$40K and a Beach House On The Line: Barstool vs. America - Season 2 Begins Tonight 7PM ETTUNE IN

A Year Ago Today, My Life Changed

I was running on 4 hours of sleep. I was still on a high from Spencer Turnbull's no-hitter. Then I checked my phone at 7:41 in the morning, and everything changed. 

I figured it wasn't real when I woke up and saw Dave Portnoy in my DM's a year ago today. I figured it was just schmuck trying to get a rise out of me—no need to give it any attention. But I was wrong. That was when we lost all cabin pressure. My life was about to change. In hours, I went from a gas station attendant to a man who had obtained his dream job. Those hours leading up to the announcement still feel like a blur. It was hard to process but impossible to forget. I don't know if I'll ever feel busier than I did at that moment. When Dave sent out the tweet saying I'd been hired, my phone wouldn't stop buzzing, and the emotions wouldn't stop coming.

I was so stunned and overwhelmed by the messages that I sat in the basement in a catatonic state until my mom walked downstairs. There's nothing in the world more awkward than seeing your parents cry, but this is one of those instances in which it was justified. She wrapped her arms around me. She hugged me, and she started to cry. 

"I know this is all you ever wanted." 

She was right. 

I was always the kid with special interests. I was never going to be a star athlete, but I made it. All of twenty-five years old, Chris Castellani saw his life change instantly. I FaceTimed later that night with a friend of mine. We talked. We just talked. I sat in my parent's basement and spoke to my friend. I remember they looked at me, and they were crying. I'd never seen that before. Outside of my immediate family, I never thought that I mattered enough to anyone that I could get to a point where my success could bring one of my friends to tears. I'll never forget that moment. That was the happiest moment of my life. If the world had stopped spinning instantly, I would've died a happy man, because I was eleven years old the first time I thought about killing myself, and fourteen years later, I was finally where I belonged. 

I love it here. I love my bosses. I love my coworkers, and I love the opportunities they've provided me. Everyone I work with has added positivity to my life, and every compliment has touched my heart more than you will ever know. Kindness is the greatest gift of all. Letting someone know that they matter makes life worth living. I've said, "Holy shit, I can't believe I work here," about a thousand times over the last year, and while I've rarely been at the forefront of it, to be a small part of it is so humbling that it's hard to put it into words. I've bookmarked a collection of videos where my coworkers say nice things about me, and if I feel like shit and my OCD is spiraling out of control, I watch them to cheer myself up. 

There isn't a cooler collection of passionate fans than the Stoolies. I'm so lucky to represent you. I feel like I matter at Barstool, but I'm also incredibly difficult on myself. I want to be perfect, and I want to do more. I hope I'm able to carve that path out for myself. I want to be so much more than just the Tigers guy, which isn't easy when you're in your head. Sometimes things get very frustrating, but I'll never stop being grateful that I'm at this company.

Everyone wants to believe that there's a light at the end of the tunnel, that there's a magic pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that's going to make you feel better. That's not the case. I still have a lot of bad days. I'm still as unsure and as scared as ever. Maybe one-day things are going to click. Maybe one day, I'll see in myself what all of you see in me. That would be a fantastic day. I hope one day the intrusive thoughts will escape me, and I can be free. I've never met a confident Chris Castellani, but I hope I get to one day. I've learned over this last year that progression is not linear. Happiness is not instantaneous. It's a journey, and as much as I hate the struggle, I'm willing to accept that there's beauty in it. There's beauty in pain, and there's beauty in Barstool. 

There is nowhere else in the world that I would rather be.