A person can find inspiration from many places. I have recently found inspiration from an old college friend, Tony Castricone. Here's his story.
I met Tony while we were in college working at WOUB Radio and Television in the sports department. From the very first time I met him, Tony was always very determined, driven and focused. When I first met him, I'll be honest, I thought he was going to be Captain Eager Beaver. You know the type. The ones who always work overtime and extra shifts. But, as I grew to know him, he wasn't an eager beaver - he was determined. He knew what he wanted, which was to be a sportscaster. For that quality, I learned to admire him.
And Tony was good.
Really good. But he was never one to rub it in anyone's face. We were a team down at WOUB. Tony and I spent an entire week working together one spring break. While we spent most of it working in the newsroom and covering baseball games, we also spent nights on his porch, sipping a few beverages while he strummed on his guitar.
Since college, we have stayed in touch. Obviously, that became easier the day Facebook was invented. After college, Tony went on to do what he always wanted to do - he became a sportscaster on the ESPN affiliate radio station in Columbus, home of the Ohio State Buckeyes. He was living his dream, actually doing the job he always wanted to do.
Until life handed him a lemon. Tony was laid off from this job at the radio station, and in the media industry, especially in sports, finding another job isn't the easiest thing to do. So, instead of sulking, sitting around feeling sorry for himself, he decided to follow his other passion - music.
I remember watching Tony at an open mic night in college, and I can't lie, I was pleasantly surprised. I did not know the musical talent that my friend possessed. He always found an outlet, away from the stresses of his job, in writing music and performing. While sportscasting was his first passion, being a musician ran a close second.
So, with all the money he had saved and no ties holding him down, my dear friend Tony is going on a 40-day tour. He recorded a CD and now plans on taking his CD, his love of music and his excitement to meet new people and see the country. He is going to play 40 open mic nights in 40 different cities over a 40-day period.
How cool is this? A guy I know, throwing caution to the wind and going on an experience that some people only dream about but never actually set in to motion. People make movies about this kind of experience. I hope in the movie, Megan Fox plays me. No, maybe I'm more of a Sandra Bullock-type person. No, Alyssa Milano. She's good looking and a baseball fan - she can handle it.
Seeing Tony do this has been more of an inspiration to me than anything else I can think of since I graduated from college. Though many people might say that I'm outgoing, a people person and have ambition, I have become pretty settled in my ways. I have my close group of friends, I have stayed close to home since I began my career, and I won't even ask a guy out for coffee, let alone a date. Here's me, scared to say, "Hi, I'm Dana," and I know a guy who is putting his life savings on the line to go on a tour that is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
I'm going to learn from Tony and take more chances, and I suggest others do the same. You don't ever know what is going to happen the next day. Anything can happen to anyone at any given time. Some people could sit and sulk about it, or the Tonys of the world could turn it into the biggest glass of lemonade ever made.
I wish Tony all of the luck in the world and hopes he finds all he is looking for on the road. To follow Tony and his travels, you can visit his blog, www.40daytour.blogspot.
com. Also, he's starting his tour in Cleveland and in Pittsburgh on June 10 and 11, respectively. Go check him out. Tell him Dana sent you.
And as for me, I'm going to take my first leap of faith and friend request Alyssa Milano on Facebook. That way, if they do make a movie about Tony, I'll already have an "in" with my actress of choice.