I did not know what the future would hold in 2020. The pandemic raging on, no baseball season, and I not being able to work because of it. As we turned the page to 2021, I knew my return to the job I have loved doing for the past several years could look different.
But here we are, at the end of another season. A successful one at that, as the Durham Bulls tallied the best record in Triple-A in route to being the inaugural Triple-A East Champions. It has been a kind of strange year, yet, almost familiar. The familiarity of seeing faces I have become accustomed to – both fans and coworkers – as well as watching the team do well on the field.
It’s truly hard to fathom that we are at the end again. It seems the time passed by at lightening speed compared to years prior. I always tell people that you start the season thinking “ugh, we have all these games” and then when it’s over, the realization of the end hits hard.
For me, it has always been the people side of it. Being forced to stay home during the height of the pandemic in 2020 was very hard for me, as it was for many others. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t affect me mentally and emotionally in one way or another. Getting back to a (somewhat) normal routine of working Bulls games in 2021 benefited me immensely. Particularly seeing coworkers who have become my friends throughout my time with the organization. The regular interactions with them will cease with the end of season, too, as we press on. Some of those folks may return while others may not. So go the ebbs and flows of any given offseason.
In any case, it was nice to not only return to the ballpark but also attend our usual end-of-season staff picnic. Just to be there as guests, eat a good meal, and see friends. No pressure of working a game with fans. Plus, it was pretty darn cool to be awarded co-Employee of the Year by my managers and hang out on the field for a bit – even getting to go in the Bulls’ dugout.
Each offseason, I look back and think of how blessed I am. To work in sports – an industry I love – while also continually improving my skill and gaining valuable experience has been incredible. Thoughts also swirl in my head of the future and what that entails. I told someone once that if I had all the money in the world, I would stay at my current job for life (anyone good at picking lottery numbers?). In any case, I have thought a lot lately about how to grow my career. That answer has not arrived yet but, in the meantime, I’m going to soak it in and enjoy every bit of what I’m doing right now.
Cheers to another season in the books!