Sports are an essential part of my everyday life, but baseball and softball especially. As a former player, I have always followed the game closely. Growing up in a family surrounded by baseball is what gave me the desire to want to play.

The game gave me an outlet and something to look forward to every week, especially the weeks ending with a tournament. After seven years of hitting home runs and throwing people out at the plate, it was time to hang up my cleats and focus on my health. When my softball career ended, I was still constantly involved with the sport.

I coached for a team, worked as a scorekeeper for my high school and, of course, watched the NCAA College World Series. Softball will always hold a very special place in my heart ­— reliving the memories of challenging myself to slap the ball over the third baseman or running as fast as I could to steal a base to put myself in scoring position. I had opportunities to challenge myself, but in hindsight, I was helping my team get closer to a win.

If it wasn’t softball on the TV, it was baseball. I began to fall more in love with baseball and the strategies that differ from team to team and game to game — from small ball to sacrifice flys, you name it. The game of baseball is the greatest professional sport out there. The love I have for the game mostly comes from relating to the players on the field and all of the thoughts running through their minds after every pitch, out and inning.

Watching your favorite team get closer and closer to the World Series brings back the feeling of getting closer to winning a tournament. There is so much more to the game than the ability to execute plays and drive in runs to snatch the win —all of the ins and outs of the game, sitting down with a group of friends on a Thursday night to watch a game. Discussing the outcome is what gave me the desire and the motivation to pursue a career as a play-by-play commentator for MLB. If I had the chance to watch and talk about baseball every day, I would never work a day in my life. Being able to relay to the viewers at home what is happening on the field — what could be better than that.

That brings me to where I am now. NAU gives students like me the chance to get out and learn how to report, broadcast and commentate on sports. The skills I have obtained on several different platforms, and having the confidence to try something new, is exciting. Studying what goes into being in the sports media industry is rewarding because I know that in the back of my mind, I am one step closer to my dream job.