Best Of 2021: My Week At HQ: The Most Nerve-wracking, Scary, And Rewarding Week Of My Life

It was weird. 

It was all so, so weird. 

You spend years preparing and trying to imagine how you’re going to conduct yourself, what you’re going to wear, and how you’re going to look when you get to HQ. Then all the sudden, you just find yourself there, sitting at desk, surrounded by a bunch of people you've seen online for years. It’s like being inside the television screen. One day at some point I’m going to come to appreciate everything that went down this week and everything that’s gone down over the last several months. But for the time being, it all kind of feels like a blur. I don’t remember a whole lot from my NYC trip to be honest. I remember getting an extra day in New York (thank you very much Spirit airlines for your incredible incompetence), I remember putting on the performance of my life in a game of trivia. I remember being nervous as shit on The Rundown. I remember Kevin Clancy handing me a much needed Miller Lite before filming Friday Night Pints. But one thing I remember most is how nice everybody was. I guess I’m just kind of not used to that. I’ve never had the luxury of many friends. I don’t really know what it means to be in the “in” crowd. I was never the popular kid in high school or college. I’ve always just been me. It’s been me and my weird brain and my baseball and my movies. I’m a very simple guy. And Barstool Sports is not exactly simple place. There’s a lot of different personalities and moving parts. Internally, it felt very chaotic, even if it wasn’t. I just know that it was an amazing week and one day somewhere down the line I’ll find a way to appreciate it. I don't know when that will be. Maybe it will be when I'm 45 sitting on the back porch with my wife and kids, but I hope to soak it in some day.

It’s been an overwhelming process. Professionally, it’s been the single greatest heater of my life and I don’t know if anything will ever top it unless of course the Tigers win the World Series one day. But personally, I don’t feel any different really. It just seems like I have a lot more people paying attention to me. I get these tweets on social media saying “Thank you for representing Detroit.” “Thank you for what you’re doing for this fan base” and I just feel baffled by that. For one, I’m not even from Detroit. Yeah, I love Detroit sports, but I was working at a gas station 3 months ago. I don’t really know how to represent anything other than myself. I’ve never learned how to be anything other than me. If I knew how to be somebody else, I would’ve done it years ago. It would’ve made my life a lot easier growing up. But I’m glad I never learned how to be anyone else. Because only me could’ve gotten this job. 

The one thing I learned about myself at a young age is that I come with a level of general weirdness. I mean really, how do you think I knew all those answers on The Dozen? I’m not a complete outcast or anything, but my brain is wired just a little bit differently than other peoples. I think the big failure that so many other companies don’t understand about Barstool is that when Barstool sees general weirdness, they view that as a strength. So many others view it as a weakness. People can spend their entire life trying to defame Barstool and everything they stand for, but the fact is there’s no other company in sports media that has the balls to acquire more talented misfits the Barstool does. I’m proud to be one of those misfits. 

My life has changed. It’s changed for the better. It hasn’t cured me of my afflictions. It hasn’t bought me happiness or self contentment, but Barstool has made me a part of something, and outside of 4 years of varsity high school tennis for a Division 4 program, I can honestly say I’ve never really been a part of something before. It sometimes gets easy to be caught up in what you can’t be. When that happens, it becomes impossible to know who you are. I think it’s safe to say I’ll never be 6 foot 4. I’ll never wake up in a mansion with 2 supermodels in bed with me. I'll never be Casanova. I just don't have that kind of confidence. This whole week was about proving that I belonged with the big guns. I didn't want to be a fluke. I wanted to belong. I do. And I never want to work anywhere else.

On a personal level, I want to extend my gratitude to the Barstool community for welcoming me the way you have and for all the kind things that you’ve said about me this week on The Rundown, on The Dozen, and on Friday Night Pints. I struggle very often with accepting that I deserve good things. I have a hard time accepting compliments. I spend a heavy majority of my life waiting for things to go sideways again. I read all these compliments by people saying that they’re happy for me or that I deserve this and it’s just strange. Do I deserve this? What makes me different than anybody else? I’ve had my fair share of fuck ups. I’ve never been a perfect person. And I’m 26 years old. I’m still figuring out what I’m doing with this job and with my life. Getting a job this awesome doesn’t guarantee you internal peace. I still have a lot of growing to do, and there’s nowhere else I’d rather grow than right here at Barstool. My job. My home.