This isn’t really a sports-related post (other than the fact that I surround myself with sports for a living, and I’m the one posting this blog, and you are reading it), but because we’ve turned the page to a new year and a new decade, and because I’m pumped about how 2009 turned out, I feel inspired to post a few thoughts.
I don’t really believe in the concept of a New Year’s Resolution. I think everybody should constantly strive toward becoming better people, and setting a “start date” of January 1st only gives permission to be lazy during the second half of the year. If you want to make a positive change, why not just do it?
That said, at some point in late 2008, I decided I was going to devote the rest of ’08 and all of 2009 to advancing my career. I didn’t want to wind up in my mid-30’s someday, wondering “what the hell am I doing here?”
(No offense to anybody in their mid-30’s who may be wondering “what the hell am I doing here?”…)
As a result, my 2009 checklist contained only one item. And I accomplished it.
Drinks on me.
2009 Checklist – one item
♠ Advance Career
The motto, thanks to Covino and Rich, was “Taking What’s Mine in 2009.”
I started off 2009 by developing a baseball projection website that went hand-in-hand with a projection system I was in the process of creating. It was pretty intense, and I spent many days working 15-20 hours trying to perfect things. I even had the opportunity to meet with some high-level MLB people to discuss the possibilities and capabilities of what I was working on. Some teams are implementing similar ideas, some teams aren’t.
But because I wasn’t likely to see an increased role at KFAN (ClearChannel was hit hard by the economy… or something like that…), and because I didn’t know if my baseball work would see any immediate payoffs, I turned my attention in late-spring of ’09 to the poker industry.
Bryan Mileski and I (and previously Craig Dirkes… thanks to Craig for all his hard work during the launch of the magazine) created Minnesota Poker Magazine last June specifically to help promote poker in one of the most underrated poker hotbeds in the country. We originally wanted to let the magazine gain credibility for a year or so before launching the Minnesota State Poker Tour, but we sensed some serious interest after only two or three months.
One thing led to another, and we eventually held our first MSPT event at Canterbury Park in December. It was amazing, and I can’t say enough about the staff at Canterbury and the players who played throughout the week. 130 players showed up for the $1,100 buy-in Main Event, and 20-year-old John Dragich won nearly $35,000.
So, for the people who tilt their head and ask, “So… how’s that magazine working?” in a condescending, “how-can-you-possibly-make-money-off-that?” sort of way, fear not. Business is good, and it will only get better.
(knock on wood)
2010 Checklist – multiple items
♣ Don’t drive Minnesota Poker Magazine & The Minnesota State Poker Tour into the ground
After launching these two entities, I have an entirely new appreciation for business owners, small or large. It’s a ton of work, and there’s a lot to learn on the fly.
I’m looking forward to growing both products in 2010, and we’ll start with a MSPT event at Grand Casino Mille Lacs in February.
I’ve always cringed at the thought of working a 9-5 job, or having a boss that always tells me what to do. One of my main goals from long ago was to make sure I cleared my own path. So, regardless of what happens with MNPokerMag and the MSPT, at least I tried at an early age.
♣ Try to be on KFAN Radio more than like 2 hours per week
Even with the magazine and poker tour, I will remain at KFAN in a semi-limited capacity as long as possible. It’s been a blast covering the Vikings beat since 2007, and I love everyone I work with at The FAN.
But let’s face it. I’m not really sure what my role will be at KFAN in 2010. After Twins Weekly went off the air, my only on air timeslots are Wednesdays 10-11am with Paul Allen, and 90 minutes before kickoff on the Vikings pregame show. You can also find my Vikings musings at KFAN.com.
For starters, I still plan to maintain a high baseball and Vikings presence. Twitter has helped me communicate with people about baseball-related stuff even when I’m not regularly blogging or talking about it on the radio.
If you would have asked me a year ago today, co-owing a poker magazine and a poker tour wouldn’t have even appeared on my radar. Funny how things work. I’ve busted my ass for almost six years in the radio business, making next to nothing, and I was hell-bent for so long to make it a full-time career.
