused on what’s the next story...the next game...the next big interview....the next important issue that I rarely enjoyed ‘the moment.’ This is not one of these New Age epiphanies but there have been seminal moments of my career that I wish I had relished more. In retrospect, I think it felt anathema to me to ‘enjoy’ the moment as though I equated that with being a fan and not a serious journalist but that is wrong. After more than two decades in television my realization came in 2008 as I prepared to cover the single greatest event in my career (to date)—Michael Phelps’ quest for his eighth gold medal. I specifically thought about the historical aspect of the day and my small role in it as I was headed to the pool deck. It was meaningful for what it taught me at that time and moving forward. Now it’s a learning lesson I try to impart to younger broadcasters in lieu of my younger self.”</p><h3><strong>J.A. Adande, director of sports journalism at Northwestern University</strong></h3><p>“On a practical level, I&#39;d tell myself to invest in the company 401k at the earliest opportunity and to the maximum tax-exempt amounts. And if not eligible, open an IRA. The last thing a 21-year-old thinks about is retirement planning.</p><p>I am curious what would have happened if I had told my younger self to stick with my original goal of being a play-by-play announcer. I got a taste of working game broadcasts while doing sidelines the past few years and it kind of made me wish I had charted a course toward sitting in that No. 1 seat. Still, I doubt it would have led to me working 20 NBA Finals in addition to just about every other major sporting event, so I think younger me got it right.”</p><h3><strong>Suzanne Smith, CBS Sports director and the first woman to direct NFL games fulltime</strong></h3><p><em>“</em>Dear Suzanne,</p><p>You are about to embark on an amazing journey. One full of adventure, excitement and challenges. Hard work, your attitude, respect and integrity will be the cornerstones.</p><p><strong>Some basic rules</strong></p><p>Treat EVERYONE equally, from your runners to the CEO. Work as hard as you can. Tackle each task like it’s the last, then work harder. Understand that every job is important. Speak up. Your ideas have value, even in a room of people with more experience. Take risks, don’t be afraid to fail. Send handwritten thank you notes. If you’re not early, you’re late.</p><p><strong>Take advantage of the skills you’ve gained as an athlete</strong></p><p>Be a leader and a team player. Be competitive while working with your colleagues. First to arrive, last to leave. Inspire others. Rise to the occasion when the pressure is on.</p><p><strong>On the practical side</strong></p><p>Invest in a good piece of luggage, one with wheels! Dress like a professional, not like you are in your college dorm. Keep a journal, keep your credentials, photos. Don’t be in a rush to get from one event to the next. Take the time to soak it all in. Don’t assume your boss knows what you want to do. Be proactive about your assignments and the events you want to be a part of.</p><p><strong>The boys club</strong></p><p>Be yourself. You will never be one of the boys, stop trying. The day you accept this, things will be easier. The day you realize you don’t WANT to be part of ‘the club,’ your world will change.</p><p><strong>Family and friends</strong></p><p>Balancing your career and life will be challenging at times. You will have to make sacrifices to be successful in this industry. Remember, your family, partner and friends are affected as well.</p><p><strong>You got this</strong></p><p>It’s not enough to dream your dreams. You’ve got to pursue your dreams. No, it’s not always easy but if it was easy, anybody could do it. Always remember and remind those around you that it is a privilege to be a part of some of the most coveted sporting events in the world. Believe in yourself and let your passions be your guide. Enjoy your amazing journey.”</p><h3><strong>Tim Brando, Fox Sports play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“Many times as sportscasters we talk about players that sometimes force it, or press their efforts as opposed to letting the game come to them. Ours is a totally subjective craft and for everyone that loves your work there will always be those that don’t. I’m blessed to have had a career that’s spanned four decades with ESPN as its starting point, then a quick transition to Turner, and then an 18-year run at CBS, before joining FOX four years ago. Honestly, only now do I personally believe I’m as grateful and feel as privileged as I always should have to do what I love for a living. Type A’s are littered throughout sports television and most of us want to get the top assignments in live sports television. I wouldn’t change my path, but I would recommend if I had the chance to start over to have enjoyed the journey by living more in the moment than I did. Breaking into syndicated play-by-play in 1982-83 with Raycom/Jefferson Pilot and making ESPN freelance appearances as a play-by-play man in my mid 20’s in 1985 had me thinking that was my calling. But upon my arrival to Bristol in late 1986 the suits saw me as a studio talent first! I fought that and I probably should have embraced it far more; it did help me later in securing a gig at the ‘Tiffany’ Network, CBS. I loved what I was doing, but shouldn’t have been so concerned with what’s next!</p><p>‘Tim, slow down, you’re in a great spot, don’t worry so much about what’s next,’ my old departed friend John Saunders would say. He was right. I tell young broadcasters all the time to enjoy the journey and the relationships that come with it. A wonderful collection of people that could put me in places to succeed have always been there for me. They (the suits) want to know how privileged you feel. I would tell myself if I were younger, to let them know that, and stop worrying about chasing the next great gig. You’ve already got a really good one. Keep loving it, performing it and good things will come your way. I’ve found that understanding your role, and giving the employer your best in that role is not only better, but allows for greater fullness of life.”</p><h3><strong>Nancy Armour, sports columnist, <em>USA Today</em></strong></h3><p><strong>“Develop your own voice.</strong></p><p>Find writers whose work—and work ethic—you admire, and study what they do and how they do it. Learn from them and make use of any tips or guidance they share, but don’t make the mistake of trying to be them. There will only be one Dave Anderson or Jim Litke or Jackie MacMullan or Leonard Pitts, and trying to write in a voice or style that isn’t your own will come across as forced and inauthentic. Find your voice, your style and the writing will flow better.</p><p><strong>Learn from your mistakes.</strong></p><p>Mistakes are going to happen, it’s human nature. You will beat yourself up something awful and forever cringe at the memory of it. But make sure you learn from it, too. Recognizing how and why the mistake occurred is the surest way to avoid doing it again in the future.</p><p><strong>Expand your world.</strong></p><p>Read books and listen to podcasts about things that have nothing to do with your job or the sport(s) you cover. Have friends and interests outside the business. There’s a risk of getting stale and jaded when you are immersed in the same thing day after day, week after week, year after year. Getting outside your bubble is the best way of guarding against that—and also a reminder that what we do is pretty damn cool.</p><p><strong>Don’t be afraid to fail.</strong></p><p>When I was 13, my father gave me some advice that influences me to this day. I won’t bore you with the whole story, but the gist was that you should never let the fear of failure, or fear in general, stop you from doing something. Wondering ‘What if?’ after you’ve let an opportunity pass will haunt you longer than any embarrassment you might have suffered, and nothing empowers you quite like tackling your fears head on.</p><p><strong>Enjoy the ride.</strong></p><p>We have fun, interesting jobs that most people envy when they hear about them. It’s easy to forget that with deadlines, the stress over the state of the business and the pressure of always having to do more. But every once in a while, take a breather and remember what drew you to the profession in the first place.”</p><h3><strong>Kenny Albert, Fox Sports and NBC Sports play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“Work, work, work! Preparation will be the key to a career in sports broadcasting. Read everything you can get your hands on. Look into internships during your high school and college years, but also get as many reps as you can on-air. If a local cable station happens to visit your high school to film a girls basketball game, volunteer to do the play-by-play. Perhaps they will offer you hundreds of other games in all sports over the next three years, which could prove to be the most invaluable experience you could ever ask for.</p><p>Practice makes perfect! Also be sure to learn other positions—producing, editing, writing, keeping statistics, etc. Watch and listen to as many games as possible—to absorb both announcing styles and information via osmosis. If your initial goal is hockey radio play-by-play, send tapes out to as many teams as possible all over North America. Don&#39;t be afraid of 10-hour bus rides. Working in the minor leagues could wind up among the most important and memorable years of your professional career.”</p><h3><strong>Adnan Virk, ESPN studio host and play-by-play announcer</strong></h3><p>“I would tell myself to ignore all the trolls. When people ask me for advice in this business it can be epitomized in two words: thick skin. No matter what people may tweet at you, no matter how disparaging or hateful it may be, don’t let it affect you emotionally, or your performance in any manner. I would also tell my younger self to pay more attention to the 1984 Orange Bowl between Nebraska and Miami since one day improbably I would be the studio host for CFB and such background would be more helpful rather than watching the Gretzky-era Oilers dynasty in bloom.”</p><h3><strong>Mina Kimes, ESPN reporter and columnist</strong></h3><p>&quot;I would have told my younger self to take more creative risks. At the beginning of my career, I was terrified of failure, so I always pursued projects that I knew I could execute. But I&#39;ve since learned that the best stories are the ones that seem insurmountable—not just when the reporting is difficult, but also when an idea feels murky at the outset. I wish I had been more daring early on, because my greatest experiences as a writer have been ones that teetered on the edge.&quot;</p><h3>THE NOISE REPORT</h3><p><strong>1a.</strong> As expected, there was immense pushback from viewers on the decision by Turner Sports to buck longstanding Selection Sunday tradition and reveal all the teams in the NCAA tournament field prior to the bracket itself. The phrase “Selection Show” trended on Twitter long after the show ended and <a href="https://twitter.com/i/moments/972960904143888384" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Twitter compiled reaction from an angry crowd of sports viewers" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Twitter compiled reaction from an angry crowd of sports viewers</a>. The most notable response, from all places, was <a href="https://twitter.com/LawrenceKS_PD/status/972957250506641411" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:this laugh-out-loud tweet from the Lawrence (Ks.) Police" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">this laugh-out-loud tweet from the Lawrence (Ks.) Police</a>. What I wrote in 2016 holds true today: “Front-load the program so that all the brackets are revealed within the first 35 minutes and spend the next 85 minutes going heavy on analysis and interviews. If the analysis is good, people are not going to abandon your channel just because the brackets are in. Obviously, this is a high profile property and CBS is in the business of keeping you around to make money but the pacing on Sunday was a huge miss. Viewers will revolt if they think you are stringing them along, which is how it felt watching.” This from the <em><a href="http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/for-petes-sake/article204614759.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Kansas City Star" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Kansas City Star</a></em> and <a href="https://www.si.com/extra-mustard/2018/03/12/ncaa-tournament-selection-show-twitter-reaction" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:this from SI’s Jimmy Traina" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">this from SI’s Jimmy Traina</a> cover the reactions.</p><p><strong>1b.</strong> ESPN NFL analyst Louis Riddick is not a man of moderate opinions and goals. He wants to be part of Monday Night Football and has no problem letting the world know of his interest, including his bosses at ESPN.</p><p>“This is something that has been a goal of mind and ESPN is very well aware that I am very interested in it,” said Riddick, this week’s guest on the SI Media Podcast. “It is the pinnacle of broadcasting as far as I am concerned, the most iconic position in broadcasting. To be involved with Monday Night Football either as a play-by-play person or analyst is something I am hoping I can achieve.”</p><p>Asked what ESPN management’s response has been to Riddick’s interest, Riddick said, “It has been very favorable. They are well aware of it. I think you saw my interest in being a part of a live broadcast, a live game, with my involvement with the Pro Bowl this year and that only scratched the surface of what I think I am capable of doing with that kind of platform. I am fired up about the possibility of being involved with the brand of Monday Night Football in any way shape or form and I think the next couple of weeks and months as ESPN figures out where they want to go with that are going to be awfully exciting for me personally.”</p><p>As the guest on Episode 168 of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast, Riddick addressed many topics including what separates a good NFL broadcaster versus an average one; how he has attempted to improve as a broadcaster; his candidness on issues and why too often former players pull punches on the air; how he navigates being a candidate for NFL general manager jobs versus working at ESPN; his thoughts when someone does not report on him accurately; how he approaches discussing social issues or politics on social media; playing under Nick Saban and Bill Belichick in Cleveland; Saban’s attention to detail and what makes him different than other coaches; how the Browns should approach holding the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in the NFL Draft, and much more. To listen to the podcast in full, check it out on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.</p><p><strong>PODCAST BREAKDOWN:</strong></p><p><strong>• 1:00: </strong>What separates a good NFL broadcaster from an average one.</p><p><strong>• 2:50:</strong> How has Riddick improved as a broadcaster and how much film he watches on his own work.</p><p><strong>• 6:40: </strong>The aesthetics of sports broadcasting.</p><p><strong>• 9:30:</strong> Being candid about NFL personnel people and trying to take people behind the curtain of the NFL</p><p><strong>• 14:15: </strong>Playing for Bill Bellichick and Nick Saban and what separates Saban from other coaches.</p><p><strong>• 20:20: </strong>Interviewing for general manager jobs while working for ESPN.</p><p><strong>• 24:30:</strong> Other media writing about him, and his reaction to what he says is incorrect reporting.</p><p><strong>• 33:00:</strong> What would happen if a mid-season GM job came up.</p><p><strong>• 35:20:</strong> His approach to social media when it comes to social issues and politics.</p><p><strong>• 36:40 </strong>His interest in being on Monday Night Football.</p><p><strong>• 41:00: </strong>Tony Romo’s work this year on CBS and Riddick&#39;s preparation for the NFL Draft.</p><p><strong>• 47:20: </strong>How he believes the Browns will approach the No. 1 and No. 4 overall pick.</p><p><strong>• 51:00: </strong>How he would approach the end of Tom Brady’s career if he were Patriots management.</p><p><strong>2.</strong> SI legal analyst Michael McCann <a href="https://www.si.com/tech-media/2018/03/05/adrienne-lawrence-espn-lawsuit-john-buccigross" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:analyzed Adrienne Lawrence’s lawsuit against ESPN" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">analyzed Adrienne Lawrence’s lawsuit against ESPN</a> and the company’s possible defenses.</p><p><strong>2a.</strong> As SI first reported, <a href="https://www.si.com/tech-media/2018/03/08/michael-smith-espn-leaving-sportscenter-sc6" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Michael Smith’s last day as an ESPN SportsCenter host" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Michael Smith’s last day as an ESPN SportsCenter host</a> was Friday.</p><p><strong>2b.</strong> ESPN jettisoned Sean McDonough out of the Monday Night Football booth despite public votes of confidence from management as recent as just a few months ago. On a positive note for viewers, McDonough signed a new multi-year extension and will rejoin ESPN’s college football team this fall. His assignments will include weekly college football games, as well as a College Football Playoff Semifinal. He will continue to call the CFP National Championship on ESPN Radio, marquee college basketball games, The Masters Par 3 contest and more.</p><p><strong>3.</strong> <a href="https://www.si.com/tech-media/2018/03/07/winter-paralympics-2018-nbc-coverage-pyeongchang" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:How to Watch—And What to Expect From—the Winter Paralympics 2018 on NBC." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">How to Watch—And What to Expect From—the Winter Paralympics 2018 on NBC.</a></p><p><strong>4.</strong> <strong>Sports pieces of note:</strong></p><p>• From <em>Indianapolis Star</em> reporters Tim Evans, Joe Guillen, Gina Kaufman, Marisa Kwiatkowski, Matt Mencarini and Mark Alesia: <a href="https://www.indystar.com/story/news/2018/03/08/larry-nassar-sexually-abused-gymnasts-michigan-state-university-usa-gymnastics/339051002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:How Larry Nassar abused hundreds of gymnasts and eluded justice for decades." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">How Larry Nassar abused hundreds of gymnasts and eluded justice for decades.</a></p><p>• A remarkable thread on the KHL from reporter Slava Malamud: </p><p>• From Juliet Macur of <em>The New York Times</em>: <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/08/sports/opioids-suicide.html?smid=tw-nytsports&#38;smtyp=cur" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Suicides, Drug Addiction and High School Football." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Suicides, Drug Addiction and High School Football.</a></p><p>• <a href="https://www.theringer.com/2018/3/6/17072332/cody-rhodes-dusty-rhodes-all-in" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Cody Rhodes is carving his own path in memory of his father" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Cody Rhodes is carving his own path in memory of his father</a>, &quot;The American Dream&quot; Dusty Rhodes, from Mike Piellucci of The Ringer.</p><p>• Kevin Love, for The Players Tribune, <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/kevin-love-everyone-is-going-through-something/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:on suffering panic attacks." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">on suffering panic attacks.</a></p><p>• <em>New York Times</em> writer Harvey Araton <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/06/sports/ncaabasketball/big-east-st-johns-mullin.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fsports&#38;action=click&#38;contentCollection=sports&#38;region=rank&#38;module=package&#38;version=highlights&#38;contentPlacement=1&#38;pgtype=sectionfront" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:profiled St. John’s coach Chris Mullin." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">profiled St. John’s coach Chris Mullin.</a></p><p>• ESPN’s <a href="http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/22624561/ichiro-suzuki-return-seattle-mariners-resolve-internal-battle" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Wright Thompson on Ichiro" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Wright Thompson on Ichiro</a>.</p><p>• SI’s Lee Jenkins profiled <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/03/06/dwane-casey-raptors-kyle-lowry-demar-derozan-kentucky-ncaa" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey</a>.</p><p>• Steve Francis, for The Players Tribune, on <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/steve-francis-i-got-a-story-to-tell/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:his unlikely journey to the NBA." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">his unlikely journey to the NBA.</a></p><p>• The Athletic’s Levi Weaver on <a href="https://theathletic.com/264535/2018/03/07/tim-lincecum-and-the-weird-gremlin-of-grief/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tim Lincecum." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Tim Lincecum.</a></p><p>• From ESPN.com’s Susan Ninan: <a href="http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/22667359/in-india-rugby-helps-women-find-level-playing-field?utm_source=The+Sunday+Long+Read+subscribers&#38;utm_campaign=fa5fa24f7d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_03_09&#38;utm_medium=email&#38;utm_term=0_67e6e8a504-fa5fa24f7d-273522061" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:India&#39;s Rugby Revolution." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">India&#39;s Rugby Revolution.</a></p><p><strong>Non-sports pieces of note</strong></p><p>• <em>The New Yorker</em>’s Jane Mayer on <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/03/12/christopher-steele-the-man-behind-the-trump-dossier" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Christopher Steele" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Christopher Steele</a>.</p><p>• Via The Atlantic’s Rachel Monroe: <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/04/our-time-com-con-man/554057/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Perfect Man Who Wasn&#39;t." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Perfect Man Who Wasn&#39;t.</a></p><p>• Via Farhad Manjoo of <em>The New York Times</em>: <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/07/technology/two-months-news-newspapers.html?smid=tw-share" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned.</a></p><p>• <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/obituaries/overlooked.html?smid=tw-nytimes&#38;smtyp=cur" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Fifteen women The New York Times overlooked for obituaries" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Fifteen women <em>The New York Times</em> overlooked for obituaries</a>.</p><p>• From Josh Dean of <em>Bloomberg Businessweek</em>: <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/obituaries/overlooked.html?smid=tw-nytimes&#38;smtyp=cur" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:America Is Giving Away the $30 Billion Medical Marijuana Industry." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">America Is Giving Away the $30 Billion Medical Marijuana Industry.</a></p><p>• From Eric Adler of <em>The Kansas City Star</em>: <a href="http://www.kansascity.com/news/state/missouri/article204287484.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Missouri is a destination wedding spot—for 15-year-old brides." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Missouri is a destination wedding spot—for 15-year-old brides.</a></p><p>This is my final piece (at least for awhile) for <em>Sports Illustrated</em>. It is a weird sentence to write. This was the singular place I dreamed of working for as a young person and to have worked here for two decades has been an immense professional privilege. SI paid for me to travel the world—I covered seven Olympic Games—and trusted me with assignments that meant a great deal to me, including the Women’s Final Four and the U.S. Open. I was able to work for every part of the editorial brand, from Swimsuit to SI.com to SI Commemoratives, and spent two years helping edit SI For Women (RIP).</p><p>It has been an amazing place to work and I leave feeling as close to the brand as I did when <a href="https://www.si.com/vault/1998/06/15/244478/howie-young-red-wings-defenseman-january-28-1963" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:SI published my first byline" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">SI published my first byline</a> in 1998 about Howie Young, an NHL defenseman for the Red Wings who drank himself out of professional sports before sobering up and finding a second life in Thoreau, N.M., a predominantly Navajo community two hours west of Albuquerque, as a mild-mannered bus driver for the McKinley County public schools.</p><p>There are many colleagues that I want to cite publicly for helping and educating me along the journey but I’ll do that in a post on my own social channels. I’ll announce soon enough what’s next but thank you for reading me here, for listening to the podcast and for having an interest in what my SI colleagues and I do professionally.</p>
Media Circus: 22 Well-Known Sports Media Members Give Advice to Their Younger Selves

