Today marked my final day as an employee at Arizona State University and as a full-time college athletics SID.
Even knowing for months that this was going to happen, that was a REALLY weird sentence to type.
I’ve been in this field since 2008 (many thanks to those in the University of Arizona’s media relations department at the time for hiring me as a student intern on the virtue of a three-email conversation), and I decided I wanted to be a full-time SID in the Pac-12 when I was a sophomore. In October 2013, I reached that goal, and that was super surreal.
I got thrown right into the Arizona State volleyball season and after not even two months on the job, I got to go to Hawaii. For the second time in one year. That was awesome, and I still can’t forget the macadamia nut crusted mahi-mahi I had in UH’s hospitality room.
Obviously college sports isn’t all sunshine and trips to Waikiki, but I wouldn’t trade my experiences at Arizona, UAB, or ASU, even the tough ones, for anything. I learned just as much from those difficult times than I did from the fun ones.
For a long time I thought being an SID and working in media relations was the only thing I knew how to do, and it’s obviously a great thing to know how to do. I spent so many years building my network, and let’s be real, I studied poetry and Japanese culture in college, what am I supposed to do with that?
But then I went to Alabama in 2015 to see some friends (shout out to UAB Softball and #Team14), spent some time out on Lake Martin, and was inspired to write a novel about a cranky, amnesiac alien who accidentally ended up becoming a superhero for a weird little town in the middle of nowhere.
And I’ve been working on that book and the series it’s spawned in my non-existent spare time ever since.
Not to toot my own horn, but it’s really cool.
Now I’ve reached the point where I feel that I can no longer balance my responsibilities working in college athletics with my desires to make this book and the nine to eleven others (yes, that many) in its series as amazing as it deserves to be.
To neglect one in favor of the other would be a disservice to both.
College athletics, specifically the sports I worked with, the ones that don’t end up on primetime television or generate revenue for the department, deserve someone who can put all their effort into promoting their program, so I’m stepping back into the role of a college sports fan and I have no doubt that SDA will find someone awesome to fill my position.
(And if someone can remind me what it means to be a fan, let me know. It’s been like a decade).
I know there are people out there who think that deciding to just leave my salaried, benefits-providing job is crazy, and they’re NOT wrong. This is crazy and it’s going to be awesome.
Someone I knew in college once called me stubborn.
I decided to take it as a compliment, because it’s not like he was wrong.
Yes, it’s really hard to be successful in publishing. I’ve been researching that for months and that’s the overarching theme, but I’m going to make it happen, because I decided it’s going to happen. It’ll either happen on the timeline I have in mind, and I’ll start getting questions about who Talya Nightingale really is within two years, or it’ll happen eventually.
But eventually has to happen sometime.
Also yes, I know I used the word ‘happen” five times in three sentences. It’s thematic.
I’m a writer. Trust me, it works.
And if you’ve gotten this far in my word vomit, you must realize that you’ve taken a trip down the Internet to my little corner, TheFakeRedhead.com. That’s me, the fake redhead, and I write.
(For those who haven’t seen me in a while, I started dying my hair in varying shades of ‘dark’ and ‘red’ before my birthday, when I discovered some grays. Or, as one of my favorite people on the planet says, glitter is starting to sprout from of my head.)
I’ll be chronicling my life as a freelance writer, editor, and transcriptionist (gotta make rent, yo), along with my probably-lengthy journey to becoming a published novelist here. Plus, it’ll be another repository for pictures of nature and my cat. And some other pieces of original short fiction, like my current on-running series, You Will Find Your Way.
So to everyone I’ve worked with the last nine years in athletics, thanks for being awesome and for teaching me what it takes to be successful in this weird, ever-changing field. And to each and every one of my student-athletes that I worked with, I hope you’ve learned from me as must as I’ve learned from you.
Specifically to everyone I work with at SDA, I’ll see you on Tuesday. You’re not getting rid of me that easily.
Thanks friends, and Happy New Year!