The Road Not Taken

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

One of the most famous poems by Robert Frost is “The Road Not Taken”.  It is about coming to two roads in the woods and trying to decide which one to take – the more conventional one or the road less traveled. In other words, in life we often face many choices, not knowing the consequences until the choice is made.

Last week, I told you how I started working in this business for the first time. I was teaching English at Wilson High School when I took on the TV role of color analyst for basketball on a part-time basis for Twin-County. It was a great second job. I made the promise to myself that I would never let announcing interfere with teaching and always stuck to that promise. I prepared my lessons, returned tests and papers on time, and looked out for my students.

It was not always easy to do both, having to gather pre-game information from coaches, newspapers, and, without computers back then, writing lineups out every single time for every single game. But because both jobs were labors of love, I was willing to do what needed to be done.

About 25 years ago, I heard about a job in the Pennridge School District that I was qualified for –English Curriculum Coordinator. Pennridge had been looking to fill this position for two years. They had trouble finding educators with the proper degrees. I had the degrees – a Master’s degree in English and a Master’s degree in Education Administration. Many people had one of the degrees; few had both.

My primary reason for applying was not to get out of teaching, but to raise my salary so my retirement pension would increase somewhat dramatically. It was strictly an economic move. I was not proud of the motive.  However, I gave my four weeks’ notice to my current district and prepared for my departure.  However, fate burst in again. The cable television company, C-Tec at the time, was negotiating with the minor league baseball team, The Ambassadors, and with Lafayette College to broadcast their games. I was the primary negotiator with the company’s blessing and we were able to bring both aboard. That was the good news. The bad news was I could not promise my availability if I took on this new job.

After three weeks had passed, both contracts were in place. With adding more responsibility to doing high school sports, I mentioned to C-Tec management that it might be to their advantage to hire me full-time as a sports director so that I could guarantee my presence at the broadcasts. Knowing that this would completely take me out of education, I told them what I needed to accept the position. Time was of the essence – the following Wednesday, six days later, I was to begin working for Pennridge.

That Monday, I was broadcasting the District XI tennis championships when the director said into my headset that C-Tec called to tell me that I got what I asked for. I could not respond, nor ask a question, since I was on the air. Following the match, I rushed to the truck to get the information. All the director knew was that I was to stop in the office the next day to work out all the details, but, in essence, the job was mine. More importantly, my family supported the move.

Following the Tuesday meeting, it became official. The problem, however, was that Pennridge was expecting me to report to work for them the next day. Remember, this was a job that they had been unable to fill for two years!

As soon as I got home, I made the call to Pennridge that I would not be coming to work for them. I explained what had transpired, but the gentleman on the other end was, rightfully, very, very angry. I was “chewed out” like I had never been yelled at before. I had a tough father and even tougher coaches. This was worse. I tried to explain that I was extremely sorry, but this was something I always aspired to do. My reasoning fell flat. The parting, to say the least, was not congenial.

It is only fair to tell you that I received a call from the same individual about one week later apologizing for his reaction. He understood my decision, and wished me the best in my new position. I immensely appreciated the call.

I became the Sports Director for C-Tec and continue in that position with RCN up to this day. I know I made the right decision. In “The Road Not Taken”, Robert Frost said it much better than I ever could:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

1. I know this is an understatement and not news, but Kevin Durant is a spectacular basketball player. He just led the US to an Olympic gold medal, his third as an Olympian. He has scored more points than any other Olympian in history. I love watching his passion for the game. No player was better at the Games.

2. Speaking of basketball, Lafayette’s Justin Jaworski is on the NBA Summer League roster of the Atlanta Hawks. He is one of 14 players to make the roster. The Lafayette 1000-point scorer is smart and he is deadly shooting the three-ball. Here’s hoping he can impress the management.

3. The USA won gold medals in both Men’s and Women’s golf. Nelly Korda won this week for the women and Xander Schauffle won last Sunday. There is talk of making golf an Olympic team
competition instead of an individual one. This year seems to prove the individual format is the best and the most exciting.

4. The Phillies are in first place! I don’t think I have ever typed that before.

5. I will be on vacation the next few weeks so there will be no blogs for a bit. I appreciate all of you who take the time to read my ramblings. For awhile, you can certainly find something better to do.

Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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