TORONTO – The “Letters To My Younger Self” series from the Players Tribune has been among the most interesting things the digital publication has done. While the editorial conceit existed long before The Players Tribune, the publication has received well-deserved praise for the series, including very thoughtful pieces bylined by Quentin Richardson, Mike Bossy and Damon Stoudamire. For the column below, I swiped the concept to ask a number of people in the sports media the following question: What specific career advice would you give your younger self and why? Here’s how they answered:

Ian Eagle, CBS Sports play-by-play announcer

“I would start off by giving the younger version of myself some practical advice. Don't eat at a suspect Chinese restaurant in San Francisco before flying on a red-eye with a window seat (trust me on this one).

If you're fortunate enough to make it in this highly competitive business, don't take for granted the chair that you occupy. Take the time to truly appreciate the unique moments along the way—a spectacular NFL Sunday in Foxboro, a raucous crowd at Phog Allen Fieldhouse, or the electricity inside Air Canada Centre in Toronto. It's easy to get caught up in the preparation and minutia of your assignment, but don't forget to be present and soak up the atmosphere.

When you're young you tend to focus on just your role in the broadcast, as you get older and gain experience you begin to value every person on the crew and the sheer enormity of the production you're working on. The announcer is a small piece of the puzzle and although you may be front and center, you won't be successful without the hard work and dedication of others. In addition, be a well rounded person with knowledge that extends beyond the two teams you're covering—pop culture, world news, social issues may be topics of conversation during a broadcast when you least expect it, be prepared for anything. I would also advise my younger self that nobody cares if your flight was delayed or the people in the hotel room next to you traveled a small chicuacua with them—all that matters is being totally focused and locked-in the moment you go on the air. And have fun!! This isn't brain surgery (but if you're a well-rounded person you'd be able to perform that if necessary).”

Joe Buck, Fox Sports play-by-play announcer

“Keep on your path. Don't let the ‘noise’ creep in as the years go by. Social media will be both a blessing and a curse. Take it for what it is and be you. Don't let the ‘he tries to be funny too much’ criticism from a certain columnist from the New York Post affect what you do. Be you. See a therapist before your late 30s—you have a lot of issues to work through. And for the love of God, sleep through your eighth hair transplant appointment in 2011. Trust me, it's for the best.”

Marty Smith, ESPN host and reporter

“Dear Younger Me...

Offering you advice seems ungrateful and haughty, as if you need a different direction. Listen up: You don’t. You don’t know it yet, but you’re blessed with a life beyond the craziest fantasy world you could ever conjure. So let it ride.

Live the Golden Rule.

Be kind. Work hard.

Head up. Nose down.

Heart full. Always.

Even when it's empty.

Passion never loses. You’ll meet folks with better looks and more talent and a fancier degree.

You’ll never meet anybody with more passion. It’s the one thing you can control. Own it. It'll take you awhile to gain comfort in that space, but your gut is correct—it’s the right way.

Momma always said every man is equal, and deserves respect when he gives it. She’s right. Keep treating people well. It matters.

Status is fleeting. It’s a drug. It’s a fake title. Authenticity and loyalty are eternal—and hard to come by. Embrace them.

Just do you. It’s unorthodox and it’s different, and I know some of the traditional cats are giving you a big ol' ration of s*** for it right now. It hurts, but don’t let on. They'll come around.

You liked to be liked. That will never leave you. You’ll eventually be able to admit it openly and be cool with the admittance.

Champion your wife and include her in your triumphs and experiences. They’re so much richer when you share them together.

Walk your Faith. This will be a boomerang for you. You'll let it fly away for a time, but when you seek it, it'll come back.

So the advice: Don’t concern yourself with awards. You’ll never win any.

Raise some hell, you’re pretty good at it. (Just maybe not as much as you’re raising right now.)

Go home and spend some of those hours with Momma and Daddy. You won’t have them for long.

And just so you know, Marty: All those eye-roll lessons Daddy preaches constantly about accountability and respect and hard work and the indescribable privilege of being American, and the pride of your last name?

Write them down. He’s right.”

Rebecca Lowe, NBC Sports host

“I could sit my younger self down for an entire day and give advice. But three of the biggest pieces I would impart are...firstly, never believe anyone who tells you they don’t see you in a specific role. If that’s where you see yourself and where you believe you can shine then stick at it and prove the doubters wrong. No one knows you better than you know yourself and use the doubt to drive you on.

Secondly, know that not every job is perfect and they tend to be less perfect in the early stages of your career when you’re trying to carve your path. It might be that you can’t stand your job, or your boss or the people around you but if it’s a job that will help you get to the next stage then head down and power through. Always remember it is a lucky person who gets to enjoy their job. So if it takes some years of disgruntlement and dissatisfaction to get to where you’re happy, that’s the sacrifice you have to pay. I always suggest asking yourself: ‘What’s your alternative choice?’ Often the alternatives are not as good. And, finally, over prepare. In everything you do. If you do this, you’ll never come unstuck.”

Shea Serrano, writer and best-selling author, The Ringer

I would tell my younger self three things:

1. Always say yes. If someone asks you to do a work thing, just say yes. It doesn't matter if you know how to do it or not. Just say yes and then trust yourself to figure it out. I remember one time MTV asked me to make some pop culture postcards for them for the holidays one year. I had no idea how to do it, but what I did know was that they were gonna pay me several hundred dollars to them. So when they called and asked if it was something I knew how to do, I was just like, ‘Yup. I got you. I do it all the time.’ That's how I tried to handle everything. I didn't know how to write a book until I wrote a book, you know what I'm saying?

2. Don't be late. There are absolutely some people who were born with a natural gift for writing and storytelling; just brilliant, exceptional people birthed with brilliant, exceptional talent in their bones. Not me, though. And that being the case, I knew I was never going to be able to keep up with those type of people if I was just depending on my own tiny amount of talent. So, as a way to supplement that, I just decided to try to never, ever, ever be late with an assignment. I would always turn my stuff in early, answer emails quickly, respond to phone calls immediately, so on and so forth. You can't control talent, but you can control work ethic is what I'm telling you. And in my experience, an editor is more likely to choose working with someone who's a decent writer but is super dependable over choosing to work with someone who is an exceptional writer but is unreliable.

3. Know that everyone gets kicked in the teeth a billion times before they ‘make it.’ This was the hardest thing to learn, and something that I'm still dealing with today. A lot of being a writer is pitching stories and ideas and then either a) never hearing back, or b) hearing back but it's a no. It's hard not to take it personal when it happens, because it always seems to feel like they're turning you down, not like they're turning your ideas down. But, as I've come to learn, it happens to everyone all the time. I mean, just think on it like, I'm a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author. That's a real and true thing. And still, it doesn't matter. I get turned down for things literally every week. It's just the way it goes. You gotta just keep going. Because that's really the main difference that separates someone who makes it from someone who doesn't. The person who made it was the one who kept getting up after getting kicked in the teeth. The person who didn't make it didn't get up.

Erika Nardini, Barstool Sports CEO

“You do not look good with short hair, don’t try it. Don’t work away your 20s. Bigger companies don’t necessarily give you bigger chances for success. Don’t worry about how one job relates to the next. There’s a thru-line in there somewhere and the right person/company will see it.”

Adam Schefter, ESPN NFL insider and podcast host

“What I would tell my younger self is the exact advice I did try to tell my younger self; I just couldn't listen to it, not in the way I wanted because I was so consumed with trying to land a sports reporting job or advancing once I had it.

Back when I was at the University of Michigan in the late 1980s, my college roommates and I discovered this poem called The Station, by Robert J. Hastings. We would read it and remind each other of it, and we even put it at the end of a video we made at the end of our senior year, as we were graduating, one final reminder of lessons we all should learn. It's good advice for any young person in any young field—better than anything I can offer. I never like when people lean on a poem to try to convey thoughts, but I believe it's valuable advice for anyone just getting started—or even finishing up.”

The Station, by Robert J. Hastings

Tucked away in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision in which we see ourselves on a long journey that spans an entire continent. We’re traveling by train and, from the windows, we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at crossings, of cattle grazing in distant pastures, of smoke pouring from power plants, of row upon row upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our conscious minds is our final destination—for at a certain hour and on a given day, our train will finally pull into the Station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands playing. And once that day comes, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So restlessly, we pace the aisles and count the miles, peering ahead, waiting, waiting, waiting for the Station.

“Yes, when we reach the Station, that will be it!” we promise ourselves. “When we’re eighteen. . . win that promotion. . . put the last kid through college. . . buy that 450SL Mercedes-Benz. . . have a nest egg for retirement!” From that day on we will all live happily ever after.

Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no Station in this life, no one earthly place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The Station is an illusion—it constantly outdistances us. Yesterday’s a memory, tomorrow’s a dream. Yesterday belongs to a history, tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday’s a fading sunset, tomorrow’s a faint sunrise. Only today is there light enough to love and live.

So, gently close the door on yesterday and throw the key away. It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad, but rather the regret over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.

