People often to tell you to roll with the punches life throws at you, but no one ever really tells you what it feels like to be the one throwing the punches.
For most of the last eight and a half years, life was a constant flurry of late night text messages from coaches, chasing down the next story and trying to squeeze in some sort of a social life whenever possible.
Then, over the course of four days, my entire life changed.
I got engaged on a beautiful Saturday evening to the love of my life after months of trying (and failing) to plan the perfect proposal. Three days later, while preparing to cover a girls soccer game, I got the call with an official job offer that would take me out of journalism.
By now you know that I accepted the offer and my time covering high school sports in the Lower Hudson Valley has come to an end. I’ve gotten a ton of questions over the last two weeks since announcing my impending career change, and I thought this would be a good way to address the most popular ones.
Before getting to that, I just want to sincerely thank everyone who reached out for your kind words and praise. You all showered me with warm wishes — dozens of direct messages on Twitter, close to 100 emails, about another 100 text messages, and hundreds of comments on social media — to the point where I couldn’t even get to them all.
While I did not respond to you all individually, I did read every direct message, every email, every text message and close to every comment on social media. I want you all to know that I truly appreciate your words and your readership over the last decade.
Below I’ve answered some of the frequently asked questions I’ve gotten over the last two weeks. I’ll be hosting a special Ask Me Anything Facebook Live chat tonight at 7 p.m., where you can ask any questions that were not answered below and/or that I may not have been able to answer in previous chats.
If you want to privately message your questions before the chat, you can send them through either Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I’ll read and answer the questions on the chat, but will not reveal your name.
Where are you working now, and what are you doing there?
I’ve joined the management team at Lucky Strike Entertainment in the Palisades Mall (yes, there’s a bowling alley in the mall). I’ll be managing the hourly staff and working under the general manager in running the venue.
Why did you leave lohud?
There were many factors that went into the decision to leave, but ultimately it came down to money. Most journalists don’t make a ton and, while pretty much all of us don’t do it for the money, there may come a point where you need to simply make more. Getting engaged and wanting to start a family was that point for me.
Will you still be writing?
Surprisingly, this was second-most popular question I’ve been asked. (Even my current boss asked me.) When I got my first tattoo — “Writers have ink in their veins” on my forearm — my mother asked me, “What if you leave lohud?” I assured her, “Even if I stop being a reporter one day, I will always be a writer.”
So yes, I will still be writing. Whether it’s picking up on writing some poetry, jotting thoughts down in a journal, freelancing for other outlets, perhaps cranking out another book, or just posting here on my blog, I will still be writing.
Will you ever go back to covering sports?
Not regularly. Outside of the possible freelance gig every once in a while, I’m pretty much done with sports journalism.
Will you still be active on social media?
Of course. My public Facebook profile is still the same, but I’ve changed my work accounts to @RealMikeZacchio on both Twitter and Instagram to reflect the career change. (It even cost me my verified badge.) If you want to follow my personal accounts, you can follow me @Mike_Zacchio on both Twitter and Instagram.
If you’re an aspiring sports journalist (or the parent of one) and have questions, my DMs are always open and I’m always happy to help offer whatever advice I can.
If you’re an administrator, teacher or a coach and would like to have me speak at your school, in your class or to your team, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any other questions?
Message me on social media by 7 p.m. or tune in and ask away!