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Note: Greg Braggs Jr. was in Indianapolis this week with the CHGO Bears team and filed dispatches each day about his experiences at his first-ever NFL Combine. This is his final wrapup from Indy.
INDIANAPOLIS — We made it, ladies and gentlemen. The final moments here in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine, as I sit in this once-packed media room that has now become a ghost town. Sorry, no offensive line or running back breakdowns today. You can find those clips on the CHGO Bears Twitter account. You knew damn well I was finishing this week with a swan song. I’m an emotional guy, what can I say!
It’s been a big week of wins and maybe a few mistakes or mishaps too. The best probably walking into St. Elmos Steakhouse last night with no reservations and getting a table. Take that, David Kaplan! The worst one having a full drink spilled on me late into the night at a bar where some of most elite in the NFL circles were in attendance. Had to Uber back to the AiBNB to get in a new sweater for that one. Not a great look when you’re using the hand dryer in a small bathroom to dry your soaked sweater and Michael Silver walks in. “What are you doing?!” *Facepalm*
But overall, this was one of the most successful weeks of my life in sports media, in a year where I’ve made many great strides. Every time I think I’ve hit my crescendo, I take another step. It will never not surprise me, never thought I’d get to this point. I owe it all to my family for supporting me chasing my dream and CHGO for giving me this opportunity. It wasn’t that long ago when I was covering high school sports (still do) and I had friends making fun of me about it. They didn’t see the bigger picture. Maybe they do now.
I can give alot of advice of how to get into this business from networking, to being passionate, to working hard with a positive attitude, being nice to people and to not burn bridges. But one of the biggest keys is to have a good support system around you. I don’t get here without the support from others who actually are happy for me when I succeed. My wife has been so patient. We’ve been together for 20 years, married for 10. I don’t think she was necessarily confident any of this “pretending to be sports media stuff” would work out, but she supported me anyways. She basically placed a futures bet on me and maybe it just might pay off. For her sake, I’m working hard that it does; she deserves it. My mom too.
Anyone that knows me, knows my mom because I always keep her around me. She taught me to be passionate about what you do in life, not just sports. She’s the one that I wanted to go to Game 6 of the NLCS to see the Cubs break the curse with. She deserves a medal of honor for surviving raising me, I can promise you that much. Talk about support, my mom has literally been proofreading every one of these articles this whole week! Gotta put that English degree she has to use! While I had some friends that unfortunately didn’t support what I was doing in the way that I needed it, I have that many more friends that are in my corner every step of the way. I have my family and friends to thank for where I’m at today. Be mindful of who is in your circle and support them the same.
To find my voice this week at these presser has been a thrilling and rewarding feeling. To thrive at the technique of timing your questions to get your question in around others and to make proper eye contact with the people you are speaking to so you can have a follow up or 2 or 3 was something that felt natural by the end of the week. After 3 nights in a row out til 4am, I’ve now lost that voice but it was put to good use beforehand.
Writing articles is hard! Especially the ones where there is actual football information involved! I tried two of those this week. Those were fun but I can see why our team at CHGO is so locked in when they are writing articles. Attention to detail is imperative for a good column. By the end of it, your eyes start to hurt. And I’m assuming the rest of the team doesn’t have their mom and Kevin Kaduk double proofreading their work!
The stream-of-consciousness technique is much easier for me. I like just bullshitting with you guys. I want you to feel like you’re along on the journey. Because you are. You are part of my support system. The amount of kind words of encouragement this week is extremely humbling and I’m forever grateful for each and every one of them. Had a few of the Chicago media members reach out with some kind words for the work I’ve done this week. It means the world to me to have the respect of my peers.
I just want to have fun with this. I know it’s work and I have a ton of admiration for those in this business that do this to put food on their plate. That can’t be easy with the week-to-week uncertainties of job security. It’s a very competitive business and you gotta stay on your toes. It’s not really that for me though. At least not yet. Although, I remind myself to try to have that mindset regardless, so I don’t get too comfortable, not take the opportunity for granted and live up to the expectations I have for myself.
Today is the 1st anniversary of the launch of CHGO. I was lucky enough to be a small part of a big thing. A very special thing. A team of people that are just as passionate as I am for the sports we love. That’s what Chicago is all about. Passion. It’s our identity. My goal in this is to always stay true to that. Make you fans that invest your time in us to feel like you are every bit a part of this journey. You are our identity. And eventually our passion will be paid off with championships to celebrate! Let’s hope.
I’m proud of our CHGO Bears team. Not just for this week, which we killed. But for the work done the last 365 days. We’ve laid the foundation with brighter days ahead for coverage of this Bears team. I have all of them to thank for bringing me into their circle and letting me play my role. Free Agency and the NFL Draft will be LIT!!!
How long is this article?! Ridiculous! Time to get on the road, so I can get back to my ridiculously loyal wife and beautiful, funny 5-year-old daughter. Thanks again for riding along on this journey everyone. Here’s to great support systems. Looking forward to see what’s next.
Brick X Brick
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