“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, swim more rivers, climb more mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more and cry less. Go barefoot oftener. Eat more ice cream. Ride more merry-go-rounds. Watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we go along. The Station will come soon enough.

Amy Trask, NFL analyst, CBS Sports

“I would tell my younger self: listen to your mom. The best advice I have ever been given was imparted to me by my mom: to thine own self be true. (As an aside, I will note that it wasn’t until I was almost out of college that I learned that these wise words were those spoken by Polonius to Laertes in Hamlet. While one might then say that my advice to my younger self would be to follow the words of Shakespeare, I shall always consider this the advice my mom shared with me.)

My mom repeated this advice (over and over), as moms are wont to do. I sometimes rolled my eyes, as kids are wont to do.

While it is unequivocally the best advice I have ever received, I didn’t always follow it. I heeded this advice for the most part and when I did I was my strongest and my most capable. I am my best when I am myself, as my mom advised me to be. But there were times I didn’t follow this advice and instead tried to be something or someone I was not and in those instances not only was I not my best, I stumbled and bumbled and fumbled. It just doesn’t work for me to try to be what I am not.

So my advice to my younger self is quite simple: listen to your mom even (or especially) in those instances in which you may be tempted to ignore or don’t believe you need to follow her advice and ‘to thine own self be true.’”

Beth Mowins, ESPN and CBS Sports play-by-play announcer

“I would tell my younger self to keep a journal. I wish I had the ability to look back over the years and recall where I have been and what I have done. It doesn't have to be much...even just a few sentences about games and places and people. So many great stories have been lost in my memory banks and I wish I could bring some back. We are lucky to spend time with amazing players and coaches and it would be nice to have a journal to reflect on the good times with the people in this business. Enjoy the journey...and jot it down. It's important because you want to pass on knowledge to the younger people in this business. It's always nice to have a story to tell about ‘when I was your age,’ or be able to say, ‘I went through something similar’ and here's what happened. It can also help you do your job better by providing some historical perspective to the games you are covering. I enjoy a good quote or a funny anecdote as much as the next person. Sportscasting is still about relationships with people and the more connections you can make the better off you will be.”

Don Van Natta Jr., ESPN senior writer and investigative reporter

“Relax, kid. Don’t sweat the small stuff. And what’s ‘the small stuff,’ you ask? The highlight reel of all the indignities and idiocy that will comprise a 30-year journalism career: the published mistakes (yours and others); the big-footing colleagues; the years (or decades) of no raises; the editors who merrily drive lawn mowers through your copy; the slammed doors and the hung-up phones; the grounded late-night flights and canceled summer vacations; the sources who lie to you or about you; the Christmas Eve calls from long-winded bosses; the scoops that get away; the ‘fake news’-spewing ‘readers’ who don’t read a word of what you write; the rabid fans who will only hear fraudulent, bumper-sticker characterizations of your stories on WEEI in Boston; the omnipresent drumbeat of job cuts.

In the wide-open canvas of a career, nearly all of it amounts to small stuff. Trust me, it’s true. So keep reminding yourself of that. And don’t frown so damn much.

Being a journalist in America is still one of the best jobs in the world, despite everything. Think about it: you get paid to find the truth and report it to an audience starving for it. When things go wrong—and they often will—don’t let those moments trip you up. Just roll with it, cold-call the next would-be source and chase the next scoop with as much as confidence and swagger as you mustered the day before.

You don’t know this now but the friends you make in this business will last far longer than the best stories you’ll write and the best prizes you’ll win. And all the fun you’re going to have will far eclipse the days of failure and frustration. Remember, kid: 10,000 writers would give anything to have your nickels-paying, out-in-the-boondocks job. So…

Count your blessings. Embrace the good. Savor every moment. And smile.”

Candace Buckner, The Washington Post Wizards writer

“When I talk to young journalists, I always tell them to read more than just the sports page, network, and write daily—three things I should’ve done better when I was their age. But if I could give my younger self some advice, it would be pointed and simple: don’t bury your head into journalism, get out and experience life.

I was a focused kid when I arrived at Mizzou, with set-in-stone goals that centered on getting into J-School then becoming the next Willow Bay or Robin Roberts. I worked my tail off, held down a couple jobs and ran a floor in my dorm. I didn’t mess around and while I dig that about young Candace, I wish I would’ve told myself: Chill, homie, and go do real life. Go spend a summer abroad and learn something about the world outside of your perfectly-crafted tiny universe you have at Columbia, Mo. I needed more experience. While I don’t dare to think that if I would’ve gone to Thailand at 22 years old, then I would have this whole life thing all figured out (people who do that are the worst), I do believe that traveling and experiencing other cultures would’ve opened up a lifetime of learning, which in turn would make me a better writer and reporter. When I was younger, I was racing. But it would’ve OK to slow down and live.”

Mike Arnold, CBS Sports lead NFL director

“I guess the advice I'd give my younger self is to keep working hard and eventually things will work out. I remember first starting out in television as a runner with ABC Sports and was so disappointed when I didn't get a full time job with them after spending about 3-4 years working countless weekends trying to land a position. I figured I'd end up back home in Scottsdale working somewhere but probably not in television. I even applied to the city of Phoenix to work in the public information office and didn't get a response. Luckily, I had some young ABC production assistants in my corner because when Terry O'Neil left ABC Sports and came over to CBS Sports, David Dinkins, Jr. and Peter Lasser (those two production assistants) told O'Neil that I should be the first production assistant hired at CBS Sports. O'Neil hired me. That was 1981 and I'm still here at CBS.”

Kerith Burke, Warriors reporter, NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California

“I’d like to tell my younger self, ‘you’re on the right path, and your path is your own.’ I fall back on this advice in many situations to calm the worry hamster in my head who likes to hop on its wheel and churn the night away. I try to remind myself that when it comes to jobs on this path, talent, timing, and luck all play a role. Only one of those I can control.

This advice overlaps with something else: Jealousy is a useless emotion. Coming out of college, I was too concerned with others. I was envious about not working for the No. 1 station, or wondered why a colleague got an assignment I knew I could do well. This stemmed from my insecurity, and not knowing healthy ways to aim my ambition. I had to grow up. As I grew up, my path braided with friends in the industry to make us stronger. Don’t compete against your colleagues, befriend them. There’s plenty of room for all of us. It feels best to walk together.”

Dianna Russini, ESPN NFL reporter and studio host

“Don’t lose touch with those who have helped you grow both professionally and personally. You hear it all the time, ‘be good to everyone,’ but the reality is life gets busy and we all get consumed. It isn’t until you are in a tough spot professionally or maybe even without a job that you start realizing you should have built stronger relationships with those who have put themselves out for your own benefit. Just a few years ago, I was unemployed, living with my parents and looking for work in local sports. I was miserable and the market was worse. About seven years prior, when I was in college at George Mason University, I had reached out to random news directors in the NY/NJ/CT area looking for internships during my summer break. One news director was kind enough to write back to share that he had no openings but to stay in touch. I didn’t. Fast forward to the year I was looking for work and that same news director, Mike St. Peter, who was still the news director at NBC Connecticut, kindly answered my email once again. I always regretted I never sent him a note or even checked in on him over the years since he didn’t have to write back to a college student with zero experience, and I needed him now.

This time he brought me in for an interview, and days later, he hired me as a sports/news reporter. That was the start of my career. Under his leadership, he allowed me to be part of breaking news coverage at Sandy Hook Elementary and the Boston Marathon bombings. It turned out he wasn’t just a good e-mailer but a superb newsroom leader. He took a really big chance on me when in reality I had done nothing to give him security that I was a good reporter or even a decent human being. Every year since I don’t make the same mistake. I send Mike, who has now moved on to become President and General Manager of NBC Boston, a note to just say, thanks for giving me a chance when nobody would take a call. He usually responds with something that lets me know he’s proud. Work hard at your craft but you can’t do it alone. Appreciate those who help because you never know.”

Andrea Kremer, NFL Network reporter and HBO Real Sports correspondent

“I would tell my younger self to try and enjoy the moment more. For decades, I was so focused on what’s the next story...the next game...the next big interview....the next important issue that I rarely enjoyed ‘the moment.’ This is not one of these New Age epiphanies but there have been seminal moments of my career that I wish I had relished more. In retrospect, I think it felt anathema to me to ‘enjoy’ the moment as though I equated that with being a fan and not a serious journalist but that is wrong. After more than two decades in television my realization came in 2008 as I prepared to cover the single greatest event in my career (to date)—Michael Phelps’ quest for his eighth gold medal. I specifically thought about the historical aspect of the day and my small role in it as I was headed to the pool deck. It was meaningful for what it taught me at that time and moving forward. Now it’s a learning lesson I try to impart to younger broadcasters in lieu of my younger self.”

J.A. Adande, director of sports journalism at Northwestern University

“On a practical level, I'd tell myself to invest in the company 401k at the earliest opportunity and to the maximum tax-exempt amounts. And if not eligible, open an IRA. The last thing a 21-year-old thinks about is retirement planning.

I am curious what would have happened if I had told my younger self to stick with my original goal of being a play-by-play announcer. I got a taste of working game broadcasts while doing sidelines the past few years and it kind of made me wish I had charted a course toward sitting in that No. 1 seat. Still, I doubt it would have led to me working 20 NBA Finals in addition to just about every other major sporting event, so I think younger me got it right.”

Suzanne Smith, CBS Sports director and the first woman to direct NFL games fulltime

Dear Suzanne,

You are about to embark on an amazing journey. One full of adventure, excitement and challenges. Hard work, your attitude, respect and integrity will be the cornerstones.

Some basic rules

Treat EVERYONE equally, from your runners to the CEO. Work as hard as you can. Tackle each task like it’s the last, then work harder. Understand that every job is important. Speak up. Your ideas have value, even in a room of people with more experience. Take risks, don’t be afraid to fail. Send handwritten thank you notes. If you’re not early, you’re late.

Take advantage of the skills you’ve gained as an athlete

Be a leader and a team player. Be competitive while working with your colleagues. First to arrive, last to leave. Inspire others. Rise to the occasion when the pressure is on.

On the practical side

Invest in a good piece of luggage, one with wheels! Dress like a professional, not like you are in your college dorm. Keep a journal, keep your credentials, photos. Don’t be in a rush to get from one event to the next. Take the time to soak it all in. Don’t assume your boss knows what you want to do. Be proactive about your assignments and the events you want to be a part of.

The boys club

Be yourself. You will never be one of the boys, stop trying. The day you accept this, things will be easier. The day you realize you don’t WANT to be part of ‘the club,’ your world will change.

Family and friends

Balancing your career and life will be challenging at times. You will have to make sacrifices to be successful in this industry. Remember, your family, partner and friends are affected as well.

You got this

It’s not enough to dream your dreams. You’ve got to pursue your dreams. No, it’s not always easy but if it was easy, anybody could do it. Always remember and remind those around you that it is a privilege to be a part of some of the most coveted sporting events in the world. Believe in yourself and let your passions be your guide. Enjoy your amazing journey.”

Tim Brando, Fox Sports play-by-play announcer

“Many times as sportscasters we talk about players that sometimes force it, or press their efforts as opposed to letting the game come to them. Ours is a totally subjective craft and for everyone that loves your work there will always be those that don’t. I’m blessed to have had a career that’s spanned four decades with ESPN as its starting point, then a quick transition to Turner, and then an 18-year run at CBS, before joining FOX four years ago. Honestly, only now do I personally believe I’m as grateful and feel as privileged as I always should have to do what I love for a living. Type A’s are littered throughout sports television and most of us want to get the top assignments in live sports television. I wouldn’t change my path, but I would recommend if I had the chance to start over to have enjoyed the journey by living more in the moment than I did. Breaking into syndicated play-by-play in 1982-83 with Raycom/Jefferson Pilot and making ESPN freelance appearances as a play-by-play man in my mid 20’s in 1985 had me thinking that was my calling. But upon my arrival to Bristol in late 1986 the suits saw me as a studio talent first! I fought that and I probably should have embraced it far more; it did help me later in securing a gig at the ‘Tiffany’ Network, CBS. I loved what I was doing, but shouldn’t have been so concerned with what’s next!

‘Tim, slow down, you’re in a great spot, don’t worry so much about what’s next,’ my old departed friend John Saunders would say. He was right. I tell young broadcasters all the time to enjoy the journey and the relationships that come with it. A wonderful collection of people that could put me in places to succeed have always been there for me. They (the suits) want to know how privileged you feel. I would tell myself if I were younger, to let them know that, and stop worrying about chasing the next great gig. You’ve already got a really good one. Keep loving it, performing it and good things will come your way. I’ve found that understanding your role, and giving the employer your best in that role is not only better, but allows for greater fullness of life.”

Nancy Armour, sports columnist, USA Today

“Develop your own voice.

Find writers whose work—and work ethic—you admire, and study what they do and how they do it. Learn from them and make use of any tips or guidance they share, but don’t make the mistake of trying to be them. There will only be one Dave Anderson or Jim Litke or Jackie MacMullan or Leonard Pitts, and trying to write in a voice or style that isn’t your own will come across as forced and inauthentic. Find your voice, your style and the writing will flow better.

Learn from your mistakes.

Mistakes are going to happen, it’s human nature. You will beat yourself up something awful and forever cringe at the memory of it. But make sure you learn from it, too. Recognizing how and why the mistake occurred is the surest way to avoid doing it again in the future.

Expand your world.

Read books and listen to podcasts about things that have nothing to do with your job or the sport(s) you cover. Have friends and interests outside the business. There’s a risk of getting stale and jaded when you are immersed in the same thing day after day, week after week, year after year. Getting outside your bubble is the best way of guarding against that—and also a reminder that what we do is pretty damn cool.

Don’t be afraid to fail.

When I was 13, my father gave me some advice that influences me to this day. I won’t bore you with the whole story, but the gist was that you should never let the fear of failure, or fear in general, stop you from doing something. Wondering ‘What if?’ after you’ve let an opportunity pass will haunt you longer than any embarrassment you might have suffered, and nothing empowers you quite like tackling your fears head on.

Enjoy the ride.

We have fun, interesting jobs that most people envy when they hear about them. It’s easy to forget that with deadlines, the stress over the state of the business and the pressure of always having to do more. But every once in a while, take a breather and remember what drew you to the profession in the first place.”

Kenny Albert, Fox Sports and NBC Sports play-by-play announcer

“Work, work, work! Preparation will be the key to a career in sports broadcasting. Read everything you can get your hands on. Look into internships during your high school and college years, but also get as many reps as you can on-air. If a local cable station happens to visit your high school to film a girls basketball game, volunteer to do the play-by-play. Perhaps they will offer you hundreds of other games in all sports over the next three years, which could prove to be the most invaluable experience you could ever ask for.

