There’s a sign over the entrance to the Grandover Resort, “Welcome to a new era of ACC Football”.
A lot has changed for the ACC since they were here a year ago. They’re not the only ones.
Before leaving for Grandover, I tweeted,
Greensboro or bust: football season starts today. Let’s do this #ACCKickoff
— Shawn Krest (@KrestDukeTBA) July 21, 2013
I sent the same tweet last July. Since then, I’ve been fired twice, divorced & dumped.
That’s not entirely true. The one was kind of mutual, and that’s all actually happened since the Orange Bowl. It’s been a long offseason.
So welcome back, football. I sent last year’s tweet, then said goodbye to my family and left the house for the drive to Greensboro. This year, I told my cat not to claw the couch, then left my apartment.
Same car—although it’s taken a beating in the last year. Haven’t we all. The windshield is cracked, the transmission makes a funny sound at red lights, and every once in awhile, every warning light on the dashboard goes off. I’m assuming it’s probably nothing, though.
It’s still going, though, against all probability. Again, aren’t we all.
Last year’s message was my first tweet was sent on my first day as a CBSSports.com ACC blogger/beat writer. My last day with them came while I was sitting in the Cameron media room, waiting for a press conference to start. I quietly packed my things, closed the Carolina Panthers’ wrap-up story I was writing for CBS (without saving), and walked to my car. I didn’t cry then, but I would.
This year, I’m covering the ACC for The Devil’s Den (some things never change), the Sanford Herald, and probably a dozen other outlets before the Orange Bowl starts another offseason that will hopefully go a little smoother than the last.
I realize I’m not the only one who’s had to deal with any of this. I’ve said hi to at least three people this morning who have lost their jobs in the last year, and that number is so low only because I’ve been sitting here writing this instead of mingling.
It also hasn’t been all negative. Adversity shows you who your friends are, and two of the first people I’ve told about all my personal setbacks are people I’d barely spoken to at this time last year. I’ve gotten tips, leads, and words of support from colleagues, friends, and strangers on Twitter. I’ve received “welcome back” messages from several of the SIDs I’ve written, to set up credentials for the upcoming season.
I’ve also had an SID pull my credential within 24 hours of me getting the call from CBS.
In a couple hours, I’ll talk to some of the key players for the upcoming ACC season … er … era. They’ll give all the sports clichés about not giving up, and fighting through adversity, and beating the odds. And it turns out they’re all true.
But they’ll all be optimistic. It’s the start of a new season. Everyone’s undefeated, and this is the year that they all break through, and make a bowl, or win a title, or avoid injury.
Then I’ll get back in my old, beat-up car, and head back to see what my cat has done to my couch. And I’ll send out some more feelers and make some more pitches—on both fronts.
Let’s do this.