Tonight when SportsCenter ends at 1am eastern, my time working at ESPN will come to a close. Leaving the company wasn’t an easy decision, but after almost 6 and a half years of working at the company headquarters in Bristol, CT, I’m ready for the next chapter.
It has been a really remarkable, rewarding and fun run. It’s been hard to say goodbye to so many great coworkers and friends, and I’ve heard some really kind words from many of them over the past few weeks.
I can remember the beautiful leaf colors while driving down I-84 from Massachusetts back in the fall of 2006 for my interview.
And getting told to pay attention while Bryan Larson and I goofed around in the back of the classroom on our first day at Rookie Camp.
I remember showing up clean shaven, with my shirt tucked into khakis (ironed!), working late nights on ESPNews and learning my way around campus. I learned a lot during those early days about TV, the company culture, the difficult schedule we work. I remember working till 2am in the old X/Y room in building 1 by PCR9…back in those days we did video fixes on tape and the network was still SD.
I remember training on the Deko with Steve Davis, laughing with Marlette and Presser late night, the adrenaline of doing live TV and the panic of creating phoners pannel graphics on the fly, playing out Football Friday with Tommy Edwards. Shiiiiiiiiiit.
I remember wondering around the massive campus while on dinner break and meeting Mudd over by Master Control. I remember going to Nemi’s christmas party and getting a spatula from Santa’s dollar-store gift bag.
I remember living with Todd Eckman and his ADHD dog Bella at Brookside Apartments. Jogging around the hilly loop in town, playing late night Guitar Hero 2, and bowling nights with the guys from “The Data Group” at city sports. Karaoke nights at at Déjà Vu with 2 dollar Coronas and Tequila, getting rides home and singing Sublime and Red Hot Chili Peppers at the top of our lungs, often into the phone. The other end of the phone was BLar’s work voicemail, which were eventually compiled into the infamous “drunk dial mix” CD.
I can remember helping out with Habitat for Humanity with with Meag Fitz, and drinking in Matt Chant’s backyard and basement until dawn. Those days I took trips to Philly to visit Lora, and started hosting crazy themed parties for no apparent reason. Halloween Spooktaculars with a DVD of Waterworld on loop at Auggies. Big Lebowski viwing parties. Midweek-mid afternoon BBQs with MGMT and playing Mario Kart on 64. And when I went to day shift I hosted “Trevor’s Nighttime Exodus Festivus” – complete with piñata. The parties at Mansionland with Pat and Nemi, Cinco de Mayo.
As I continued to learn new shows and graphics platforms, I was working with so many different people. From building 1 and the Font PAs and the early GPs, to the huge number of ADs, Directors and producers in the Digital Center, there are too many to name them all. I was also learning more about sports and tv production, working on international shows and a few side projects.
In 2009 I was named ESPN “Chef of the Week”, resulting in the nickname “Porkchop” from Paul C which lasts to this day. BLar and I did dozens of hikes around Bristol, Southington…Farmington, including in the middle of winter in the snow. O.D.F.A.’s of Disc Golf with Benny G and Corbett and others at various courses around town. Visits to Lovely Street and the night we went to see a Weezer concert in NYC.
There were the late night parties at Huntington Woods. Kanye West at max volume, strobe lights and excessive amounts of beer and liquor. I remember the time Benny and I drove all the way from Boston with muffler and half the exhaust stytem in the trunk of my Mazda. Hanging out at the pool, playing tennis, and buying my first convertible car.
There were company picnics, complete with riding the skyline with Meag and Carly, yelling while we rode the various amusement park rides not out of fear, but to make each other laugh.
I remember hosting LOST parties with Danielle and Sarah and Popkin, flanking the TV with house plants to give the TV “more of a jungle look”, watching Whale Wars on Animal Plannet with BLar and Bobby and Ben Lerner, and watching The Wire with Popkin.
I remember coordinating the epic Around the World New Year’s Eve party around Huntington Woods, going to concerts to see Jimmy Buffet with Soder and Joy and crew, Greek Festivals and various road trips to New Hampshire, Boston, and NYC.
I remember declaring that we Celebrate Everything ’09, seeing Obama elected than watching him become inaugurated from the cold grass of the National Mall. Driving with the top down and the music blasting Rick Astley and Lady Gaga on the highway with Mudd.
I remember the Pad Kee Mao (extra spicy) from Somewhere in Bangkok, Chicken Parm Thursdays from the caf, and the delicious pizza and totally sketchy environment at Sabino’s in Bristol.
I remember working in Graphics Room 2b working with the coworkers from all over the world on International SportsCenter, and sneaking out to hit a bucket of balls at the driving range on our lunch break with Big Ern.
