What the #YPSportsChat Has Taught Me

By: Jeff DeBaldo, @jdebaldo

When I first heard about Twitter I never thought in my wildest imagination that I would join the community. I didn’t think I had anything worth sharing and I thought the premise of the application was questionable to be honest.

However, I finally relented and gave Twitter a chance. In the five years since, I have come to enjoy the ability to interact with people from all over the world. It was sometime in the spring when I first found out about the #YPSportsChat and I am very glad I did I gave it a chance. While I have only been actively participating in the #YPSportsChat for a few months it has nonetheless taught me a great deal.

Compassionate Competition

#YPSportsChat has taught me that compassion and competition are not mutually exclusive. The sports industry is perhaps one of the most competitive industries today. Athletes, teams and sports organizations consistently look for an edge over their competition. It seems like there is no room for compassion. #YPSportsChat proves there is room for both.

There is probably a great chance that some of my chat colleagues may one day be competing against me for the same job. However, this has not kept them from being friendly, engaging, and encouraging during our weekly chats.

Throughout all of my #YPSportsChat discussions, I have never once felt looked down on because I am between jobs. I have been welcomed with open arms by everyone. I’ve even received a personally mailed thank you note for from #YPSportsChat co-founder Katie Prchlik just for participating after my first chat. This is compassion embodied. I can go on and on with examples but I think you get the idea.

Digital Networking

Anyone who works in the sports industry knows that it is often, “not what you know but who you know.” Networking is very important in every industry but it seems even more important in this industry. Through #YPSportsChat, I’ve learned that digital networking is and appropriate form of networking. Admittedly, prior to my chat participations, I was very skeptical of digital networking.

Let me be among the first to admit that digital networking certainly has a place given our tech savvy society. Earlier in the summer it was wonderful hearing about the plans of chat participants to meet in person at conventions like CoSIDA, NACDA, NACWA, and many others. It showed me that people understand the importance of staying on top of industry trends and meeting face-to-face to help expand their professional network.

Constructing Confidence

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the #YPSportsChat has helped teach me the importance of constructing your own confidence. Going through a job search is not the most fun thing to do. The longer a job search goes the more it can chip away at your confidence, as this current job search has done to me.

I took a chance participating in my first chat and from the moment I was greeted by others, I could tell that I was beginning to reconstruct my confidence in being able to find my next job in the sports field. The conversations I’ve had have shown me that I should not have lost confidence in my abilities. Every participant strives to build others up rather than tearing them down. Having conversations with others I may not normally communicate with has made me think about my views on industry topics and that has actually helped increase my confidence as well.

I am very thankful I learned about #YPSportsChat. I have cherished each and every chat and I look forward to learning even more in the coming weeks and months.