I recently came across a quote that resonated and helped sum up my approach to writing in this space of late.
It’s from Jim Rohn, the late entrepreneur who began as a stock boy at Sears in the 50’s and made himself into one of the most prominent businessmen and speakers of our time thanks to his “7 strategies” book, where one chapter focuses on the day your life turns around and the steps leading up to that point. And that’s where Rohn’s quote comes into play:
“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.”
It’s one of those words that as we get older starts to haunt us more than losing time itself. Or at least that’s one way to look at it. The other way takes a step of action and is rooted in change. And along with words like “regret”, “change” is an equally scary word for many of us. Guilty.
Over the last 13 years, I’ve fallen in love with change with the hope of fending off regret along the way and that journey really started back when I was living in New York City and had just started covering the NBA as a writer in New York with HOOPSWORLD. Recently married, a Manhattan transplant, working a regular 7-4 job at Pottery Barn in SoHo and covering the Knicks and New Jersey Nets at either MSG or busing over to East Rutherford to do interviews, break down the game, write, write and write and pray along the way that I didn’t miss the train home. Thanks to the support of an encouraging wife and newborn, I not once regretted the long hours of “honing my craft” for three years without cutting a check. The experience of by-lines, radio and TV spots and building life-long relationships was all the currency I needed.
That approach remained the same moving forward and as the opportunity to return to Portland presented itself. And while I broke away from HOOPSWORLD (now Basketball Insiders, so much respect for those guys over there still grinding away), those four years on the Blazers were some of the most I’ve had around the game. Memorable teams, talented group of writers to learn and laugh with and thankful for the players, coaches, media members, photographers, Blazers game day and event staff and fans I met along the way. Those four years were also some of my favorite times production wise as a freelance writer. Along with the Blazers and NBA, I was covering any game in town for the large part. Everything from minor league baseball, Division 3 football, to girls high school basketball and racked up by-lines on the local and national level, from the Oregonian, Vancouver Columbian, SLAM Magazine, ESPN.com, NBA.com, Fox Sports and USA Today among others. Heck, I even wrote a re-occurring column for a monthly parenting magazine in Portland about the life of juggling diapers and deadlines as a stay at home writer.
I loved writing. Still do.
And while a life living in Europe for four years and moving close to the game working for a pro basketball team, sports agency and even coaching high school basketball at an international school in Germany was nowhere in my thought process, a window of regret started to open.
I felt that breeze the last few months.
If anyone remembers me rolling out a blog called, “Beyond The Beat” — an inside look at the story within the story as a writer covering sports — then chances are you’ve been down from day one or at least someone I should be thanking at this time after launching that site back in late 2009. I was fortunate to form a working relationship with Derek Hanson who was designing a group of sports sites for his blog network (Bloguin) and “Beyond The Beat” helped shoulder the load on this start-up roster. As readership grew large in part to me shamelessly plugging and pushing my work on the site, I started receiving emails from readers who were interested in contributing to the site. I liked the idea. Coming from a non-traditional journalism background, I wanted to provide a platform for younger and/or even experienced writers to have a voice on a local level around sports in order to hopefully make some national noise about what Oregon had to offer sports wise.
I brought on writers to cover sports across the board — Oregon, Oregon State, the University of Portland, Portland State (Go Vikings!), the Portland Beavers (rip), you name it. If it was sports in Oregon on the professional or college level, I wanted writers there to break it down, develop a voice and keep pushing out newsworthy content. Writers gained experience and a built in network and that time allowed me to grow as an editor. Super fun time that was gaining momentum.
And then it was over.
Once moving overseas became my reality, everything else got put on hold. I shut the site and coverage down. Shouldn’t have done it. And while I ended up traveling around Europe writing and putting in a concentrated effort to remain relevant in a business with a crazy amount of turnover if you don’t promote the shit out yourself, slamming the door on my labor of love was one of my regrets work-wise.
One of my goals in returning to the States last year was to re-package the idea of Beyond The Beat and take my experiences working in and around the business of sports the past 13 years to help others — individuals and businesses alike — develop and grow “their brand” through building and telling their story in unique ways. Delving head first into a consulting role felt right. The timing. The energy and time management. My weird sleep patterns. And more importantly, the desire to bring these projects together — from my work with Scorers 1st, Full Court Peace, Champions League, partnering with NBA shooting coach John Townsend and also being available for other opportunities where I can help and lend value based on my experience, work ethic and the mentality of simply bringing a vision to life and watching it mature.
Always looking to partner on projects together.
That’s really when Wendell Maxey Consulting was born, thanks to the help once again of Derek Hanson and most recently the new launch of The Sports Daily, which I’m excited to be a part of in partnership with NESN.
Coming up on one year since the site launched, I’m hopeful to keep adding value, insight, education and information from around the business of sports through my own projects I’m grateful to be a part of and a number of contributing writers who have already done great work in sharing their experience and story.
Stoked for some upcoming content and partnerships that are in the fold. You’ll end up finding everything from original stories, inside info, growing trends in sports business and meeting both emerging and key players around the industry today.
But there’s one thing you won’t find here.
*photo by bruce ely
If you work in sports, the sports industry or call sports business your profession, I want to hear from you. From those just starting to those with experience, throw questions or comments my way and let me know if I can be of help. Thank you.