I remember going to Quinnipiac for grad school because…well…why not? The projects and the carpools, the reading, writing and discussing with Candice and James and the rest of the crew.
I remember living next to Greg and Missy and later baby Brevin. Helping to watch him and cook for those guys and hosting family dinners that sometimes included 6 or 8 guests, but maxed out that one Thanksgiving at a whopping 22 people crammed into our apartment.
There were road trips to Montreal, Ocean City, Mitch’s bachelor party and wedding in Philly. There was the kayak trip with Claire and BLar, trips to Red top with Nia. Orlando, Disney, New Orleans, the gulf of Mexico and the week long trip to Tokyo.
The guys weekend trip to Austin – throwing the football around the field at Texas stadium and rocking out to “I’m on a Boat” on the rooftop bar where I’d first met BLar 5 years earlier.
I remember getting into various projects, like painting gigantic scissors on a huge canvas, Apartment 34 movie scene reenactments with Popkin, and watching and evaluating every single James Bond movie with BLar.
I remember going to ESPN Multicultural Fairs, a company Christmas party, getting a photo with Will Ferrell, shaking hands with Tedy Bruschi, an autographed book from Peter Gammons. Eating chicken wings and watching Monday Night Football with Trey Wingo and Trent Dilfer while on the clock, playing trivial persuit with Duff and crew before Primetime.
I remember helping BLar move. Then move again. Then finally move into Apt 34 with me.
Graduating from QU with a Masters of Science, there was the weeklong adventure down in Charleston, SC on Folly Beach. I remember swimming in between lightning strikes with Ryno, Popkin falling asleep on a bench by the aquarium, the bike tour, and a huge brunch at Vickeries with some great friends who came all the way down to celebrate with me, my Mom and some family.
At work I continued to continued to train, mentor, and lead on some projects and ideas, like the Creative Services book swap, the Young Professionals Graphics Committee, the Off The Record group, VCS 101 Classes.
I was sent to the LA office for a week one spring, working on SportsCenter, international shows, and a weekend trip to Yosemite National Park.
Connecticut saw some crazy weather over the past 6 years. There was the tornado, hurricanes, flooding, power outages the blizzard on Halloween. There were camping nights, beach trips to Hammonasset, Sleeping Giant state park, and long talks and discussions around Crescent Lake with BLar. Floating the Farmington River with Laura and Mike, mountain biking around Mt. Southington, climbing Mt. Monadnock.
I helped start the AmeriCorps Alums Chapter with Katherine and Tina and later RJ and Luiz, taking it from an idea to a working, growing network which connects people and does meaningful work.
There were weddings – Mitch and Mo, Bill and Liz, Jess and Billy, Matt and Camy, Mark and Cole, Jerry and Shannon, Mike and Lori, Kathy and Derek, Sam and Kristen, Bob and Carly – each of which I feel honored to have been a part of.
I remember starting to travel for GameDay Basketball, the sound of the chant at Phog Allen and getting stranded at the pizza place with Lappas and Kayln. Eating gator in Gainesville, exploring Missouri with Mudd and the BBQ at Rocky top.
There were P.O.A.T. ski trips, St. Pattys parties, and many “going away” happy hours at Wood N Tap on route 10. Mexican Thanksgiving partys in West Chester, visits to Lexington and mom’s delicious cooking back home.
On the road with GameDay football I’ll never forget the site from the field of the crowd as Michigan came back to beat Notre Dame at the end of the first night-game at the Big House. Or the sound of thousands of people yelling the war chant at Florida State. Road Kill Grill on Fridays, insane work hours and sitting in the front of the plane with Willy and Albon.
Working on NBA Finals, I got to see more of the midwest, take a charter flight with Burgan and stay (covertly) with Kristen at a 5-star hotel in Miami. No oops.
I’ve seen Kemba Walker score a clutch jumper at MSG, Westbrook to Durrant on the fast break in OKC, Red Sox play in the Bronx, Andrew Luck drop back in Palo Alto.
I was part of the coverage when Barry Bonds broke the home run record. When Farve retired…then didn’t. When the Sox won again, Michael Phelps broke records, the Saints re-opened the Superdome, spygate, Tiger Woods’ fall from glory, the Virginia Tech tragedy, a 22-inning baseball game, Bruins taking home the cup, lockouts, the Decision, Penn State’s scandal, Tebow, Linsanity, Bounty gate and hundreds of other stories.
There was the Mustachio Bashio. A crazy idea that grew into one of my favorite nights of the year. An annual party to act like a fool in public with your best friends and raise money for a good cause – tell me, is there anything better than that?
Thousands of memories with literally hundreds of people, too many to note here.
Thank you everyone for your help, guidance and friendship over this journey. It is bittersweet to close this chapter, but I know I’ll see many of you again down the road. Until then, be well.