Practice makes perfect! Also be sure to learn other positions—producing, editing, writing, keeping statistics, etc. Watch and listen to as many games as possible—to absorb both announcing styles and information via osmosis. If your initial goal is hockey radio play-by-play, send tapes out to as many teams as possible all over North America. Don't be afraid of 10-hour bus rides. Working in the minor leagues could wind up among the most important and memorable years of your professional career.”

Adnan Virk, ESPN studio host and play-by-play announcer

“I would tell myself to ignore all the trolls. When people ask me for advice in this business it can be epitomized in two words: thick skin. No matter what people may tweet at you, no matter how disparaging or hateful it may be, don’t let it affect you emotionally, or your performance in any manner. I would also tell my younger self to pay more attention to the 1984 Orange Bowl between Nebraska and Miami since one day improbably I would be the studio host for CFB and such background would be more helpful rather than watching the Gretzky-era Oilers dynasty in bloom.”

Mina Kimes, ESPN reporter and columnist

"I would have told my younger self to take more creative risks. At the beginning of my career, I was terrified of failure, so I always pursued projects that I knew I could execute. But I've since learned that the best stories are the ones that seem insurmountable—not just when the reporting is difficult, but also when an idea feels murky at the outset. I wish I had been more daring early on, because my greatest experiences as a writer have been ones that teetered on the edge."

THE NOISE REPORT

1a. As expected, there was immense pushback from viewers on the decision by Turner Sports to buck longstanding Selection Sunday tradition and reveal all the teams in the NCAA tournament field prior to the bracket itself. The phrase “Selection Show” trended on Twitter long after the show ended and Twitter compiled reaction from an angry crowd of sports viewers. The most notable response, from all places, was this laugh-out-loud tweet from the Lawrence (Ks.) Police. What I wrote in 2016 holds true today: “Front-load the program so that all the brackets are revealed within the first 35 minutes and spend the next 85 minutes going heavy on analysis and interviews. If the analysis is good, people are not going to abandon your channel just because the brackets are in. Obviously, this is a high profile property and CBS is in the business of keeping you around to make money but the pacing on Sunday was a huge miss. Viewers will revolt if they think you are stringing them along, which is how it felt watching.” This from the Kansas City Star and this from SI’s Jimmy Traina cover the reactions.

1b. ESPN NFL analyst Louis Riddick is not a man of moderate opinions and goals. He wants to be part of Monday Night Football and has no problem letting the world know of his interest, including his bosses at ESPN.

“This is something that has been a goal of mind and ESPN is very well aware that I am very interested in it,” said Riddick, this week’s guest on the SI Media Podcast. “It is the pinnacle of broadcasting as far as I am concerned, the most iconic position in broadcasting. To be involved with Monday Night Football either as a play-by-play person or analyst is something I am hoping I can achieve.”

Asked what ESPN management’s response has been to Riddick’s interest, Riddick said, “It has been very favorable. They are well aware of it. I think you saw my interest in being a part of a live broadcast, a live game, with my involvement with the Pro Bowl this year and that only scratched the surface of what I think I am capable of doing with that kind of platform. I am fired up about the possibility of being involved with the brand of Monday Night Football in any way shape or form and I think the next couple of weeks and months as ESPN figures out where they want to go with that are going to be awfully exciting for me personally.”

As the guest on Episode 168 of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast, Riddick addressed many topics including what separates a good NFL broadcaster versus an average one; how he has attempted to improve as a broadcaster; his candidness on issues and why too often former players pull punches on the air; how he navigates being a candidate for NFL general manager jobs versus working at ESPN; his thoughts when someone does not report on him accurately; how he approaches discussing social issues or politics on social media; playing under Nick Saban and Bill Belichick in Cleveland; Saban’s attention to detail and what makes him different than other coaches; how the Browns should approach holding the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in the NFL Draft, and much more. To listen to the podcast in full, check it out on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.

PODCAST BREAKDOWN:

• 1:00: What separates a good NFL broadcaster from an average one.

• 2:50: How has Riddick improved as a broadcaster and how much film he watches on his own work.

• 6:40: The aesthetics of sports broadcasting.

• 9:30: Being candid about NFL personnel people and trying to take people behind the curtain of the NFL

• 14:15: Playing for Bill Bellichick and Nick Saban and what separates Saban from other coaches.

• 20:20: Interviewing for general manager jobs while working for ESPN.

• 24:30: Other media writing about him, and his reaction to what he says is incorrect reporting.

• 33:00: What would happen if a mid-season GM job came up.

• 35:20: His approach to social media when it comes to social issues and politics.

• 36:40 His interest in being on Monday Night Football.

• 41:00: Tony Romo’s work this year on CBS and Riddick's preparation for the NFL Draft.

• 47:20: How he believes the Browns will approach the No. 1 and No. 4 overall pick.

• 51:00: How he would approach the end of Tom Brady’s career if he were Patriots management.

2. SI legal analyst Michael McCann analyzed Adrienne Lawrence’s lawsuit against ESPN and the company’s possible defenses.

2a. As SI first reported, Michael Smith’s last day as an ESPN SportsCenter host was Friday.

2b. ESPN jettisoned Sean McDonough out of the Monday Night Football booth despite public votes of confidence from management as recent as just a few months ago. On a positive note for viewers, McDonough signed a new multi-year extension and will rejoin ESPN’s college football team this fall. His assignments will include weekly college football games, as well as a College Football Playoff Semifinal. He will continue to call the CFP National Championship on ESPN Radio, marquee college basketball games, The Masters Par 3 contest and more.

3. How to Watch—And What to Expect From—the Winter Paralympics 2018 on NBC.

4. Sports pieces of note:

• From Indianapolis Star reporters Tim Evans, Joe Guillen, Gina Kaufman, Marisa Kwiatkowski, Matt Mencarini and Mark Alesia: How Larry Nassar abused hundreds of gymnasts and eluded justice for decades.

• A remarkable thread on the KHL from reporter Slava Malamud:

• From Juliet Macur of The New York Times: Suicides, Drug Addiction and High School Football.

Cody Rhodes is carving his own path in memory of his father, "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, from Mike Piellucci of The Ringer.

• Kevin Love, for The Players Tribune, on suffering panic attacks.

New York Times writer Harvey Araton profiled St. John’s coach Chris Mullin.

• ESPN’s Wright Thompson on Ichiro.

• SI’s Lee Jenkins profiled Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey.

• Steve Francis, for The Players Tribune, on his unlikely journey to the NBA.

• The Athletic’s Levi Weaver on Tim Lincecum.

• From ESPN.com’s Susan Ninan: India's Rugby Revolution.

Non-sports pieces of note

The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer on Christopher Steele.

• Via The Atlantic’s Rachel Monroe: The Perfect Man Who Wasn't.

• Via Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times: For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned.

Fifteen women The New York Times overlooked for obituaries.

• From Josh Dean of Bloomberg Businessweek: America Is Giving Away the $30 Billion Medical Marijuana Industry.

• From Eric Adler of The Kansas City Star: Missouri is a destination wedding spot—for 15-year-old brides.

This is my final piece (at least for awhile) for Sports Illustrated. It is a weird sentence to write. This was the singular place I dreamed of working for as a young person and to have worked here for two decades has been an immense professional privilege. SI paid for me to travel the world—I covered seven Olympic Games—and trusted me with assignments that meant a great deal to me, including the Women’s Final Four and the U.S. Open. I was able to work for every part of the editorial brand, from Swimsuit to SI.com to SI Commemoratives, and spent two years helping edit SI For Women (RIP).

It has been an amazing place to work and I leave feeling as close to the brand as I did when SI published my first byline in 1998 about Howie Young, an NHL defenseman for the Red Wings who drank himself out of professional sports before sobering up and finding a second life in Thoreau, N.M., a predominantly Navajo community two hours west of Albuquerque, as a mild-mannered bus driver for the McKinley County public schools.

There are many colleagues that I want to cite publicly for helping and educating me along the journey but I’ll do that in a post on my own social channels. I’ll announce soon enough what’s next but thank you for reading me here, for listening to the podcast and for having an interest in what my SI colleagues and I do professionally.

Francesco Totti followed in the footsteps of Olympic great Michael Phelps by picking up the Laureus Exceptional Achievement award.
Totti's career recognised with Laureus award
Francesco Totti followed in the footsteps of Olympic great Michael Phelps by picking up the Laureus Exceptional Achievement award.
Mikaela Shiffrin never had to be the Michael Phelps of skiing
Mikaela Shiffrin never had to be the Michael Phelps of skiing
Mikaela Shiffrin never had to be the Michael Phelps of skiing
Mikaela Shiffrin added silver to her medal tally in the alpine combined.
Mikaela Shiffrin never had to be the Michael Phelps of skiing
Mikaela Shiffrin added silver to her medal tally in the alpine combined.
Mikaela Shiffrin never had to be the Michael Phelps of skiing
Mikaela Shiffrin never had to be the Michael Phelps of skiing
Mikaela Shiffrin never had to be the Michael Phelps of skiing
<p>GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Journalists root for the story, not for any individual or team, which is why I went to the U.S.-Russia hockey game here Saturday. I thought it would be a great story if we beat the bastards. Look: I just don’t like other countries coming in to the United States to try to elect incompetent boobs. That’s our job.</p><p>Frankly, I wasn’t sure that this U.S.-Russia tilt would give me that warm Cold War feeling, but it was clear before the puck dropped that this was serious business. U.S. forward Ryan Donato said, “Even before the game there (was) a lot of tension.” That may have been an echo from 1980—this is the first Olympic tournament in a generation that features Russian pros and (mostly) American amateurs. And it may have been because hours earlier, the U.S. Justice Department indicted 13 Russian nationals for tampering with the 2016 election.</p><p>The Russians scored the first goal of the night, cutting the score to 13-1. The goal happened so quickly—instant passes from Alexander Barabanov to Sergei Mozyakin to Nikolai Prokhorkin, who scored—that it seemed like a magic trick.</p><p>It was pretty clear that the Americans can skate with the Russians, and the Americans can match the Russians’ physicality, but the Americans do not have the Russians’ skill. By the time Russia scored in the final second of the second period to take a 3-0 lead, it was clear that during the next intermission U.S. coach Tony Granato would need to make a major adjustment, like switching to baseball. The final score was 4-0.</p><p>Well, we all knew the Russians were better. And maybe it was weird to see <em>these </em>Russians as unfeeling and evil. Pavel Datsyuk, after all, played 14 dazzling seasons in the NHL without offending anybody. He even won the Lady Byng trophy for sportsmanship and gentlemanly play four times. But if you can’t lump an entire nation of people together using lazy stereotypes, why even have the Olympics?</p><p>This was nasty and it was fun, and man, was it chippy. Prokhorkin and enormous young American Jordan Greenway fought like a divorced couple—not an all-out brawl, just constant little disputes. Greenway said later: “I don’t know really what started it. He didn’t want to let me go. He wanted to do a little dance. I’m always down for a little dance.”</p><p>I think I know what started it. I think we all do. It all goes back to Lake Placid.</p><p>The story of the 1980 U.S. men’s hockey team often gets twisted and exaggerated for maximum dramatic effect, so let’s just stick to facts: A band of gritty American amateurs, wearing skates that had been handed down from their fathers and using sticks they carved themselves, stunned a mighty Soviet Union team, propelling the Americans to the gold medal and instantly cutting the Soviet nuclear arsenal in half. The Cold War did not officially end until a few years later, when Rocky Balboa beat Ivan Drago for the heavyweight championship, but the 1980 Olympic hockey tournament was the turning point.</p><p>Let’s face it: We have spent 38 years trying to create the Miracle on Ice. We can’t shut up about it. The world got tired of hearing about it 37 years ago. When we mention Mike Eruzione at bars, other countries leave before finishing their beers. And still we keep yapping.</p><p>There is a pretty simple reason for this, and it’s not just that the U.S. won the gold medal. The U.S. has won lots of gold medals. Michael Phelps has won so many, he leaves them as tips. The Miracle on Ice allowed America to be an underdog, and we don’t get too many chances like that. It was a lot more inspiring than Charles Barkley showing up in Barcelona and snapping an Angolan in two.</p><p>The Russians are tired of hearing that story. The U.S. is their rival on every possible level. This was reinforced four years ago in Sochi, when American T.J. Oshie scored the winning goal against Russia in a shootout.</p><p>Russia’s Ilya Kovalchuk, who scored two goals Friday and looked like he might score more, said afterward, “No anger. It’s sports. It’s emotions. After that last game in Sochi. I think you guys are still showing highlights of Oshie scoring in that shootout. Hopefully you will change it now.”</p><p>Of course we won’t. Kovalchuk knows that. But the Russians earned a bye in the quarterfinal round <em>and </em>forced the Americans to play an extra game, which meant this was like two wins for them.</p><p>The Russians are playing for so much here—a gold medal, but also a large helping of pride. Officially, this team isn’t playing for the Russian Federation, thanks to that country’s doping sanctions. They are Olympic Athletes From Russia. The Russians wore generic red uniforms with OLYMPIC ATHLETE FROM RUSSIA on them, which had to be embarrassing for everybody involved. They looked like the t-shirts your Aunt Harriet makes everybody wear when your extended family goes on a cruise. The Russians should have just worn uniforms that read I WENT TO PYEONGCHANG AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY HOCKEY JERSEY.</p><p>Nobody was fooled by the lousy outfit. These guys may not officially represent Russia, but they are undeniably <em>playing </em>for Russia.</p><p>There were Russian flags in the crowd, and rows of fans wearing shirts that spelled RUSSIA IN MY HEART and RED MACHINE, and there was Russian coach Oleg Znarok putting his stars on the power play with a four-goal lead late in the third period. U.S. Coach Tony Granato didn’t like it. The feisty Greenway —who said “I don’t see any reason why we’re not in the gold medal game”—didn’t seem to like it. Me, I loved it. Both teams can make nice when they play Switzerland. U.S.-Russia is no time to make friends.</p>
Nasty, Fun and Chippy: U.S.-Russia Hockey Rivalry Adds Another Chapter in Korea

GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Journalists root for the story, not for any individual or team, which is why I went to the U.S.-Russia hockey game here Saturday. I thought it would be a great story if we beat the bastards. Look: I just don’t like other countries coming in to the United States to try to elect incompetent boobs. That’s our job.

Frankly, I wasn’t sure that this U.S.-Russia tilt would give me that warm Cold War feeling, but it was clear before the puck dropped that this was serious business. U.S. forward Ryan Donato said, “Even before the game there (was) a lot of tension.” That may have been an echo from 1980—this is the first Olympic tournament in a generation that features Russian pros and (mostly) American amateurs. And it may have been because hours earlier, the U.S. Justice Department indicted 13 Russian nationals for tampering with the 2016 election.

