A Look Back and the Rise Since

I’m fighting back tears over the air. The real world is just a sign-off away. In 2009, I’ve already graduated and gone back to pushing carts at Shaw’s during the day and broadcasting Cape Cod Baseball League games at night. It sounds like a pretty relaxing summer, but getting to the end of it isn’t exactly fun. What the fuck am I going to do with my life in five minutes, when the final post-game show of the season for the Brewster Whitecaps will be over? I’m trying to get into the commercial break without the ten listeners we have noticing my breakdown.

I don’t want to work in a grocery store forever. I haven’t even been a Customer Service Rep (CSR) yet, as if that’s even something to aspire to as a graduate from a $50,000-a-year university. I wasn’t good enough to land a gig calling affiliated baseball before this season, so I hope what I’ve done this summer is enough. I can’t possibly go back to the Cape League next summer. If I do, it will mean I never made it to an actual full-time job, bagging vegetables or not.

I hold myself to a high standard in broadcasting and many other things in my life too. I’m thorough and professional and all the adjectives you’d use to describe a legitimate up-and-comer in the broadcasting world, just without the actual job to prove it. The summer’s over, the season is done, and I’ve wasted the last eight years of my life, pumping myself up for a job I’ll never get since my first days of high school (after a previous, even more terrifying failure: not getting a single hit in seventh, eighth or ninth grade).

**********

Boy have things changed since then. I signed off for the final time in the 2011-2012 Providence Bruins Hockey season on Sunday, and I’m already anxious for next season to start. I’m lucky I have the upcoming Worcester Tornadoes season to keep me occupied. The jury’s still out on which one I like better, calling hockey or baseball.

For some reason, going off the air after the P-Bruins topped the Portland Pirates at home reminded me of that day two and a half years before. I hope it was only because it was the last game of a season, and not anything else. Things couldn’t be all that much better for me right now as it is.

However, after that last game, when the Whitecaps battled back to tie the Cotuit Kettleers 1-1 to end the game (there are no lights at some CCBL fields), things didn’t immediately get better. I toiled in grocery obscurity for another six-plus months, living in sports vicariously through an unpaid print reporting gig on Merrimack College Hockey. I finally got my first break in March of 2010, when the Hudson Valley Renegades hired me.

Even 14 months ago, things weren’t so peachy. I wasn’t going back to the Renegades, and had only an unpaid, off-air Media Relations Internship with the P-Bruins to my credit. (Maybe I shouldn’t use that term. I didn’t get college credit for any of my internships except for one.) I was living at home on unemployment insurance, but my second break came to my rescue.

I learned of the Tornadoes broadcaster opening only because I heard about it through the P-Bruins. I can safely say I never would have ended up in Worcester for baseball season if I hadn’t “paid my dues,” as everyone in pretty much every competitive industry says. During the following baseball season (last summer), I found out I’d be the broadcaster for all P-Bruins home games, and during hockey season that changed to include all games, home and away.

If I told you things have only gotten better since that last Cape League broadcast, I’d be lying, but since then, I’ve been able to work out of it a few times. I can only imagine how the next break will come when I already have so much going my way.

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3 comments on “A Look Back and the Rise Since

  1. Dan Rowinski
    April 19, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    Your path will continue to rise, young Gagalis. I’ve seen a couple of the undergrads that I was with at BU have some trouble out of the gate (Binckes story is similar to yours) and even I have had a few downs in my many ups. Your talented, you have passion, you know people. Things will only go up. Trust me.

  2. Mike Monteiro
    June 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Hey Nick,

    I’ve bookmarked this post and intend to read it whenever I need some motivation. I intend to be able to pull it up whenever necessary, show people who are important to me or ask me for advice for the rest of my life and say, “this is what people from the neighborhood I grew up in were like”.

    Mike

    • nickgagalis
      June 6, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

      Thanks Mike. I’m glad to hear this post wasn’t just a bunch of emotional jibber-jabber to other people. If you’ll be near Worcester at all this summer, let me know so you can come to a Tornadoes game!

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