I have been involved with sports a long time. Commentating it for 20 years and playing it long before that. It has been a joy to be a part of. They say that the key to happiness is doing the work you love, and being fulfilled at it. That feeling of getting to the top of the mountain and not having to say, " So this is success, is that all there is? " Sports will always have that ability to fulfill me. Why? The self -help author Anthony Robbins talks about the six human needs- the needs that every human being on the face of the earth has to feel truly fulfilled and happy, and sports meets each one. I'll go through them here, and hopefully at the end you'll see why it is so special.
The first need is the NEED FOR CERTAINTY. We need a sense of certainty to feel that we can gain pleasure in our lives and avoid pain. We need to feel that we are in control of our lives and can do things that make us happy. How does being involved with sports create that feeling of certainty? Everything about what I do as a broadcaster creates pleasure for me.... the thrill of preparing,planning, and commentating on a game.... and the pain level is extremely low. What is the worst thing that could happen to me during a game? The game gets knocked off the air? I have the confidence to know how to fix anything that may go wrong. The pleasure/pain ratio is way favored towards the pleasure side. This can be thought of as a " Class 1 experience", it feels good, it is good for you, it is good for others and it serves the greater good. I am certain that the end of my day will leave me with a feeling of joy and happiness.
The second need is the need for UNCERTAINTY AND VARIETY. If we become too certain, we become bored. Life gets to be too predictable. We all need surprises and challenges in our life to feel truly fulfilled. And how does sports fill that need? Every game is unique. Every game is different. No two games will ever finish the same way. You always will have the ability to see something you have never seen before. Upsets happen. David beats Goliath. Look at the NCAA basketball tournament, that is a perfect example. Sports creates that edge, that sense of excitement that keeps us on the edge of our seats. We constantly have that edge and surprise factor. Sports will ALWAYS fill this need.
The third need is the need for SIGNIFICANCE. This involves the sense that we are unique and we have a special purpose or meaning for our lives. We all have the need to feel significance or that feeling of importance, or as Dale Carnegie calls it. " The craving to feel appreciated." I feel significant when I broadcast because I am helping people. People rely on me to be the eyes and ears for them when they listen on the radio. They rely on me to inform them what is going on. There are many options for them to follow the game but they choose to tune me in. That is something I take very seriously and that is also why I give 100% of myself on the air. That feeling of being needed gives me the feeling of significance.
The fourth need is the need for LOVE AND CONNECTION. There is not a human being alive on this earth that does not need love and connection with other human beings. That feeling of bonding with people and creating special feelings of connection. From a fan's perspective, sports provides a wonderful social bonding experience, whether it be gathering at a pub to watch a game, or at a stadium. From my perspective, I have made many great friends in my years of broadcasting. And the best example I can give you is my job calling Merrimack College hockey. Working for Merrimack makes you feel like you have an extended family. We all get to know each other, we become interested in each other's lives, and we genuinely care about each other. This happens in baseball too, with long bus trips, where you get to sit and talk with the players and coaches and connect with them. If you are lucky enough to have a job where you feel like you're a part of a family, you'll always have this need met.
The fifth need is the need for GROWTH. I will never know everything there is to know about broadcasting and being a broadcaster. There is always something to learn. Hey, I have learned a lot over my last ten years at Merrimack and I am still learning. For example, I learned how to run commercials during our games, something that is effortless now. And it is also helpful if you have a colleague who pushes you to be your best, as I do in Mike Machnik. And to me, growing is fun, It means I am expanding and getting better at my craft. And the knowledge that I still have more to learn, and always will, keeps me humble. Broadcasting will always fill this need because I always strive to get better.
The sixth and final need is the need for CONTRIBUTION. This need involves serving the greater good, as well as contributing to ourselves and our happiness. To me, the way I contribute most is by trying to make other people happy. If I go on the air and people listen to my broadcast and enjoy it, and if I can make them feel happy and that they enjoyed the game, then I have contributed to their happiness, and that gives me the greatest feelings of joy I could experience. And if I am at the microphone, then I know I will have that chance every day,and that gives me ultimate joy and feelings that I have contributed in a tangible way.
So I can say I am truly fulfilled. I hope that those that read this will consider applying the six human needs to their lives and/or jobs and feel the same way I do!