Mar
16
2014
Ode to WUP’s fifth birthday: The journey
By Stephanie Wei under General
WUP technically turned 5 yesterday. In celebration of this big anniversary, I decided to write a bit about the wonderful journey I embarked on five years ago… As always, thank you, readers, for your support and encouragement. A big shout-out to the detractors, as well, for lighting an even greater fire under me to succeed — I wouldn’t be here without all of you. 
Stephanie Wei Nike
Just over five years ago, I was channel surfing when something on Golf Channel caught my eye and I stopped to watch for a bit. I saw Steve Sands interviewing a player. I saw Nick Faldo in the announcer booth. I saw a bunch of pros hit some good golf shots. I didn’t see any women on the coverage.
“All I see are white males,” I thought to myself. “Why isn’t there more diversity? Maybe I can change that. I played golf at the highest level in the junior ranks and in college (though not very well). I know the game. I like talking to people.

“I want a job like Steve Sands’. How do I make that happen? I have no idea, but I’m going to figure it out.”

 

 

I’m pretty sure everyone thought I was crazy. My parents definitely didn’t understand it (“Go to grad school!” — Oh, I still hear that every few months). My friends mostly feigned some version of encouragement, but enough were genuinely supportive, and believed that I could create something out of nothing. After all, we were embarking on a tech/soclal media revolution, where the makeup of journalism was rapidly changing and using tools like Twitter were becoming part of the job requirement.

I know Rachelle Hruska believed. Rachelle, the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of GuestofaGuest.com, is essentially the main reason I’m where I am today. Five or six summers ago she was launching a Hamptons edition of her site. She “forced” me to accompany her out east almost every weekend and it wasn’t long before she had me start writing for her. In other words, she taught me how to blog.

Prior to Rachelle’s encouragement, I was scared shitless of letting anyone read *anything* I’d written. I was never that kid in class who raised her hand to share. Instead, I was the one who cowered with fear.

And look where we are now.

Five years later, I’ve come a long way — probably further than I’d ever give myself credit for — but I do realize I’ve achieved something with the odds very much against me. And I should be proud. In fact, I am thrilled. Thing is, it’s that insatiable feeling for success, for more, for reaching the next level that keeps me from stopping to appreciate the growth steps of my journey.

I don’t quite have the same job as Steve Sands yet, but I am freelancing for Fox Sports International as an on-air correspondent (yes, I’ll be broadcasting at The Masters!), so at least I’m trending in the right direction.

Often my penchant for perpetual introspective self-analysis gets to be a bit over the top — to the extent where I tend to drive myself a little nuts over the choices I’ve made or haven’t, the decisions I’ve made or haven’t, and the uncertainty of my convictions.

Over the last few years, I’ve learned I can’t obsess over these what ifs — not to say that I don’t still, but, you know, it’s a process.

Now I know I have what many of you believe to be “the best job in the world,” and I’m not contesting that — I am incredibly fortunate and appreciative of what I have (and those people who have helped me along the way), but it hasn’t been as easy as it’s seemed from afar.

Point is, the whole “making it” thing involves so much sacrifice, drama, punches in the face, shady characters, countless letdowns, constant rejection and worst of all, the seemingly perpetual state of uncertainty. In other words, it’s freaking hard. However, the little wins you get here and there — no matter how minor — are always as gratifying and exhilarating as seeing your byline published in a mainstream publication for the first time.

(Photo by Mike Altobello)