Hello! Brief intro before moving onto the heavy stuff. My name is Michael Lavery, I’m 21 years old and I live in the North of Ireland. All my life I’ve wanted to be a sports journalist or a TV presenter and I’m working towards that right now. The following is somewhat of a drunken word vomit; thoughts and feelings fuelled by a couple beers that I felt would be better in a word doc than in my head. I enjoy writing, it gives me a sense of accomplishment and a joy that I don’t find elsewhere. You can find much shorter versions of these ramblings over on twitter if you wanna follow me @Michaellavery98
I spent 14 years in school. In that time I did all I could. I studied, I was kind, I made friends and I was even Head Boy. Elected as the leading student representative of a school of 1800+ pupils, I was giving speeches to hundreds of students each week and meeting with school governors on the regular (cheese boards and meeting minutes taken – super formal for an 18 year old). I was living an exemplary lifestyle. I had it all right there in front of me, my future, waiting for me to grab it, and then, the exams came.
I failed just about every test I took, missed out on the chance of university and was seemingly back to square one. 14 years down the drain. The schools poster boy had failed all his exams and all eyes were on him, I didn’t know what to do and in a somewhat frenzied state I decided that sticking with my part time job, and moving to full time hours was the answer that I needed.
Two years go by and I’ve started to spend some time in the “real world”. At 19, I was the manager of a new multi-million pound retail convenience store (Fancy wording for a high-tech, modern filling station). A position I achieved through experience alone. I was responsible for everything from rotas to finances, staffing problems to my own 50+ hour week. Skip forward a few months and I’d been on stress/anxiety related sick leave for two months and I’d eventually left my post as manager.
Shortly after, I landed an 8-5, Monday to Friday office job. In the beginning I thought this was bliss. I’d finally found some sort of routine and I was absolutely loving it (My last job had me finishing at 11pm at night and starting again at 5.30am the next morning). But as time went on, and the walls of the office grew smaller, I missed the outside world. I didn’t have a window and the only voice I heard was that of the local radio DJ. The walls became suffocating and I knew I was doing something I didn’t love.
Again, I left my job (snowflake, right?) and spent a while doing literally nothing. I was seeing a lifeline counsellor who was helping me deal with the hardships of the past two years because although the tone of my text may not dictate so, I really had reached the lowest of lows. I gave up all sport, all friendships, all hope. I was in a very bad place.
I don’t want to dwell on that period of my life for too long but thankfully I’ve moved on. To cut a long story short I went back to college, got the grades I needed and come September time I will be moving to Derby in England to study sports journalism. But as is typical with the story of life, nothing is ever easy. Covid has taken centre stage in our lives and everything has ground to a halt. As prep for my uni course, I’ve been writing articles as much as I can. Talking about the NFL and occasionally the XFL and my love for the sport of American Football. The platforms I have been given to produce these articles have been my daily reminder and number one driving force to succeed in this industry. I want to produce high quality, reliable and intriguing content for people to read.
As I speak now I stand face to face with the biggest problem I’ve had to date. How do I practice my trade as a sports journalist when there are no live sports to report on? The answer? Well, it’s tough. I, like many others are feeding off the scraps left to us by the real world and our production is coming mostly through our means of imagination. Many of you will relate when I say that the most fun I (we) have during lockdown is after a few beer and a night spent on the PlayStation with the lads.
The process of writing an article is both time consuming and rewarding, but I love it. I love writing stories which are newly developing or other subjects of which I feel passionate about and I know will resonate with other people. I see myself now as being far past the worst of my darkest days, and now healthily striving on the other side. I’m stretching my legs in a place where I feel comfortable. Not a filling station or an office, but behind my laptop, reporting on the stories I know you want to hear.
When the world as we know it resumes to some sense of normality, I will have to fight for my place again and prove I’m capable of producing high quality content for a worthy platform, and truth be told? I can’t wait. This is everything I have been waiting for since those failed exams in college, so here I am. Ready for the challenge ahead.
I have used this article as a venting method. With the future currently looking so bleak in regards to my profession it’s hard to judge exactly how I should attack it. But with true faith, determination and practice, I know this lockdown won’t have gone to waste. I will have bettered myself compared to those who are entering the same field as me. It is my dream to make a living reporting for the NFL and I will stop at nothing to make sure I get there.
So, what do I do now? Well, I keep writing, I keep producing in the hope that someone sees my work and it takes off to the next level. It’s tough, I know but I am willing to put in the hours and learn my trade so that one day I can become the best at what I do. I am of the heavy assumption that is what everybody at this level strives for? It most certainly is what keeps me going.
From the bottom of my heart, can I just say thank you to everyone who has supported me to this point. Your backing will go further than you ever know and I thank you for that. Thank you for listening to my drunken ramblings and I hope to hear from you all very soon.
Keep safe and thank you,