I love my job.
I really do. Think about it.
I'm one of the lucky sports fans in this country who gets paid to travel around, writing stories and doing radio commentary on events I'd likely be watching on television anyway. Not a bad way to make a living, even if my wife is jealous.
Like any job, it has its peaks and valleys.
The travel can get a little weary at times, especially with a family. The odd hours do interrupt your sleep pattern from time to time. But overall, I know I'm a lucky guy and that there are thousands upon thousands of folks who would trade places with me in a heartbeat.
But I wouldn't make the trade. This job, especially since taking the freelance route three years ago, is so little like work it's unbelievable. That's how much fun I have.
I would know. I spent a summer digging ditches. That was way too much like work.
Probably the single most important lesson I learned about media life came early in my first newspaper job, when it became apparent that everyone wasn't going to be overjoyed with everything I wrote - especially when there was an opinion attached.
Doing small town radio four years prior, focusing on just the local high school team, sort of insulated me from much in the way of criticism. So the first time I got a letter in the mail (in the days before email. Remember those?) challenging the fact that my parents were ever married, it was quite a shock to the system.
But thanks to the guiding hand of my first editor, the late Wally Warden, I soon learned that no matter what I write - or say on the radio - somebody is going to come away upset. It's something all members of the media go through, and it's our special little cross to bear.
No one - including me - questions the right of the fan to voice an opinion of my work. In my mind it comes as part of the job description (though I must admit that one of the early ways I worked through the learning process was to close my eyes and envision myself bursting into a local businessman's office, stand behind him while he was at his desk, and loudly question everything from his accounting practices to his dandruff shampoo. Fortunately, I resisted the temptation).
Covering Clemson for six years now has been a good case study for the whole experience.
The emails roll in daily - some calling me a Clemson homer, others accusing me of being anti-Clemson. And the way I figure it, that's probably the best sign I've achieved the objectivity I strive for each day.
Covering Clemson for a living, broadcasting on the Clemson flagship station and writing for a Clemson newspaper and website automatically paints me orange in the eyes of some. But such is the luck of the draw.
Had we been transferred to Columbia six years ago instead of the Upstate, the whole situation could have been reversed.
As it happens, I'm glad things turned out the way they did.
After all, where else could a West Virginia fan and native who came to the Upstate by way of Cincinnati after tours in North Carolina and Florida walk into the opportunities I've been afforded here?
As I said, I love my job. And more importantly, with each day that goes by the Upstate becomes a little more like home.
Much to the chagrin of some, I'm sure.
But that's their little cross to bear.
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger and TigerNet. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.