“My daughter wants to do what you do!”

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By: Mandy Mitchell

I get it often when I am out around town.

“My daughter wants to do what you do!”

The smiling dad or mom then continues with “she REALLY loves sports”….”I think she would LOVE this.”

I always smile and offer the same encouraging words.

“That’s great!”…”Tell her to work really hard”…”Tell her to contact me if I can ever do anything to help!” (this never happens, by the way.)

Here is what I really want to say:

Your daughter wants to do what I do huh? Well is she willing to do what I did to do what I do?

Is your daughter willing to send out hundreds of links to her work and hear nothing? Is she good at rejection? Is your daughter willing to move to a new town, hundreds–thousands of miles away– where she knows no one to start this career?

How does your daughter feel about carrying 80 pounds of gear? How does she feel about carrying 80 pounds of gear after driving 4 hours to cover a college football game, then walking roughly a mile to the stadium to set up the gear, shooting a 4-hour game,  shooting postgame and then shooting her own live shot? How does she feel about doing that and then getting an e-mail from the news director about how her hair looked a bit “messy” and how it would be great if she could “spend more time on her on-air appearance.”

Does your daughter like hearing the word no? No…you can’t take vacation during February, May, November or anytime during football season. No you can’t have any Friday nights off between August and December because those nights are 100% reserved for High School football. No you can’t cut your hair the way you would like, we are going to need you to have the haircut we (the station) like.

Does your daughter handle rude people well? The kind who will email to tell her they hate her and she sucks at her job simply because she is a girl doing a “guy’s job.”

Does your daughter handle rude colleagues well? The kind who will tell others (not her, not to her face) that she was hired simply because “she’s a woman in sports.”

Is your daughter ready to make very little money? Are YOU, Mom or Dad, ready for that? You are going to pay thousands for her college education and she is going to make peanuts for a decade or so. Is that cool with her? Is that cool with you? I bet you didn’t know that. You saw somewhere that Erin Andrews makes a mint to “go to games” and you thought that would be pretty neat right?

Is this about sports OR journalism for your daughter? If it’s about sports, leave the dream behind and do it as quickly as possible.

This job has to be about a love of writing and telling stories and being good at TV. Sports is a very small piece of the cake. The bulk of what I do isn’t “going to games.” It’s shooting interviews and editing and writing and making connections so I can break stories. It’s journalism. If you want to go to games you should consider a career in pharmaceuticals so you can have weekends off and go to games.

If she is ok with all of this, if she is prepared to sacrifice and bust her ass, then by all means tell her to CALL ME! I love what I do and I love what I have been able to do by working in this business.

I’ve been to the Super Bowl, two Final Fours, the College World Series (twice!), the Masters and the US Open. I travel every year to follow teams in the NCAA tournament. I covered Coach K’s 1000th win at Madison Square Garden. THAT is what you see and what you think your daughter would enjoy doing.

I promise you, she would! My question is, would she enjoy the rest?

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