The Russians scored the first goal of the night, cutting the score to 13-1. The goal happened so quickly—instant passes from Alexander Barabanov to Sergei Mozyakin to Nikolai Prokhorkin, who scored—that it seemed like a magic trick.

It was pretty clear that the Americans can skate with the Russians, and the Americans can match the Russians’ physicality, but the Americans do not have the Russians’ skill. By the time Russia scored in the final second of the second period to take a 3-0 lead, it was clear that during the next intermission U.S. coach Tony Granato would need to make a major adjustment, like switching to baseball. The final score was 4-0.

Well, we all knew the Russians were better. And maybe it was weird to see these Russians as unfeeling and evil. Pavel Datsyuk, after all, played 14 dazzling seasons in the NHL without offending anybody. He even won the Lady Byng trophy for sportsmanship and gentlemanly play four times. But if you can’t lump an entire nation of people together using lazy stereotypes, why even have the Olympics?

This was nasty and it was fun, and man, was it chippy. Prokhorkin and enormous young American Jordan Greenway fought like a divorced couple—not an all-out brawl, just constant little disputes. Greenway said later: “I don’t know really what started it. He didn’t want to let me go. He wanted to do a little dance. I’m always down for a little dance.”

I think I know what started it. I think we all do. It all goes back to Lake Placid.

The story of the 1980 U.S. men’s hockey team often gets twisted and exaggerated for maximum dramatic effect, so let’s just stick to facts: A band of gritty American amateurs, wearing skates that had been handed down from their fathers and using sticks they carved themselves, stunned a mighty Soviet Union team, propelling the Americans to the gold medal and instantly cutting the Soviet nuclear arsenal in half. The Cold War did not officially end until a few years later, when Rocky Balboa beat Ivan Drago for the heavyweight championship, but the 1980 Olympic hockey tournament was the turning point.

Let’s face it: We have spent 38 years trying to create the Miracle on Ice. We can’t shut up about it. The world got tired of hearing about it 37 years ago. When we mention Mike Eruzione at bars, other countries leave before finishing their beers. And still we keep yapping.

There is a pretty simple reason for this, and it’s not just that the U.S. won the gold medal. The U.S. has won lots of gold medals. Michael Phelps has won so many, he leaves them as tips. The Miracle on Ice allowed America to be an underdog, and we don’t get too many chances like that. It was a lot more inspiring than Charles Barkley showing up in Barcelona and snapping an Angolan in two.

The Russians are tired of hearing that story. The U.S. is their rival on every possible level. This was reinforced four years ago in Sochi, when American T.J. Oshie scored the winning goal against Russia in a shootout.

Russia’s Ilya Kovalchuk, who scored two goals Friday and looked like he might score more, said afterward, “No anger. It’s sports. It’s emotions. After that last game in Sochi. I think you guys are still showing highlights of Oshie scoring in that shootout. Hopefully you will change it now.”

Of course we won’t. Kovalchuk knows that. But the Russians earned a bye in the quarterfinal round and forced the Americans to play an extra game, which meant this was like two wins for them.

The Russians are playing for so much here—a gold medal, but also a large helping of pride. Officially, this team isn’t playing for the Russian Federation, thanks to that country’s doping sanctions. They are Olympic Athletes From Russia. The Russians wore generic red uniforms with OLYMPIC ATHLETE FROM RUSSIA on them, which had to be embarrassing for everybody involved. They looked like the t-shirts your Aunt Harriet makes everybody wear when your extended family goes on a cruise. The Russians should have just worn uniforms that read I WENT TO PYEONGCHANG AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY HOCKEY JERSEY.

Nobody was fooled by the lousy outfit. These guys may not officially represent Russia, but they are undeniably playing for Russia.

There were Russian flags in the crowd, and rows of fans wearing shirts that spelled RUSSIA IN MY HEART and RED MACHINE, and there was Russian coach Oleg Znarok putting his stars on the power play with a four-goal lead late in the third period. U.S. Coach Tony Granato didn’t like it. The feisty Greenway —who said “I don’t see any reason why we’re not in the gold medal game”—didn’t seem to like it. Me, I loved it. Both teams can make nice when they play Switzerland. U.S.-Russia is no time to make friends.

<p>PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — For a creature of routine like American skiing superstar Mikaela Shiffrin, the waiting and waiting for her Olympics racing schedule to start was borderline tortuous. She had to find ways to keep herself relaxed as bad weather kept delaying her events. She passed the time by watching episodes of <a href="http://www.cbs.com/shows/blue_bloods/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Blue Bloods" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Blue Bloods</a>, the <a href="http://fortune.com/fortune500/cbs/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:CBS" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">CBS</a> cop drama starring <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000633/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tom Selleck" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Tom Selleck</a>, and her family’s favorite TV show. She texted with her sports psychologist, who urged her to stay patient and not fret about things she couldn’t control. The night before her giant slalom race on Thursday in South Korea—Wednesday evening New York time—older brother Taylor, on hand to support his sister, danced around a living room with Mikaela. “It was just like we are all together back in Colorado, goofing around and having fun,” says Taylor. “We knew it was best to keep her mind off the event.”</p><p>All the shimmying and texting and Tom Selleck paid off; Selleck, and his still excellent <a href="https://www.facebook.com/tomsellecksmustache/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:mustache" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">mustache</a>, should take a bow for entering Olympic lore. On a sun-baked day in the mountains of South Korea, Shiffrin, 22, the reigning World Cup all-around skiing champion and current top women’s skier in the world, won her first race of the <a href="http://time.com/4932670/2018-winter-olympics-when-where/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics Games" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics Games</a>, taking gold in the giant slalom Thursday afternoon at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre. The race was supposed to be be held on Monday, but <a href="http://time.com/5157372/winter-olympics-alpine-ski-race-delayed/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:wind gusts pushed the contest back" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">wind gusts pushed the contest back</a> until Thursday.</p><p>Shiffrin won’t have much time to celebrate. Her strongest event, the slalom, goes off on Friday (Thursday night in the U.S.; it was originally scheduled for Tuesday night). With a win in the slalom, Shiffrin would become the first American ski racer, woman or man, to own three Olympic gold medals. (Four years ago, she won the slalom gold in Sochi at 18 years old, becoming the youngest Olympian to ever win that race).</p><p>While Shiffrin has won four World Cup discipline titles in slalom, giant slalom—a faster technical race with less frequent turns than slalom—has proven tougher for her to master. So this gold is all that sweeter—and surprising. “Giant slalom is something I have a love-hate relationship with,” Shiffrin says. “It’s more difficult for me to find a good rhythm in GS, so I need to train it a lot, I need to be in a good mood, I need to be aggressive. I’m just starting to find some connection with that this year. To do that today was just amazing.”</p><p>Plus, for someone pursuing multiple golds like Shiffrin, a first win lifts a serious burden. “It’s really nice to know that no matter what I do, from today on, I will walk away from these Olympics with something,” she says. “I knew I could win medals in multiple disciplines, but I also knew I could have nothing, I have something now and that’s great. I can ski really for myself.”</p><p>The weather delays, however, have likely derailed her plans to pursue five Olympic medals; Shiffrin’s mother and coach, Eileen, says her daughter won’t race in Saturday’s Super-G event. A Super-G start would require completing three races in three days, a fatiguing undertaking. Eileen wants her daughter to rest, and start her training for next week’s downhill and combined events.</p><p>Shiffrin still has a chance, however, to break Janica Kostelic’s record for most gold medals won by a female alpine racer at a single Olympics. The Croatian skier took three golds at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. In short, Shiffrin’s pursuit of the Olympic skiing record book compares to what Michael Phelps accomplished in swimming.</p><p>Although the delays put a mental strain on Shiffrin, her preparation was on point. When fellow racer Sofia Goggia, of Italy, saw one of Shiffrin’s giant-slalom training runs earlier this week, her jaw dropped. The gold, Goggia told someone, was Shiffrin’s.</p><p>On the morning of the giant slalom race, her nerves didn’t feel frayed. “I was able to eat my breakfast,” says Shiffrin, “which normally on race day, is not so easy for me to do.” (Last season in particular, Shiffrin developed a nasty habit of throwing up before her races). Even though she trailed by .20 seconds after her first run, Shiffrin felt good just to be racing. “Yeah, you don’t even know!” Shiffin said after that run, with a laugh. “Last night I was like, are we ever going to race?” Weather delays can benefit a skier with Shiffrin’s skills.</p><p>Temperate conditions minimize the impact of luck; in unpredictable conditions, a sudden wind gust can propel an inferior racer forward. “It’s fair today, which is really, really important, especially at the Olympics,” Shiffrin said while the North Korean cheering squad sang its melodies from the stands at the bottom of the mountain. She felt loose in her first run, but not completely satisfied. “I feel like I can go a little bit harder,” Shiffrin said. “There’s nothing to hold back for in the second run. The nice thing about the Olympics, is you don’t hold back.”</p><p>Between runs, her mother reinforced this message: you’re skiing too well not to go for it. But some doubt crept in. “There were moments that were like, I don’t know if I’m good enough to do this,” Shiffrin says. “And there were moments that were like, ‘who cares, you’ve got to try, we’re here.&#39;” Shiffrin, who even as a middle schooler at the Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont appreciated the recuperative powers of sleep, tried napping between runs. Shiffrin didn’t completely doze off, she said after the race, but the relaxation helped.</p><p>The second-to-last racer in contention to go off, Shiffrin dug deep at the top: she needed to beat the top combined time of 2:20:41, set by Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway. She sizzled and swerved, building speed and a lead: though she slowed a bit at the bottom, Shiffrin took the top spot, by .39 seconds, and clinched at least a silver. If Italy’s Manuela Moelgg, the last racer, couldn’t keep up, Shiffrin would win the gold.</p><p>As Moelgg moved down the mountain, she kept losing pace. Shiffrin’s father Jeff, who first put his daughter on skis when she was around two, put his hands on his hat in the stands. “Oh my God!” he said. He knew Mikaela locked it up. “This is validation for all her effort,” a joyous Jeff said afterwards. His daughter’s famous for training longer and harder than her competitors, and spending hours breaking down video, like any obsessive coach. “That’s what matters!”</p><p>Another key to Shiffrin’s success: she never let the Olympics psych her out. During an interview at the condo she shares with her parents in Avon, Colorado—near Vail—in the fall, she was asked to show off her gold medal from Sochi. One problem: she had brought it to a media event in Park City, Utah, and didn’t pack it on her carry-on back home. What Olympic champion, in their right mind, would entrust a gold medal to the airlines in checked baggage?</p><p>The medal made it home, and on that fall morning it was stuffed into a huge red duffel bag, out in the garage. Later, the hardware just sat on her kitchen table, near a collection of candy wrappers. She often keeps it wrapped in a sock, rather than displaying it in a case. Her philosophy: don’t rest on past laurels. Or put too much stock in any trophy. “I’m not taking pictures with it every day,” Shiffrin said. “It’s not the most valuable part of my life.”</p><p>Still, it’s now time for Shiffrin to get more socks.</p>
Mikaela Shiffrin Takes Home Olympic Gold Medal in Giant Slalom

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — For a creature of routine like American skiing superstar Mikaela Shiffrin, the waiting and waiting for her Olympics racing schedule to start was borderline tortuous. She had to find ways to keep herself relaxed as bad weather kept delaying her events. She passed the time by watching episodes of Blue Bloods, the CBS cop drama starring Tom Selleck, and her family’s favorite TV show. She texted with her sports psychologist, who urged her to stay patient and not fret about things she couldn’t control. The night before her giant slalom race on Thursday in South Korea—Wednesday evening New York time—older brother Taylor, on hand to support his sister, danced around a living room with Mikaela. “It was just like we are all together back in Colorado, goofing around and having fun,” says Taylor. “We knew it was best to keep her mind off the event.”

All the shimmying and texting and Tom Selleck paid off; Selleck, and his still excellent mustache, should take a bow for entering Olympic lore. On a sun-baked day in the mountains of South Korea, Shiffrin, 22, the reigning World Cup all-around skiing champion and current top women’s skier in the world, won her first race of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics Games, taking gold in the giant slalom Thursday afternoon at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre. The race was supposed to be be held on Monday, but wind gusts pushed the contest back until Thursday.

Shiffrin won’t have much time to celebrate. Her strongest event, the slalom, goes off on Friday (Thursday night in the U.S.; it was originally scheduled for Tuesday night). With a win in the slalom, Shiffrin would become the first American ski racer, woman or man, to own three Olympic gold medals. (Four years ago, she won the slalom gold in Sochi at 18 years old, becoming the youngest Olympian to ever win that race).

While Shiffrin has won four World Cup discipline titles in slalom, giant slalom—a faster technical race with less frequent turns than slalom—has proven tougher for her to master. So this gold is all that sweeter—and surprising. “Giant slalom is something I have a love-hate relationship with,” Shiffrin says. “It’s more difficult for me to find a good rhythm in GS, so I need to train it a lot, I need to be in a good mood, I need to be aggressive. I’m just starting to find some connection with that this year. To do that today was just amazing.”

Plus, for someone pursuing multiple golds like Shiffrin, a first win lifts a serious burden. “It’s really nice to know that no matter what I do, from today on, I will walk away from these Olympics with something,” she says. “I knew I could win medals in multiple disciplines, but I also knew I could have nothing, I have something now and that’s great. I can ski really for myself.”

The weather delays, however, have likely derailed her plans to pursue five Olympic medals; Shiffrin’s mother and coach, Eileen, says her daughter won’t race in Saturday’s Super-G event. A Super-G start would require completing three races in three days, a fatiguing undertaking. Eileen wants her daughter to rest, and start her training for next week’s downhill and combined events.

Shiffrin still has a chance, however, to break Janica Kostelic’s record for most gold medals won by a female alpine racer at a single Olympics. The Croatian skier took three golds at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. In short, Shiffrin’s pursuit of the Olympic skiing record book compares to what Michael Phelps accomplished in swimming.

Although the delays put a mental strain on Shiffrin, her preparation was on point. When fellow racer Sofia Goggia, of Italy, saw one of Shiffrin’s giant-slalom training runs earlier this week, her jaw dropped. The gold, Goggia told someone, was Shiffrin’s.

On the morning of the giant slalom race, her nerves didn’t feel frayed. “I was able to eat my breakfast,” says Shiffrin, “which normally on race day, is not so easy for me to do.” (Last season in particular, Shiffrin developed a nasty habit of throwing up before her races). Even though she trailed by .20 seconds after her first run, Shiffrin felt good just to be racing. “Yeah, you don’t even know!” Shiffin said after that run, with a laugh. “Last night I was like, are we ever going to race?” Weather delays can benefit a skier with Shiffrin’s skills.

