It’s funny how priorities change as you grow older and the final stages of your career start coming into view. You begin to think less about your own accomplishments and more about the next generation – the people with whom you’ve been lucky enough to share your experience and wisdom as they take the next step in their lives.
This December will mark a milestone for me as I hit the half century mark. As the date draws nigh, I can’t help but reflect on a 25-year career in sports information that has had numerous high points and definitely some low ones. I was lucky enough to be at The Citadel and serving as the baseball SID when the Bulldogs reached the College World Series in 1990, a four-month run that still ranks as the most fun time I have had in sports information.
That is just one of many memories that meld together to form a rewarding and successful career – one in which I take a great deal of pride. But at the end of the day, a professional legacy is based less on personal accomplishments than the successes of the people who come after you.
I was reminded of this just last week when I had the opportunity to provide a reference for a former student worker of mine at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. This young woman came to my office several years ago just looking for a work-study job. I hired her mostly because I was short on help, but there wasn’t any indication she was interested in a career in athletics.
As time passed and we spent more and more time together in the office and at games, I could see a maturity in her that wasn’t present at our initial meeting. She took on additional responsibilities and began to thrive in that atmosphere, continuing on after my departure from IUP. Next month she will take on her first fulltime position as an assistant sports information director at Mount Union.
That is what any career worth having is all about. It’s about the people who look to you for guidance even if you don’t realize it at the time. It’s about the pictures on your desk that remind you of all the lives you’ve touched through the years. And it’s about seeing them grown into themselves even as you see a little bit of yourself in everything they do.
Now I have a new group of people whom I work with in the sports information office at The Citadel. They are a little older than the student workers at my previous schools, and their careers are in better focus, but the concept is the same. My purpose each day is to do my part – however large or small – to help them reach their goals.
And hopefully one day have their smiling faces looking back at me from a picture frame as a reminder of another life touched.
– Mike Hoffman –
Sports Information Director