A critical key to a great sportscasting career

There are a million clichés about patience – patience is a virtue, good things come to those who wait, etc. The reason there are so many clichés about patience is because so few of us have it, especially when it comes to our sports broadcasting careers.

Believe me – I’ve lived it.

patience and timing

I was ten years out of college when I finally achieved my big break – hosting Weekend AllNight on ESPN Radio. I was 12 years out of school when I finally joined the college football play-by-play roster of a TV network — The Football Network (which went belly-up after one season).

Careers do not progress as quickly as we want them to. Do you know what Vince Lombardi, arguably the greatest NFL coach in history, was doing at age 38? He was coaching high school football.

There is no such thing as an overnight success. Years of hard work are endured in anonymity before a star is introduced to the public.

Sportscasting careers are like any other careers — they rarely unfold on our preferred timeline. Careers take longer than we want because there is experience and wisdom that needs to be gained. Still, impatience is understandable and common in our industry.

An STAA member recently sent this email to me:

“I know I feel like I’m ready to move up the ladder, but the fact is that I simply don’t have that much experience yet. I’m just now entering my third year of post-graduate employment. Sometimes it is frustrating for me to feel like I’m ‘stuck’ where I am for a few more years. That doesn’t mean that I don’t value the opportunity to work and do games where I do, but I’m sure it’s frustrating for others as well who feel like they’re ready but need more experience.”

Does that resonate with you? When reading that email, two thoughts come to mind:

  1. You are not stuck; you are growing. Every day you spend doing your best in your current job moves you one day closer to your dream job.
  2. We don’t decide if we are ready. The job market does. When you are ready, you will get hired.

It takes an average of 10 years in sports broadcasting before a person is able to earn a comfortable living.

The people who make it to the top are often not the most talented.

They are the most patient.


  1. Travis

    Great post…I needed to read that!

    • Jon Chelesnik

      Thank you Travis. I appreciate you reading the blog, and I especially appreciate you sharing your comment. Thank you so much. If you ever need a pep talk, feel free to call me at STAA.

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