“For all of you out there, there’s an old cliché: Go out on a limb—that’s where all the fruit is.”
I listened to Colin Cowherd say this years ago, right after he left ESPN to work at Fox Sports. As an aspiring sports broadcaster, I’ve always loved watching Cowherd, but I never bought that dumb saying. However, it’s turned out to be a saying that’s defined much of my life.
My family moved around a bit when I was young, but when I was six, my parents settled us down in Horsham, Pennsylvania. I loved Horsham. It was the first place I lived where I could make friends with neighbors, classmates, and not fear having to leave them in a few months. I was able to create a life for myself, and it was a life that was very comfortable.
Then in middle school, my parents’ marriage started to fail. In the 8th grade, my father told me he was moving to Charleston, South Carolina because he’d accepted a teaching job there. He also told me the time had come for him and my mother to split. Where I fit into this whole mess, he said, was my decision.
Because of the timing of my parents’ divorce, I was given the choice of where I wanted to live. If I wanted to live in Pennsylvania, my mom would stay with me. If I wanted to live in Charleston, she would follow me down and find a place of her own. My parents knew how much I loved my life in Horsham, so they gave me the option to keep it. As a 14-year-old, I had to make a decision that would severely impact my future, and my family.
I decided to go down to Charleston. I knew I’d have to start over, and while it was difficult to adjust at first, I can’t tell you how much I learned from that experience. I learned how to get involved. I learned how to interact and connect with people of completely different backgrounds. And I learned that treating people with respect and being true to yourself can go a long way wherever you are. I loved those four years in Charleston because they allowed me to grow. I wouldn’t be in the position I am today if it weren’t for my time there—if it weren’t for getting uncomfortable and tackling challenges head on.
Today, I’m at my dream school. I’m covering the sports teams I’ve grown up rooting for. Last year, I got to be a few feet away from James Franklin during his press conference for the Ohio State game; I couldn’t even imagine being in that moment four years ago. And you know what Coach Franklin said in that press conference?
“You only grow in life when you’re uncomfortable.” I thought that was very fitting.
I believe in taking risks. I believe in challenging yourself. How else can you get to the fruit?
Connor Griffin is sophomore at Penn State studying journalism with an emphasis on sports broadcasting.