Temperate conditions minimize the impact of luck; in unpredictable conditions, a sudden wind gust can propel an inferior racer forward. “It’s fair today, which is really, really important, especially at the Olympics,” Shiffrin said while the North Korean cheering squad sang its melodies from the stands at the bottom of the mountain. She felt loose in her first run, but not completely satisfied. “I feel like I can go a little bit harder,” Shiffrin said. “There’s nothing to hold back for in the second run. The nice thing about the Olympics, is you don’t hold back.”

Between runs, her mother reinforced this message: you’re skiing too well not to go for it. But some doubt crept in. “There were moments that were like, I don’t know if I’m good enough to do this,” Shiffrin says. “And there were moments that were like, ‘who cares, you’ve got to try, we’re here.'” Shiffrin, who even as a middle schooler at the Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont appreciated the recuperative powers of sleep, tried napping between runs. Shiffrin didn’t completely doze off, she said after the race, but the relaxation helped.

The second-to-last racer in contention to go off, Shiffrin dug deep at the top: she needed to beat the top combined time of 2:20:41, set by Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway. She sizzled and swerved, building speed and a lead: though she slowed a bit at the bottom, Shiffrin took the top spot, by .39 seconds, and clinched at least a silver. If Italy’s Manuela Moelgg, the last racer, couldn’t keep up, Shiffrin would win the gold.

As Moelgg moved down the mountain, she kept losing pace. Shiffrin’s father Jeff, who first put his daughter on skis when she was around two, put his hands on his hat in the stands. “Oh my God!” he said. He knew Mikaela locked it up. “This is validation for all her effort,” a joyous Jeff said afterwards. His daughter’s famous for training longer and harder than her competitors, and spending hours breaking down video, like any obsessive coach. “That’s what matters!”

Another key to Shiffrin’s success: she never let the Olympics psych her out. During an interview at the condo she shares with her parents in Avon, Colorado—near Vail—in the fall, she was asked to show off her gold medal from Sochi. One problem: she had brought it to a media event in Park City, Utah, and didn’t pack it on her carry-on back home. What Olympic champion, in their right mind, would entrust a gold medal to the airlines in checked baggage?

The medal made it home, and on that fall morning it was stuffed into a huge red duffel bag, out in the garage. Later, the hardware just sat on her kitchen table, near a collection of candy wrappers. She often keeps it wrapped in a sock, rather than displaying it in a case. Her philosophy: don’t rest on past laurels. Or put too much stock in any trophy. “I’m not taking pictures with it every day,” Shiffrin said. “It’s not the most valuable part of my life.”

Still, it’s now time for Shiffrin to get more socks.

<p>American <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/02/10/mikaela-shiffrin-reluctant-star-winter-olympics-2018-pyeongchang-michael-phelps" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mikaela Shiffrin" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Mikaela Shiffrin</a> captured the gold medal in the women&#39;s giant slalom at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.</p><p>Shiffrin was in second place after the first run in the final, sandwiched between Italians Manuela Moelgg (first) and Federica Brignone (third). Shiffrin&#39;s time of 1:10.82 in the first run was 0.2 seconds slower than Moelgg and 0.09 seconds faster than Brignone.</p><p>In the second run, Shiffrin posted a tome of 1:09.20, giving her a total time 2:20.02, which vaulted her into first place. Moelgg fell to eighth after a 1:10.58 second run gave her a total time of 2:21.20, while Norway&#39;s Ragnhild Mowinckel climbed into second and Brigone held onto third place.</p><p>This is Shiffrin&#39;s second career Olympic gold medal. In 2014 she captured the gold in women&#39;s slalom. She will defend that medal Thursday night.</p><p>• <strong><a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/01/29/mikaela-shiffrin-winter-olympics-2018-pyeongchang" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Guts Over Fear: An Aggressive State of Mind Helped Mikaela Shiffrin Conquer Her Anxiety On The Slopes" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Guts Over Fear: An Aggressive State of Mind Helped Mikaela Shiffrin Conquer Her Anxiety On The Slopes</a></strong></p><p>This medal brings the <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/team-usa-medal-tracker-pyeongchang-olympic-games-results-medals-won" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Team USA&#39;s total medal" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Team USA&#39;s total medal</a> count to eight and the gold medal count to five. You can check out a full medal count for the 2018 Winter Olympics <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/medals/country" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a>.</p>
Mikaela Shiffrin Gets Gold In Women's Giant Slalom

American Mikaela Shiffrin captured the gold medal in the women's giant slalom at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.

Shiffrin was in second place after the first run in the final, sandwiched between Italians Manuela Moelgg (first) and Federica Brignone (third). Shiffrin's time of 1:10.82 in the first run was 0.2 seconds slower than Moelgg and 0.09 seconds faster than Brignone.

In the second run, Shiffrin posted a tome of 1:09.20, giving her a total time 2:20.02, which vaulted her into first place. Moelgg fell to eighth after a 1:10.58 second run gave her a total time of 2:21.20, while Norway's Ragnhild Mowinckel climbed into second and Brigone held onto third place.

This is Shiffrin's second career Olympic gold medal. In 2014 she captured the gold in women's slalom. She will defend that medal Thursday night.

Guts Over Fear: An Aggressive State of Mind Helped Mikaela Shiffrin Conquer Her Anxiety On The Slopes

This medal brings the Team USA's total medal count to eight and the gold medal count to five. You can check out a full medal count for the 2018 Winter Olympics here.

American swimming superstar Michael Phelps and his wife, Nicole, announced the birth of Beckett Phelps their second child (AFP Photo/GABRIEL BOUYS )
American swimming superstar Michael Phelps and his wife, Nicole, announced the birth of Beckett Phelps their second child
American swimming superstar Michael Phelps and his wife, Nicole, announced the birth of Beckett Phelps their second child (AFP Photo/GABRIEL BOUYS )
Michael Phelps announces birth of second son (and posts a picture)
Michael Phelps announces birth of second son (and posts a picture)
Michael Phelps announces birth of second son (and posts a picture)
Michael Phelps announces birth of second son (and posts a picture)
Michael Phelps announces birth of second son (and posts a picture)
Michael Phelps announces birth of second son (and posts a picture)
Michael Phelps and Nicole Johnson welcome baby No. 2
Michael Phelps and Nicole Johnson welcome baby No. 2
Michael Phelps and Nicole Johnson welcome baby No. 2
Michael Phelps and Nicole Johnson welcome baby No. 2
Michael Phelps and Nicole Johnson welcome baby No. 2
Michael Phelps and Nicole Johnson welcome baby No. 2
<p>While the Winter Olympics are in full swing in PyeongChang, halfway across the globe the world&#39;s most decorated Olympian ever welcomed the birth of his second son. </p><p>Twenty-three time gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps announced on Instagram that his wife had given birth on Monday to the couple&#39;s second son, Beckett. The couple&#39;s other son, Boomer, was born in May 2016. </p><p>&quot;Magical moments yesterday...,&quot; Phelps, 32, wrote in the post&#39;s caption. &quot;Nicole and I would like to introduce Beckett Richard Phelps to the world! We had a healthy baby boy and a healthy mama. I truly do feel like the happiest man in the world. Being able to build our family to now 4 (6 with doggies) is so incredible! #familyof4now&quot;</p><p>?Phelps, who has 28 medals in total, won five golds and a silver at last year&#39;s Olympics in Rio before announcing his retirement shortly after the Games. He remains in swimming shape but has not given any indication that he&#39;s considering trying to qualify for Tokyo 2020. </p>
Michael Phelps Announces Birth of Second Son, Beckett

While the Winter Olympics are in full swing in PyeongChang, halfway across the globe the world's most decorated Olympian ever welcomed the birth of his second son.

Twenty-three time gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps announced on Instagram that his wife had given birth on Monday to the couple's second son, Beckett. The couple's other son, Boomer, was born in May 2016.

"Magical moments yesterday...," Phelps, 32, wrote in the post's caption. "Nicole and I would like to introduce Beckett Richard Phelps to the world! We had a healthy baby boy and a healthy mama. I truly do feel like the happiest man in the world. Being able to build our family to now 4 (6 with doggies) is so incredible! #familyof4now"

?Phelps, who has 28 medals in total, won five golds and a silver at last year's Olympics in Rio before announcing his retirement shortly after the Games. He remains in swimming shape but has not given any indication that he's considering trying to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

Michael Phelps finished his career with 23 Olympic gold medals and skiing champion Mikaela Shiffrin played down any comparisons.
Winter Olympics 2018: Mikaela Shiffrin dismisses Michael Phelps comparisons
Michael Phelps finished his career with 23 Olympic gold medals and skiing champion Mikaela Shiffrin played down any comparisons.
<p>Welcome back to SI’s Daily Olympic Digest! A lot happened while we were asleep here in the U.S., so let’s get caught up.</p><p>The first medals of PyeongChang have been awarded! Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla won the first gold medal of the games in women’s skiathlon. Kalla, 30, beat out Norwegian favorite Marit Bjorgen, but Bjorgen’s silver medal gives her 11 in her career, the most of any female in Winter Olympics history. Jessie Diggins was a hopeful to medal for the U.S., but finished fifth—still the best finish ever for a U.S. woman in an Olympic cross-country skiing event.</p><p>The highly anticipated debut of the unified Korean women’s hockey team didn’t go so well: it fell 8-0 to a speedy Switzerland squad, led by Alina Muller&#39;s four goals, which tied the women’s hockey Olympic record. Korean goalie Sojuing Shin made 44 saves in the loss, providing excitement for the packed and boisterous crowd, which included dignitaries from both North and South Korea.</p><p>Women’s short track speedskating is where all the action’s at! Speed skating is South Korea’s favorite Winter Olympics sport. Their star, Choi Min-jeong, set a new Olympic record, clocking in at 42.870 seconds, and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 500m race. Maame Biney, U.S. first-time Olympian and our Athlete To Root For in <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/02/09/daily-olympic-digest-pyeongchang-day-one-opening-ceremony" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Friday&#39;s Daily Digest" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Friday&#39;s Daily Digest</a>, also moved on to the quarterfinals of the event.</p><p>The phenomenon that is mixed doubles curling has officially shuffled to a close for the U.S. in the inaugural event. Siblings Becca and Matt Hamilton, aka the Ham Fam, were eliminated from the round robin event on Saturday by China. The Hamiltons finished with a 1-4 record for the competition.</p><h3><strong>MUST-WATCH EVENTS</strong></h3><p><em>Team Event: Ice Dance Short Dance/ Ladies Single Skating Short Program/ Pairs Free Skating (8:00 PM ET Saturday on NBC)</em></p><p>The U.S. is ranked second in skating team events heading into Saturday&#39;s programs. Canada leads (17), followed by the U.S. (14), while Japan and Russia are tied for third (13). Married couple Chris Knierim and Alexa Scimeca-Knierim had a terrific skate Thursday night during the team short program but landed in fourth place. Look for them to continue their quest for a medal tonight. Also watch out for the popular ice dancing Shib sibs, Maia and Alex Shibutani, who will make their team event debut tonight. Bradie Tennell, 20, will step onto Olympic ice for the first time tonight for the U.S. in the ladies’ single short team program.</p><p><em>Men’s Slopestyle Snowboarding Finals (8:00 PM ET Saturday on NBC)</em></p><p>Move over Shaun White. While the 31-year-old chose to not compete in the slopestyle in PyeongChang, Red Gerard is ready to be the new face of the event. The 17-year-old and first-time Olympian secured a place in the finals. If he medals in this Olympics, Gerard would become the youngest American snowboarder to do so.</p><p><em>Women’s Ice Hockey Preliminary Round USA v. Finland (3:00 AM ET live on NBCSN)</em></p><p>Yes, I know this one is for the early risers. The U.S. women’s hockey team lost the gold medal to Canada in Sochi in 2014, but before the Americans get a rematch with their rivals from the north, they&#39;ll have to get through a tough Finnish team that&#39;s on the rise and would love nothing more than to score an early upset in the tournament. </p><p><em>Men’s Biathlon 10km Sprint Finals (5:00 AM ET Sunday; live on NBCSN. It will re-air in NBC’s coverage that begins at 3:00 PM ET Sunday.)</em></p><p>The U.S. has never won an Olympic medal in the biathlon event. Lowell Bailey leads the way for the Americans as he goes up against defending Olympic gold medalist Dario Cologna of Switzerland.</p><p><em>Men’s Luge Singles Finals (4:50 AM ET Sunday streaming live on NBCOlympics.com; Airing at 1:30 PM ET on NBCSN and again in NBC’s coverage beginning 7 PM ET Sunday night.)</em></p><p>Chris Mazdzer of the U.S. heads into the final two runs of luge competition in fourth place. The big contender to beat is German Felix Loch, who is looking to win his third straight gold medal in the event.</p><h3><strong>MEDAL COUNT</strong></h3><h3><strong>TWEET OF THE DAY</strong></h3><p>Apparently Lindsey Vonn’s dog, Lucy, had quite the trek to South Korea. All that travel wore her out. People were worried about Lucy’s jet lag when this photo of her with Vonn surfaced on Twitter.</p><p>Lucy captured how yearbook photo day at school often turns out for us humans. You think you look good... until you see the photo and realize you don’t. We’ve all been there, Lucy.</p><h3><strong>DAILY READING AND VIDEOS</strong></h3><p>Our intrepid staff on the ground in PyeongChang and in our New York office is already cranking away on the biggest stories so far from the games.</p><p>Our Michael Rosenberg <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/02/10/mikaela-shiffrin-reluctant-star-winter-olympics-2018-pyeongchang-michael-phelps" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:explores Mikaela Shiffrin’s rise" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">explores Mikaela Shiffrin’s rise</a> as a star He also took a look at <a href="https://edit.si.com/olympics/2018/02/10/lim-hyojun-speedskating-gold-medal-olympics-shared-experience" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a perfect Olympic story" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">a perfect Olympic story</a> in Korean speedskater Lim Hyojun. Tim Layden <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/02/09/hermann-maier-nagano-olympic-crash-photo" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:tells the story" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">tells the story</a> of Hermann Maier&#39;s horrific 1998 crash, and the photographer who captured it Michael Blinn introduces us to the U.S. women’s hockey team, which features <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/02/08/usa-womens-hockey-scouting-knight-duggan-brandt" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:13 first-time Olympians" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">13 first-time Olympians</a>. Here&#39;s an Olympic curler that looks just like <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/02/09/internet-convinced-olympic-curler-looks-exactly-super-mario-0" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:everyone&#39;s favorite video game plumber" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">everyone&#39;s favorite video game plumber</a> The <a href="http://www.si.com/olympics/video/2018/02/09/true-comeback-story-shaun-white" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:true comeback story" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">true comeback story</a> for Shaun White Here&#39;s what you <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/02/09/pyeongchang-olympics-opening-ceremony-notes" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:didn&#39;t see" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">didn&#39;t see</a> at the Opening Ceremonies</p><h3><strong>ATHLETE(S) TO ROOT FOR</strong></h3><p><em>Alex and Maia Shibutani</em></p><p>The popular ice dancing Shib Sibs competed in Sochi but did not medal. They make their team debut tonight in the ice dancing event and are expected to do well for the U.S. throughout the games. Winning an Olympic medal would put them in rare company: no brother-sister duo has medaled since 1984 when American skaters Kitty and Peter Carruthers won silver.</p><p>Get to know more about the Shibutani siblings <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/video/2018/01/25/meet-team-usa-alex-and-maia-shibutani" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:in this fun video" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">in this fun video</a>.</p>
Daily Olympic Digest: We're Off and Running in PyeongChang!

