My Favorite Team is in the Super Bowl and I’m Having Major FOMO

It’s hard to say when my career started.

In high school, I ran the school paper (an All-KEMPA school paper, at that) and blogged about fantasy baseball.

In college, I hosted multiple podcasts. My writing was featured on ESPN.com. I ran digital media for a professional hockey team. Someone actually paid me (three times!) to provide color commentary for high school baseball and softball games on television.

Seriously … who thought it was a good idea to put me on TV?

From there, I took on a paid marketing internship with the Tampa Bay Rays and that same boss (sup, BK?) hired me to manage social media for his new squad, the St. Louis Rams (I’ve written about my hesitations heading into this role in the past). I was 21 and somehow responsible for representing the organization to hundreds of thousands of fans all over the world on a daily basis.

Rams legends (from left to right): Kevin Orris, Jack Youngblood, and Chris Long

The job was often a blast. I had little oversight and was not just allowed, but encouraged to try new things. On the field, we had nowhere to go but up. Five weeks into my first season, we had “stacked dubs” after a primetime win against a division rival and a record above .500 for the first time in forever. Things couldn’t have been better.

Like most millennials, I was drowning in FOMO. I had my phone(s) on me at all times. I received instant alerts when players or staff tweeted. And then came the downside.

Running social media for a sports team in 2012 was all about equipping players (perhaps half had accounts), comparing metrics (you can imagine where the Rams ranked amongst NFL teams, having recorded the worst five-year stretch of any NFL team in history prior to my arrival), and posting way too much sponsored content. Worst of all — and it’s not even close — was educating a front office of people who didn’t grow up with social media about the overwhelming benefits and dangers of instant communication.

In my three seasons with the team, we had players invite their followers to a club party immediately after a loss, one who Vine’d a woman in a shower, and worst of all, one who shared a very NSFW video on his Instagram during the NFL Draft. With each incident came a long talk with higher-ups and increased pressure to digitally babysit the roster. My FOMO was no longer seeing what friends or family posted, rather, it was FOMO that if I didn’t catch a player’s immature mistake fast enough, I’d be held accountable.

Were my fears irrational and in my head? Absolutely. But those fears only added to the pressure that everything I posted from team accounts wasn’t on my behalf, but that of a legendary franchise, the players, coaches, a large front office, and a bevy of fans. My history of anxiety didn’t help.

That was pretty great.

By the grace of God, a media relations opportunity opened with the Chicago Blackhawks. We (well, the players) won the Stanley Cup in my first season. It was a dream come true and to that point, the best day of my life (my one-year anniversary with my fiancé is tomorrow, so move over sports). But as I distanced myself from my role with the Rams, things changed.

In the years that followed, the Rams relocated to Los Angeles, struggled on the field, and eventually made some coaching changes I strongly agreed with. My love for the team ballooned. I can count the number of games I’ve missed as a fan on one hand.

It’s been more than four years since I left One Rams Way. Most of my friends with the team have moved on. The coaches and roster have almost entirely turned over. Even the logo has been modified. I’ve lifted trophies with two other organizations.

Yet my nostalgic passion for the Rams outweighs all of my sports loyalties combined.

Next week marks one year since I left sports to start my own business. It’s been a great year. I’ve led some really cool projects, many of which haven’t been released yet. I’ve met and gotten engaged to the love of my life. We’re dreaming big dreams. Things are really good.

But truthfully it’s been a difficult couple of weeks.

First, I saw all of four minutes of the NFC Championship Game. I was in church for the entire second half and overtime, only to learn of the win from an onslaught of text messages after the service. The euphoria of advancing to the Super Bowl has been mostly lost on me.

But then came the realization I could’ve been there. I could be the one running digital for team everyone’s rooting for in the Super Bowl. And suddenly a new type of FOMO set in: one of jealousy and lament. It’d be pretty cool to be in Atlanta knowing I’d have worked for years to get there. Instead, I’m alone in a coffee shop 700 miles away, writing about how sweet that’d be.

Despite that ugly truth I’ve humanly battled, a greater truth has emerged as I’ve meditated, journaled, and prayed over these thoughts this week.

I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

I’m grateful for seasons. I wouldn’t trade this one for anything.

If I never left the Rams, I wouldn’t have a Stanley Cup ring. If I didn’t leave the Blackhawks, I wouldn’t have fulfilled a lifelong dream of working for U.S. Soccer. And most important, if I hadn’t left U.S. Soccer, I wouldn’t have grown immensely closer to God, met my future wife, and started my own business.

Everything comes with a cost. Staying with the Rams would’ve required a king’s ransom. No scenario would have been worth it. I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

So tomorrow night, I’m going to watch the game with family and cheer for the Rams. I’ll wear a t-shirt or something. My pressbox-conditioned self won’t scream or shout, but I’ll hoot and holler in my head. I’ll eat an unhealthy amount of unhealthy food. It’s going to be just as it should be.

As for my friends in Atlanta, I hope for the best for you and the team. I hope you’re wearing champagne-soaked hats and shirts tomorrow night. I hope you experience the joy I did when the Hawks won in 2015. I hope it’s all been worth it. I’m proud of you.

As a fan, thanks to those who’ve stuck it out. To those who’ve turned this thing around. To those who’ve helped me remember my part in all of this.

I can’t wait for tomorrow.

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Living the dream.

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