I feel that Iâ€™m good at my job.
Scratch that. Great at my job. And I know that Iâ€™m not the only one who feels the same.
Just in the past two weeks, several of you fellow students out there told me that you enjoy my columns, and I truly appreciated the compliment, even if I didnâ€™t act like it (the truth is, Iâ€™m just awkward sometimes).
Many of you recognize my handsome face, beautiful beard and signature sexy fedora walking around campus or on the playing surface at football, basketball and volleyball games and think â€œthereâ€™s that guy from the newspaperâ€ â€“ or just say it to my face â€“ and, truth be told, I enjoy it.
But the reason I enjoy it isnâ€™t because of some desire to win a high school-esque popularity contest. No, the reason I like it is because I know what I am writing is being read; whether you agree with my critical analyses or not, youâ€™re listening to what I have to say on a regular basis.
So first off, thank you.
Secondly, I donâ€™t want to just be good at my job, I want to be the best. And yeah, yeah, everyone says they want to be the best at what they do, but so many folks who claim that donâ€™t have the drive to follow through.
What makes me think that I have an outside chance of one day ranking among sports writingâ€™s elite?
The fact that I love my job. And I mean seriously love it.
On the rare occasion that I do make my way to parties or the bars with friends on the weekends and I turn down free alcohol, Iâ€™m generally greeted with the question, â€œyou donâ€™t drink? Then what do you do for fun?â€
The answer is simple and, to many, depressing.
Yes, what I enjoy doing the most is working. Whether itâ€™s reporting on a game, blogging, Tweeting, taking photos or shooting videos, I love it.
I canâ€™t count how many Friday nights Iâ€™ve skipped parties to go to an area high school football game on an unpaid assignment just to scout potential prospects for Rivals.com. Itâ€™s what I love doing and make no apologies for it.
However, my obsession with working and being the first to break a news story doesnâ€™t come without consequences; primarily regarding relationships of all kinds.
Iâ€™m a very open and emotional person and care deeply about family, but often times I ask myself if I will ever be able to love someone as much as I love my job.
While that question has been engraved in my mind since I first arrived on a college campus in fall of 2006, it was always an internal battle until Saturday night when someone close to me flat out asked, â€œMatt, will you ever love anyone as much as work?â€
Hearing it from someone else simply took it a whole new level for me.
Honestly, I donâ€™t have any sort of definitive response at this point, nor did I think while writing this column the answer would come to me.
What I do know is that if I struggle with this, prioritizing things some feel I shouldnâ€™t, surely a few of you do too, whether itâ€™s in the reporting, engineering, medical or agricultural field.
My only advice is, if you do put your work before all else, you better truly love your job, but you also must be OK with accepting the potential consequences.
In the film â€œRepo Men,â€ Jude Lawâ€™s character of Remy says, â€œA job is not just a job, itâ€™s who you are.â€
As incredibly mediocre as that movie might have been, that quote stuck with me.
For better or worse, I am who I am because of my work; I love analyzing and I love sports and Iâ€™m lucky I can merge the two in one paid gig.
Most of all, I love my life, and I hope you share that sentiment. But make sure to truly think about your priorities, or else that lifestyle you may love could ultimately leave you empty in the end.
Sports Editor Matt L. Stephens can be reached at email@example.com.