Welcome back to SI’s Daily Olympic Digest! A lot happened while we were asleep here in the U.S., so let’s get caught up.

The first medals of PyeongChang have been awarded! Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla won the first gold medal of the games in women’s skiathlon. Kalla, 30, beat out Norwegian favorite Marit Bjorgen, but Bjorgen’s silver medal gives her 11 in her career, the most of any female in Winter Olympics history. Jessie Diggins was a hopeful to medal for the U.S., but finished fifth—still the best finish ever for a U.S. woman in an Olympic cross-country skiing event.

The highly anticipated debut of the unified Korean women’s hockey team didn’t go so well: it fell 8-0 to a speedy Switzerland squad, led by Alina Muller's four goals, which tied the women’s hockey Olympic record. Korean goalie Sojuing Shin made 44 saves in the loss, providing excitement for the packed and boisterous crowd, which included dignitaries from both North and South Korea.

Women’s short track speedskating is where all the action’s at! Speed skating is South Korea’s favorite Winter Olympics sport. Their star, Choi Min-jeong, set a new Olympic record, clocking in at 42.870 seconds, and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 500m race. Maame Biney, U.S. first-time Olympian and our Athlete To Root For in Friday's Daily Digest, also moved on to the quarterfinals of the event.

The phenomenon that is mixed doubles curling has officially shuffled to a close for the U.S. in the inaugural event. Siblings Becca and Matt Hamilton, aka the Ham Fam, were eliminated from the round robin event on Saturday by China. The Hamiltons finished with a 1-4 record for the competition.

MUST-WATCH EVENTS

Team Event: Ice Dance Short Dance/ Ladies Single Skating Short Program/ Pairs Free Skating (8:00 PM ET Saturday on NBC)

The U.S. is ranked second in skating team events heading into Saturday's programs. Canada leads (17), followed by the U.S. (14), while Japan and Russia are tied for third (13). Married couple Chris Knierim and Alexa Scimeca-Knierim had a terrific skate Thursday night during the team short program but landed in fourth place. Look for them to continue their quest for a medal tonight. Also watch out for the popular ice dancing Shib sibs, Maia and Alex Shibutani, who will make their team event debut tonight. Bradie Tennell, 20, will step onto Olympic ice for the first time tonight for the U.S. in the ladies’ single short team program.

Men’s Slopestyle Snowboarding Finals (8:00 PM ET Saturday on NBC)

Move over Shaun White. While the 31-year-old chose to not compete in the slopestyle in PyeongChang, Red Gerard is ready to be the new face of the event. The 17-year-old and first-time Olympian secured a place in the finals. If he medals in this Olympics, Gerard would become the youngest American snowboarder to do so.

Women’s Ice Hockey Preliminary Round USA v. Finland (3:00 AM ET live on NBCSN)

Yes, I know this one is for the early risers. The U.S. women’s hockey team lost the gold medal to Canada in Sochi in 2014, but before the Americans get a rematch with their rivals from the north, they'll have to get through a tough Finnish team that's on the rise and would love nothing more than to score an early upset in the tournament.

Men’s Biathlon 10km Sprint Finals (5:00 AM ET Sunday; live on NBCSN. It will re-air in NBC’s coverage that begins at 3:00 PM ET Sunday.)

The U.S. has never won an Olympic medal in the biathlon event. Lowell Bailey leads the way for the Americans as he goes up against defending Olympic gold medalist Dario Cologna of Switzerland.

Men’s Luge Singles Finals (4:50 AM ET Sunday streaming live on NBCOlympics.com; Airing at 1:30 PM ET on NBCSN and again in NBC’s coverage beginning 7 PM ET Sunday night.)

Chris Mazdzer of the U.S. heads into the final two runs of luge competition in fourth place. The big contender to beat is German Felix Loch, who is looking to win his third straight gold medal in the event.

MEDAL COUNT

TWEET OF THE DAY

Apparently Lindsey Vonn’s dog, Lucy, had quite the trek to South Korea. All that travel wore her out. People were worried about Lucy’s jet lag when this photo of her with Vonn surfaced on Twitter.

Lucy captured how yearbook photo day at school often turns out for us humans. You think you look good... until you see the photo and realize you don’t. We’ve all been there, Lucy.

DAILY READING AND VIDEOS

Our intrepid staff on the ground in PyeongChang and in our New York office is already cranking away on the biggest stories so far from the games.

Our Michael Rosenberg explores Mikaela Shiffrin’s rise as a star He also took a look at a perfect Olympic story in Korean speedskater Lim Hyojun. Tim Layden tells the story of Hermann Maier's horrific 1998 crash, and the photographer who captured it Michael Blinn introduces us to the U.S. women’s hockey team, which features 13 first-time Olympians. Here's an Olympic curler that looks just like everyone's favorite video game plumber The true comeback story for Shaun White Here's what you didn't see at the Opening Ceremonies

ATHLETE(S) TO ROOT FOR

Alex and Maia Shibutani

The popular ice dancing Shib Sibs competed in Sochi but did not medal. They make their team debut tonight in the ice dancing event and are expected to do well for the U.S. throughout the games. Winning an Olympic medal would put them in rare company: no brother-sister duo has medaled since 1984 when American skaters Kitty and Peter Carruthers won silver.

Get to know more about the Shibutani siblings in this fun video.

<p>Welcome back to SI’s Daily Olympic Digest! A lot happened while we were asleep here in the U.S., so let’s get caught up.</p><p>The first medals of PyeongChang have been awarded! Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla won the first gold medal of the games in women’s skiathlon. Kalla, 30, beat out Norwegian favorite Marit Bjorgen, but Bjorgen’s silver medal gives her 11 in her career, the most of any female in Winter Olympics history. Jessie Diggins was a hopeful to medal for the U.S., but finished fifth—still the best finish ever for a U.S. woman in an Olympic cross-country skiing event.</p><p>The highly anticipated debut of the unified Korean women’s hockey team didn’t go so well: it fell 8-0 to a speedy Switzerland squad, led by Alina Muller&#39;s four goals, which tied the women’s hockey Olympic record. Korean goalie Sojuing Shin made 44 saves in the loss, providing excitement for the packed and boisterous crowd, which included dignitaries from both North and South Korea.</p><p>Women’s short track speedskating is where all the action’s at! Speed skating is South Korea’s favorite Winter Olympics sport. Their star, Choi Min-jeong, set a new Olympic record, clocking in at 42.870 seconds, and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 500m race. Maame Biney, U.S. first-time Olympian and our Athlete To Root For in <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/02/09/daily-olympic-digest-pyeongchang-day-one-opening-ceremony" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Friday&#39;s Daily Digest" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Friday&#39;s Daily Digest</a>, also moved on to the quarterfinals of the event.</p><p>The phenomenon that is mixed doubles curling has officially shuffled to a close for the U.S. in the inaugural event. Siblings Becca and Matt Hamilton, aka the Ham Fam, were eliminated from the round robin event on Saturday by China. The Hamiltons finished with a 1-4 record for the competition.</p><h3><strong>MUST-WATCH EVENTS</strong></h3><p><em>Team Event: Ice Dance Short Dance/ Ladies Single Skating Short Program/ Pairs Free Skating (8:00 PM ET Saturday on NBC)</em></p><p>The U.S. is ranked second in skating team events heading into Saturday&#39;s programs. Canada leads (17), followed by the U.S. (14), while Japan and Russia are tied for third (13). Married couple Chris Knierim and Alexa Scimeca-Knierim had a terrific skate Thursday night during the team short program but landed in fourth place. Look for them to continue their quest for a medal tonight. Also watch out for the popular ice dancing Shib sibs, Maia and Alex Shibutani, who will make their team event debut tonight. Bradie Tennell, 20, will step onto Olympic ice for the first time tonight for the U.S. in the ladies’ single short team program.</p><p><em>Men’s Slopestyle Snowboarding Finals (8:00 PM ET Saturday on NBC)</em></p><p>Move over Shaun White. While the 31-year-old chose to not compete in the slopestyle in PyeongChang, Red Gerard is ready to be the new face of the event. The 17-year-old and first-time Olympian secured a place in the finals. If he medals in this Olympics, Gerard would become the youngest American snowboarder to do so.</p><p><em>Women’s Ice Hockey Preliminary Round USA v. Finland (3:00 AM ET live on NBCSN)</em></p><p>Yes, I know this one is for the early risers. The U.S. women’s hockey team lost the gold medal to Canada in Sochi in 2014, but before the Americans get a rematch with their rivals from the north, they&#39;ll have to get through a tough Finnish team that&#39;s on the rise and would love nothing more than to score an early upset in the tournament. </p><p><em>Men’s Biathlon 10km Sprint Finals (5:00 AM ET Sunday; live on NBCSN. It will re-air in NBC’s coverage that begins at 3:00 PM ET Sunday.)</em></p><p>The U.S. has never won an Olympic medal in the biathlon event. Lowell Bailey leads the way for the Americans as he goes up against defending Olympic gold medalist Dario Cologna of Switzerland.</p><p><em>Men’s Luge Singles Finals (4:50 AM ET Sunday streaming live on NBCOlympics.com; Airing at 1:30 PM ET on NBCSN and again in NBC’s coverage beginning 7 PM ET Sunday night.)</em></p><p>Chris Mazdzer of the U.S. heads into the final two runs of luge competition in fourth place. The big contender to beat is German Felix Loch, who is looking to win his third straight gold medal in the event.</p><h3><strong>MEDAL COUNT</strong></h3><h3><strong>TWEET OF THE DAY</strong></h3><p>Apparently Lindsey Vonn’s dog, Lucy, had quite the trek to South Korea. All that travel wore her out. People were worried about Lucy’s jet lag when this photo of her with Vonn surfaced on Twitter.</p><p>Lucy captured how yearbook photo day at school often turns out for us humans. You think you look good... until you see the photo and realize you don’t. We’ve all been there, Lucy.</p><h3><strong>DAILY READING AND VIDEOS</strong></h3><p>Our intrepid staff on the ground in PyeongChang and in our New York office is already cranking away on the biggest stories so far from the games.</p><p>Our Michael Rosenberg <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/02/10/mikaela-shiffrin-reluctant-star-winter-olympics-2018-pyeongchang-michael-phelps" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:explores Mikaela Shiffrin’s rise" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">explores Mikaela Shiffrin’s rise</a> as a star He also took a look at <a href="https://edit.si.com/olympics/2018/02/10/lim-hyojun-speedskating-gold-medal-olympics-shared-experience" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a perfect Olympic story" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">a perfect Olympic story</a> in Korean speedskater Lim Hyojun. Tim Layden <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/02/09/hermann-maier-nagano-olympic-crash-photo" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:tells the story" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">tells the story</a> of Hermann Maier&#39;s horrific 1998 crash, and the photographer who captured it Michael Blinn introduces us to the U.S. women’s hockey team, which features <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/02/08/usa-womens-hockey-scouting-knight-duggan-brandt" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:13 first-time Olympians" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">13 first-time Olympians</a>. Here&#39;s an Olympic curler that looks just like <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/02/09/internet-convinced-olympic-curler-looks-exactly-super-mario-0" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:everyone&#39;s favorite video game plumber" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">everyone&#39;s favorite video game plumber</a> The <a href="http://www.si.com/olympics/video/2018/02/09/true-comeback-story-shaun-white" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:true comeback story" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">true comeback story</a> for Shaun White Here&#39;s what you <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/02/09/pyeongchang-olympics-opening-ceremony-notes" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:didn&#39;t see" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">didn&#39;t see</a> at the Opening Ceremonies</p><h3><strong>ATHLETE(S) TO ROOT FOR</strong></h3><p><em>Alex and Maia Shibutani</em></p><p>The popular ice dancing Shib Sibs competed in Sochi but did not medal. They make their team debut tonight in the ice dancing event and are expected to do well for the U.S. throughout the games. Winning an Olympic medal would put them in rare company: no brother-sister duo has medaled since 1984 when American skaters Kitty and Peter Carruthers won silver.</p><p>Get to know more about the Shibutani siblings <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/video/2018/01/25/meet-team-usa-alex-and-maia-shibutani" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:in this fun video" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">in this fun video</a>.</p>
Daily Olympic Digest: We're Off and Running in PyeongChang!

Welcome back to SI’s Daily Olympic Digest! A lot happened while we were asleep here in the U.S., so let’s get caught up.

The first medals of PyeongChang have been awarded! Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla won the first gold medal of the games in women’s skiathlon. Kalla, 30, beat out Norwegian favorite Marit Bjorgen, but Bjorgen’s silver medal gives her 11 in her career, the most of any female in Winter Olympics history. Jessie Diggins was a hopeful to medal for the U.S., but finished fifth—still the best finish ever for a U.S. woman in an Olympic cross-country skiing event.

The highly anticipated debut of the unified Korean women’s hockey team didn’t go so well: it fell 8-0 to a speedy Switzerland squad, led by Alina Muller's four goals, which tied the women’s hockey Olympic record. Korean goalie Sojuing Shin made 44 saves in the loss, providing excitement for the packed and boisterous crowd, which included dignitaries from both North and South Korea.

Women’s short track speedskating is where all the action’s at! Speed skating is South Korea’s favorite Winter Olympics sport. Their star, Choi Min-jeong, set a new Olympic record, clocking in at 42.870 seconds, and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 500m race. Maame Biney, U.S. first-time Olympian and our Athlete To Root For in Friday's Daily Digest, also moved on to the quarterfinals of the event.

The phenomenon that is mixed doubles curling has officially shuffled to a close for the U.S. in the inaugural event. Siblings Becca and Matt Hamilton, aka the Ham Fam, were eliminated from the round robin event on Saturday by China. The Hamiltons finished with a 1-4 record for the competition.

