Chasing A Dream: What's Next?



It’s incredible to think that nearly a month has passed since I graduated with my master’s degree in Sports Management. Initially, the whole day didn’t feel real but as I performed my final tasks and cleaned out my office to begin the next phase of my life, the emotions began to set in. I was immediately taken back to the genesis of how I became a student once more at the age of 29 years old.


Now for a brief history lesson on how I arrived at my commencement day.


The conversation began at a Moe’s Southwest Grill on Hamilton Road in the Columbus suburb of Gahanna. I shared a meal with then Ohio Dominican Head Women’s Soccer Coach Aimee Haywood and graduate assistant Devon Tabata, and the prospect of me attending grad school came up in conversation as Coach Haywood said, “Have you ever given thought to being a graduate assistant? I think you’d be good at it.” She then told me that an opening would be coming up and that she would get me in front of the individual who would be conducting the interviews.


That was all the encouragement I needed as I was relatively unfulfilled in my first job following my undergraduate degree. I had been with the women’s soccer program for seven months at the time of this conversation and had already felt my mood improve drastically. I was making the impact in not only my life but the lives of others. I feel I had found my calling and that this was something I needed to pursue. Coach Haywood connected me with the then-Sports Information Director who had an upcoming vacancy and he enlightened me and showed me what path I would need to take to make this aspiration a reality.


I discussed the opportunity with my family and weighed my options the next few months. I was promoted to a Sports Information Intern, which offered me a chance to get my feet wet before officially diving in. I was introduced to new Sports Information Director Tyler Jester and immediately hit it off with him, traveling to different locations and representing Ohio Dominican University at events across the Midwest. This is what I had to do with my life.


The decision to leave my job was made in February 2020 in which then presented me with a difficult conversation with my roommate who had lived with me for seven years. He was understanding of my aspirations and gave me his blessing, for which I’m thankful.


Then COVID hit.


It halted everything in my life. The job I was exiting, the job I was preparing to enter, and was making my career move difficult. I waited on pins and needles to see if I would be able to assume my new position.


Luckily, I was able to get placed and get started in August 2020.


It was an unconventional start to my employment as there were no fall sports except for golf, given the ability to social distance. We would go on to have a busy spring including hosting the NCAA Women’s Basketball Atlantic Regional and the NCAA Women’s Basketball Elite Eight. It would be a summer full of rest and opportunity as one of my closest confidants yielded me an opportunity to work with one of the top high schools in the nation. This wouldn’t be the first time a door was opened by that individual and I couldn’t thank them enough.


Looking back on my career I’m thankful for the people that were put in front of me and have helped me to become the person that I am today. I know that I’ve had a massive transformation since I enrolled in grad school. I have been blessed with knowledge and the introduction of some truly remarkable people in my life. Both of which I hope stays with me for a long time.


WHAT’S NEXT FOR ME?


I’ll be returning here for content creation, including the return of my podcast. I also will be working for various reputable teams and companies in the world of sports here in Central Ohio. I hope to reveal many of those details in the coming days.


MY MESSAGE TO YOU


I just had this conversation with someone thinking about going to grad school (it’s funny how that works).


Don’t be afraid to try something new and push yourself to the next level. Without the love and support of those around me, I wouldn’t have taken this chance and worked on improving myself. I’m so thankful that I’ve encountered some great people that helped me to realize this dream. I can’t wait to see where things go from here and I’m optimistic that great things are on the horizon.


Don’t sabotage yourself and think you can’t do it, your time is passed, or you are simply not smart enough. That couldn’t be further from the truth.


You are capable, you are smart enough, and you can accomplish great things.


If you’ve made it this far in this post, I want to thank you. I wish I could give you a medal or something.


To those that helped me along the way: Thank you. Your kindness and generosity mean more than you ever know to me. Your ability to keep me focused on the task at hand is second to none. I am who I am today because of your help and guidance.



Time to go tackle the next big project!


All the best, Ralph


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