At the same time, regardless of how long I work in radio, I know that those first six years of grinding earned me invaluable experience and networking connections.
Radio used to be an optimal career choice, but now I think it’s probably better suited as a platform to promote other ventures.
Or maybe it’s just the economy…
♣ Work Ethic
Some people feel a sense of entitlement when it comes to pursuing dreams or a career. I probably felt that way to a certain extent when I was younger, but I now understand the amount of hard work it takes to reach goals.
Some people sit around bitching about why their situation sucks. Others simply make things happen and get things done. I know what type of person I want to be.
♣ Don’t Be A Fat Ass
At this time last year, I was in the best physical condition of my life. I hired a personal trainer in August, 2008, and I was running 3-4 days per week while eating hardly any junk food. As 2009 progressed, however, my life was entirely consumed with Minnesota Poker Magazine, the Minnesota State Poker Tour, Brett Favre’s arrival to the Vikings, etc.
Not to mention, I was logging 20-30 hours per week playing online poker. With my entire existence wrapped up in career-related stuff, I slowly stopped working out. I just didn’t make time for it anymore.
And with running a poker business comes loads of casino food and buffets. Don’t get me wrong. I love food, especially buffets. For nearly five straight weeks during September and November, we covered tournaments at Running Aces Harness Park and Canterbury Park, which meant eating buffets almost every day.
Back at the KFAN ranch, media members are fed pizza every Wednesday and Sunday.
I’ve found it’s all about simply not eating 20 pieces of pizza when given the opportunity. I usually pick one day (sometimes two) during the week to eat whatever I want, within reason. I’ll cheat a couple times too. But beyond that, I try to eat a hearty, healthy breakfast, followed by more meager meals for lunch and dinner. I also limit carbs as much as possible after 6pm.
It might take a few months, but I fully intend on getting back into awesome shape. No more poker player’s body.
♣ Stop Neglecting Friends/Family/Girls
As happy as I am with career-related accomplishments from 2009, I did a horseshit job of keeping up with family and especially friends. Even so, I’m not sure I would change anything in retrospect. I did what I had to do and worked the hours I had to work in order to advance my career situation during a bad economy.
But what’s the point of having a successful career if you don’t have a ton of awesome friends to chill with at the end of the day? While looking out for myself in ’09, I generally failed to maintain friendships. Luckily, most of them tolerated my flakiness.
- Instead of going out for drinks on Friday and Saturday night, I stayed in to work, and/or go to bed early for work-related stuff the next morning.
- I didn’t initiate phone calls and/or text messages nearly as often as my friends did. I was also often late to respond.
- I would meet cool girls, hang out with them once, and not call, text, or return messages. I was, in essence, “too busy” to spend time with awesome girls (if that’s even possible). If any of them read this blog, you probably know who you are.
And I’m an asshole. So call me.
♣ On a serious, spiritual note…
I grew up Catholic, but I’m not really a religious dude anymore. I read a lot of Eckhart Tolle-related stuff though, and it’s better than any religious teachings could ever be.
This is more of a longterm goal that began in 2007 for me, but I want to continue to internalize the following:
- Be self aware. Take responsibility. Look in the mirror.
- Live every moment of life with enthusiasm, acceptance, and/or enjoyment. If you aren’t in one of those three states, it’s likely that you are creating suffering for yourself or the people around you.
- More often than not, it’s the resistance to a situation that causes bad emotions. Almost all bad emotions you experience are because of resistance to a situation, not the situation itself.
- Diet Dr. Pepper really does taste a lot like regular Dr. Pepper. For that, rejoice.
Thanks to all who have tweeted, emailed, commented, called in during a radio show, etc. I love interacting with everyone, and I can’t thank you enough for actually giving a crap about what I have to say. Or at least for faking it.
~ PMacPhil Mackey is a sports radio personality at 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. He's also the editor and publisher of Minnesota Poker Magazine, and the co-founder of the Minnesota State Poker Tour. Contact Phil at email@example.com