MUST-WATCH EVENTS

Team Event: Ice Dance Short Dance/ Ladies Single Skating Short Program/ Pairs Free Skating (8:00 PM ET Saturday on NBC)

The U.S. is ranked second in skating team events heading into Saturday's programs. Canada leads (17), followed by the U.S. (14), while Japan and Russia are tied for third (13). Married couple Chris Knierim and Alexa Scimeca-Knierim had a terrific skate Thursday night during the team short program but landed in fourth place. Look for them to continue their quest for a medal tonight. Also watch out for the popular ice dancing Shib sibs, Maia and Alex Shibutani, who will make their team event debut tonight. Bradie Tennell, 20, will step onto Olympic ice for the first time tonight for the U.S. in the ladies’ single short team program.

Men’s Slopestyle Snowboarding Finals (8:00 PM ET Saturday on NBC)

Move over Shaun White. While the 31-year-old chose to not compete in the slopestyle in PyeongChang, Red Gerard is ready to be the new face of the event. The 17-year-old and first-time Olympian secured a place in the finals. If he medals in this Olympics, Gerard would become the youngest American snowboarder to do so.

Women’s Ice Hockey Preliminary Round USA v. Finland (3:00 AM ET live on NBCSN)

Yes, I know this one is for the early risers. The U.S. women’s hockey team lost the gold medal to Canada in Sochi in 2014, but before the Americans get a rematch with their rivals from the north, they'll have to get through a tough Finnish team that's on the rise and would love nothing more than to score an early upset in the tournament.

Men’s Biathlon 10km Sprint Finals (5:00 AM ET Sunday; live on NBCSN. It will re-air in NBC’s coverage that begins at 3:00 PM ET Sunday.)

The U.S. has never won an Olympic medal in the biathlon event. Lowell Bailey leads the way for the Americans as he goes up against defending Olympic gold medalist Dario Cologna of Switzerland.

Men’s Luge Singles Finals (4:50 AM ET Sunday streaming live on NBCOlympics.com; Airing at 1:30 PM ET on NBCSN and again in NBC’s coverage beginning 7 PM ET Sunday night.)

Chris Mazdzer of the U.S. heads into the final two runs of luge competition in fourth place. The big contender to beat is German Felix Loch, who is looking to win his third straight gold medal in the event.

MEDAL COUNT

TWEET OF THE DAY

Apparently Lindsey Vonn’s dog, Lucy, had quite the trek to South Korea. All that travel wore her out. People were worried about Lucy’s jet lag when this photo of her with Vonn surfaced on Twitter.

Lucy captured how yearbook photo day at school often turns out for us humans. You think you look good... until you see the photo and realize you don’t. We’ve all been there, Lucy.

DAILY READING AND VIDEOS

Our intrepid staff on the ground in PyeongChang and in our New York office is already cranking away on the biggest stories so far from the games.

Our Michael Rosenberg explores Mikaela Shiffrin’s rise as a star He also took a look at a perfect Olympic story in Korean speedskater Lim Hyojun. Tim Layden tells the story of Hermann Maier's horrific 1998 crash, and the photographer who captured it Michael Blinn introduces us to the U.S. women’s hockey team, which features 13 first-time Olympians. Here's an Olympic curler that looks just like everyone's favorite video game plumber The true comeback story for Shaun White Here's what you didn't see at the Opening Ceremonies

ATHLETE(S) TO ROOT FOR

Alex and Maia Shibutani

The popular ice dancing Shib Sibs competed in Sochi but did not medal. They make their team debut tonight in the ice dancing event and are expected to do well for the U.S. throughout the games. Winning an Olympic medal would put them in rare company: no brother-sister duo has medaled since 1984 when American skaters Kitty and Peter Carruthers won silver.

Get to know more about the Shibutani siblings in this fun video.

<p>PYEONGCHANG, South Korea—Mikaela Shiffrin made a crack about the enormous table she would sit behind for her press conference, sat down and tried to break the ice.</p><p>“Hi guys, how are you?” she said.</p><p>There was no way for a roomful of journalists to answer that question.</p><p>“Just wanted to say ‘Hey,’” Shiffrin said.</p><p>The Olympics produce many medalists but only a few stars. Winning a medal takes talent, dedication and sometimes a little luck. Becoming a star requires qualities that are harder to define. Usain Bolt is a star. Lindsey Vonn is a star—not just in the skiing world, but beyond. One interesting subplot of these Olympics is whether Shiffrin will join them.</p><p>Shiffrin held her pre-Olympics press conference here Saturday. It was scheduled for 30 minutes but cut down to 20 before it began. Shiffrin is poised and gives thoughtful answers to reporters’ questions, though she is a bit self-conscious in a public setting. If she were your sister or friend, you might get nervous watching her.</p><p>When her moderator mentioned that the media could come watch Shiffrin’s training runs, she cracked, “Or don’t come. Whatever.” She pointed out that “this is the biggest press conference I’ve done all season.” She said keeps her medals tucked away inside socks. (Be careful with your laundry, Mikaela). She said she does have a few mementos hanging in her home, but quickly added that was only because she had “dead space on my wall.” After relaying what she has done since arriving in Korea more than a week ago—mostly sleep, train and eat—she said, “I’m fairly boring. You guys will find that out throughout these games.” It is hard to build an ad campaign around that.</p><p>Shiffrin is an undeniable star on the slopes; her accomplishments before the age of 23 are unprecedented. She may win so many medals this week that she joins Bolt and Michael Phelps as an Olympian everybody recognizes. In the meantime, she is caught in this odd cultural place: she has not yet transcended her sport, but she might.</p><p>Vonn seems to have done it, and she seems to have wanted to do it. She is skilled at crafting an image without seeming like she is trying too hard to craft an image. She lets us in on her life and says just enough to keep fans wanting more. She kept her married name, Vonn, after her divorce, well-aware that <em>Lindsey Vonn</em> is not just her name. It is an internationally recognized brand. Her maiden name, Lindsey Kildow, is not.</p><p>Vonn is the downhill icon, always willing to go a little faster than a knee surgeon might recommend. She dated fellow star Tiger Woods, which (naturally) made her an even bigger star. Vonn brings sizzle wherever she goes.</p><p>Shiffrin is the slalom master who is still figuring out how to let loose on the downhill. She is dating fellow skier Mathieu Faivre. Shiffrin, so far, has brought mostly skill than sizzle. This is not a knock. Celebrity is not a reward for good behavior or impeccable character.</p><p>Shiffrin has handled her mercurial career so well, it is easy to forget how difficult it is to excel in more than one Olympic cycle. Swimmer Missy Franklin was on a Shiffrin-esque path after the 2012 London Olympics; four years later, she won one medal, in a relay. Vonn, the finest female skier ever, has only won two Olympic medals due to a combination of injuries and unfortunate timing. Shiffrin may win more than that this week.</p><p>Asked about any comparison to Phelps, Shiffrin said, “You’re crazy.” It was the polite and humble thing to say. But we are not crazy.</p><p>When Phelps first burst onto the Olympic stage in Athens in 2004, he was a well-packaged commodity but rarely said anything interesting. He didn’t have to. All anybody had to say was that Phelps was trying to surpass Mark Spitz’s record of seven gold medals. Every American sports fan knew about Spitz’s record. That was enough for us.</p><p>When Phelps won six golds in Athens, the hype for Beijing in 2008 began immediately; when he won eight golds there, he became a transcendent star. His subsequent personal struggles and recovery were compelling, and eventually Phelps became more comfortable and eloquent in public settings. But by that time, we already cared about him. He was embedded in our cultural consciousness.</p><p>Mikaela Shiffrin may become one of the biggest stars in American sports, but she will not crash through a fence to get there. She was asked Saturday how many events she will enter here; if she goes for five medals and succeeds, it would be one of the great achievements in Winter Olympic history. A lot of us wanted to hear her say she will enter all five. Shiffrin said she will race in the first two events, the slalom and giant slalom, and then see how she feels.</p>
Mikaela Shiffrin Is a (Reluctant) Star in the Making Who Can Make Her Mark in PyeongChang

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea—Mikaela Shiffrin made a crack about the enormous table she would sit behind for her press conference, sat down and tried to break the ice.

“Hi guys, how are you?” she said.

There was no way for a roomful of journalists to answer that question.

“Just wanted to say ‘Hey,’” Shiffrin said.

The Olympics produce many medalists but only a few stars. Winning a medal takes talent, dedication and sometimes a little luck. Becoming a star requires qualities that are harder to define. Usain Bolt is a star. Lindsey Vonn is a star—not just in the skiing world, but beyond. One interesting subplot of these Olympics is whether Shiffrin will join them.

Shiffrin held her pre-Olympics press conference here Saturday. It was scheduled for 30 minutes but cut down to 20 before it began. Shiffrin is poised and gives thoughtful answers to reporters’ questions, though she is a bit self-conscious in a public setting. If she were your sister or friend, you might get nervous watching her.

When her moderator mentioned that the media could come watch Shiffrin’s training runs, she cracked, “Or don’t come. Whatever.” She pointed out that “this is the biggest press conference I’ve done all season.” She said keeps her medals tucked away inside socks. (Be careful with your laundry, Mikaela). She said she does have a few mementos hanging in her home, but quickly added that was only because she had “dead space on my wall.” After relaying what she has done since arriving in Korea more than a week ago—mostly sleep, train and eat—she said, “I’m fairly boring. You guys will find that out throughout these games.” It is hard to build an ad campaign around that.

Shiffrin is an undeniable star on the slopes; her accomplishments before the age of 23 are unprecedented. She may win so many medals this week that she joins Bolt and Michael Phelps as an Olympian everybody recognizes. In the meantime, she is caught in this odd cultural place: she has not yet transcended her sport, but she might.

Vonn seems to have done it, and she seems to have wanted to do it. She is skilled at crafting an image without seeming like she is trying too hard to craft an image. She lets us in on her life and says just enough to keep fans wanting more. She kept her married name, Vonn, after her divorce, well-aware that Lindsey Vonn is not just her name. It is an internationally recognized brand. Her maiden name, Lindsey Kildow, is not.

Vonn is the downhill icon, always willing to go a little faster than a knee surgeon might recommend. She dated fellow star Tiger Woods, which (naturally) made her an even bigger star. Vonn brings sizzle wherever she goes.

Shiffrin is the slalom master who is still figuring out how to let loose on the downhill. She is dating fellow skier Mathieu Faivre. Shiffrin, so far, has brought mostly skill than sizzle. This is not a knock. Celebrity is not a reward for good behavior or impeccable character.

Shiffrin has handled her mercurial career so well, it is easy to forget how difficult it is to excel in more than one Olympic cycle. Swimmer Missy Franklin was on a Shiffrin-esque path after the 2012 London Olympics; four years later, she won one medal, in a relay. Vonn, the finest female skier ever, has only won two Olympic medals due to a combination of injuries and unfortunate timing. Shiffrin may win more than that this week.

Asked about any comparison to Phelps, Shiffrin said, “You’re crazy.” It was the polite and humble thing to say. But we are not crazy.

When Phelps first burst onto the Olympic stage in Athens in 2004, he was a well-packaged commodity but rarely said anything interesting. He didn’t have to. All anybody had to say was that Phelps was trying to surpass Mark Spitz’s record of seven gold medals. Every American sports fan knew about Spitz’s record. That was enough for us.

When Phelps won six golds in Athens, the hype for Beijing in 2008 began immediately; when he won eight golds there, he became a transcendent star. His subsequent personal struggles and recovery were compelling, and eventually Phelps became more comfortable and eloquent in public settings. But by that time, we already cared about him. He was embedded in our cultural consciousness.

Mikaela Shiffrin may become one of the biggest stars in American sports, but she will not crash through a fence to get there. She was asked Saturday how many events she will enter here; if she goes for five medals and succeeds, it would be one of the great achievements in Winter Olympic history. A lot of us wanted to hear her say she will enter all five. Shiffrin said she will race in the first two events, the slalom and giant slalom, and then see how she feels.

Michael Phelps finished his career with 23 Olympic gold medals and skiing champion Mikaela Shiffrin played down any comparisons.
Winter Olympics 2018: Shiffrin dismisses Phelps comparisons
Michael Phelps finished his career with 23 Olympic gold medals and skiing champion Mikaela Shiffrin played down any comparisons.
The women’s slalom gold medalist from Sochi is already halfway to Lindsey Vonn’s World Cup wins total - despite being eleven years younger. But could the 22-year-old Colorado native have her eye on another Olympic star?
Mikaela Shiffrin shakes off ‘crazy’ Michael Phelps comparisons
The women’s slalom gold medalist from Sochi is already halfway to Lindsey Vonn’s World Cup wins total - despite being eleven years younger. But could the 22-year-old Colorado native have her eye on another Olympic star?
The women’s slalom gold medalist from Sochi is already halfway to Lindsey Vonn’s World Cup wins total - despite being eleven years younger. But could the 22-year-old Colorado native have her eye on another Olympic star?
Mikaela Shiffrin shakes off ‘crazy’ Michael Phelps comparisons
The women’s slalom gold medalist from Sochi is already halfway to Lindsey Vonn’s World Cup wins total - despite being eleven years younger. But could the 22-year-old Colorado native have her eye on another Olympic star?
The women’s slalom gold medalist from Sochi is already halfway to Lindsey Vonn’s World Cup wins total - despite being eleven years younger. But could the 22-year-old Colorado native have her eye on another Olympic star?
Mikaela Shiffrin shakes off ‘crazy’ Michael Phelps comparisons
The women’s slalom gold medalist from Sochi is already halfway to Lindsey Vonn’s World Cup wins total - despite being eleven years younger. But could the 22-year-old Colorado native have her eye on another Olympic star?
The women’s slalom gold medalist from Sochi is already halfway to Lindsey Vonn’s World Cup wins total - despite being eleven years younger. But could the 22-year-old Colorado native have her eye on another Olympic star?
Mikaela Shiffrin shakes off ‘crazy’ Michael Phelps comparisons
The women’s slalom gold medalist from Sochi is already halfway to Lindsey Vonn’s World Cup wins total - despite being eleven years younger. But could the 22-year-old Colorado native have her eye on another Olympic star?
Could Mikaela Shiffrin become Michael Phelps of the slopes? &#39;Crazy,&#39; but maybe
Could Mikaela Shiffrin become Michael Phelps of the slopes? 'Crazy,' but maybe
Could Mikaela Shiffrin become Michael Phelps of the slopes? 'Crazy,' but maybe
Could Mikaela Shiffrin become Michael Phelps of the slopes? &#39;Crazy,&#39; but maybe
Could Mikaela Shiffrin become Michael Phelps of the slopes? 'Crazy,' but maybe
Could Mikaela Shiffrin become Michael Phelps of the slopes? 'Crazy,' but maybe
Could Mikaela Shiffrin become Michael Phelps of the slopes? &#39;Crazy,&#39; but maybe
Could Mikaela Shiffrin become Michael Phelps of the slopes? 'Crazy,' but maybe
Could Mikaela Shiffrin become Michael Phelps of the slopes? 'Crazy,' but maybe

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