It was Wednesday, April 26.
I woke up, opened the window, and was greeted with grey skies and a somber atmosphere, an omen for the next moments.
I check my phone, Twitter of course, and Ed Werder announces that he's been laid off by ESPN.
For the next several hours I'm continually refreshing my feed, surveying the landscape for any ESPN lay-off listing I could find. Today was the day when more than 100 ESPN personalities were scheduled to be let go by the Worldwide Leader. It’s now publicly shifting it’s business model, and shaking up the industry as we know it. An industry where I'm still trying to find my footing, having started out not very long ago, but more on that later...
Among the ESPN lay-offs were many outstanding journalists.
No, really, among the best of the best, like Werder, Marc Stein, Ethan Strauss, Jane McManus, Chad Ford, etc...
It was one of those things where, no matter how confident you are in yourself (and if you really know me, I am), you have to be shaken to some degree, and a slither of doubt creeps into your mind, wanted or not.
Who the hell am I anyway? What am I doing?
I ran a blog, Bryanfonseca.Sportsblog.com, beginning in May of 2013, but really started reporting sports for SFC Today in September, 2014, the student newspaper of St. Francis Brooklyn where I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Digital Media in May, 2016.
That's where my "career" (still feels weird using that word at 23) began. My guys Robert DeVita and Akeem Nelson graduated in that spring of 2015, and then I assumed Sports Editor duties, and held it down for a year.
Over the last 22 months I've worked at CBS Sports, the US Open, SFC Today, St. Francis Brooklyn Athletics, the Queens Ledger-Brooklyn Star, Backpack Broadcasting and NetsDaily. I'm still working with latter four right now, and many times that'll mean that I'm working seven days per week.
Nothing unfamiliar to other media types I'm sure.
In my first year with the Queens Ledger-Brooklyn Star, I earned two New York Press Association nominations; Sports Writer of the Year, and Sports Feature of the Year. I'm very competitive, and missing out on both awards sucked, even if it was only the first entry. Then Black Wednesday at ESPN happens and it puts everything into perspective.
I looked at ESPN lay-offs, the direction of the industry, and fiddled with a few different thoughts, like I'm sure that plenty of others in my position would, and ultimately did.
"Is this really happening? Should I re-think my career path? Do I need to start hot taking everywhere? Would I be better off as an S.I.D. (Sports Information Director) instead?"
Then following my brief moment of disarray, I gathered myself.
"Get outta hea..."
I've always been the guy to say to people; 'go after what you love, and because you love that thing you do, you'll put in ten times the effort, and the money will come.'
Nothing different from what I've been told by multiple mentors who've been in my kicks early in their careers.
In all seriousness, I hope that everyone rebounds, back and better than ever, and return to elevating the industry, and themselves, in any way possible.
What we witnessed last week was discouraging, and I keep reading that this is only the beginning. But I've also come across 'hope,' which triggers optimism and comfort.
Everyone says sports media is difficult. Hell, life is difficult - I've seen it for myself.
Ladies and gentlemen like me, we have a long way to go, and a lot of work to do before ever (if ever) reaching that point.
But to the people that have, laid off or still on, thank you for inspiring the rest of us. This industry is not dead, it's just changing, and in the long-run, we'll see that it's for the better.
I really believe that.
Y'all give newcomers like me hope, so here's to hoping that your best is yet to come.
...And hopefully, I'll see you there, one day.