The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

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New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Column | The benefits of writing an email

Zack Gibney stands on the field during a Pitt Football game against Boston College at Acrisure Stadium on Nov 16, 2023.
Courtesy of Matt Hawley/Pitt Athletics
Zack Gibney stands on the field during a Pitt Football game against Boston College at Acrisure Stadium on Nov 16, 2023.

As vividly as I can see the computer screen in front of me as I type this, I remember lying down in my bed during my first year at Pitt and having a bit of an introspective moment. After moving into the Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center hotel — which was only a residence hall option due to the pandemic — I was undecided in a number of ways.

For one, my official major was, appropriately, “undecided.” But in a more abstract sense, I was completely unsure of what I wanted to do with my life over the next four years. 

Since I could form a coherent thought, sports were the focal point of my life. I could tell someone the entire Pirates roster based on jersey numbers at age 11 but didn’t think that skill was transferable to a professional environment.

Additionally, no one was allowed to attend any kind of in-person sporting events besides players, coaches and media members. Empty stadiums became normal during the time of the pandemic, and there wasn’t a clear end in sight.

So, after some thought, my mind was made up. I was going to find a way into these spectator-less sporting events.

Sure, at the surface, this probably seemed like a misguided goal considering the fact that this wasn’t exactly a career-based objective. At the time, I just wanted to watch live sports again. Was this an extremely well-thought-out idea? Probably not. But why not allocate my time to doing something that I enjoy?

In August of 2020, my resumé in sports media consisted of nothing. I didn’t have any experience besides being a baseball player who wasn’t quite good enough to play at a college with more than 800 students. However, I learned one of my most valuable lessons in that first week at Pitt — you’ll never know if you don’t ask.

Over the next few days, I sent an email to Pitt’s football team, WPTS Radio and, of course, The Pitt News. These emails did not include my resumé, or the lack thereof, but rather consisted of me simply asking for a job. 

I somehow went three-for-three.

The next four years consisted of attending countless sporting events, traveling around the country and getting to spend time with some extraordinary people. From almost getting lost while driving Reggie Miller around the streets of Pittsburgh to being on the sidelines for Kenny Pickett’s iconic fake slide and getting an ACC Championship ring, I now have some stories that will hopefully make my future kids think that I’m the cool parent. This is all thanks to simply asking for a job.

So what’s to make of all of this?

Throughout the last four years, the thought of getting a regular office job crossed my mind hundreds of times. There was a heck of a lot more stability in ditching the whole sports thing and working a standard nine-to-five where I could have my weekends and a stable income. From sending those emails my first year to looking for a full-time job over the last couple of months, I had a pretty persistent fear of rejection. 

From a work standpoint, I was usually one of the younger people in the room, making it easy to fall into the trap of feeling like I didn’t belong. This combined with seeing people land internships in far more comfortable industries led me to second-guess just about everything I was doing.

However, I’ve benefited from being surrounded by some unbelievably supportive people who made me realize that I was in the right place. 

Four years after sending those emails, I managed to land a full-time job at SportsNet Pittsburgh, working alongside some extremely talented people and even players from the Pirates and Penguins that I grew up watching. Additionally, I will be continuing to work alongside the fantastic people at ACC Network here at Pitt.

Looking back, I’m extremely thankful that I didn’t force myself to fall onto that safety net.

Despite these truly enjoyable work-related experiences, the thing that makes it so hard to leave the University of Pittsburgh is the people. I have such an immense sense of pride when talking about the group of friends I have here. They have not only made my college experience unbelievably special but have genuinely made me a better person. Not living within walking distance of them is going to be one of the toughest adjustments after graduation.

Speaking of people, my mom and dad somehow never had a doubt about my professional aspirations, and I owe them an immense amount for supporting me. They read every article I wrote and watched every game I announced. My family as a whole was there for me every step of the way.

As mentioned before, I have a significant debt of gratitude towards my colleagues and friends at The Pitt News, ACC Network, Pitt football and WPTS Radio who brought me in as an underclassman and helped me grow both professionally and personally over the last four years. I will avoid listing names due to the cold hard fact that I will inevitably forget someone, but they all know who they are.

Speaking about TPN specifically, I am thrilled to see how the organization has developed and continued to provide opportunities for so many students. My first-ever sports desk meeting was on Zoom with just a few of us, and it has been great to see those meetings only get more crowded over the years. This reality is largely due to the outstanding leadership of the sports desk and the job they have done. Jermaine and Brian at the helm truly make me happy about the state of the paper.

Sorry for making the end of this sound like an awards ceremony acceptance speech. For anyone who has watched me announce a game or read one of my articles over the last four years, I hope I could provide some sense of enjoyment in your lives. I truly love what I do and hope that is reflected in my work.

Don’t let comparison to others be the thief of your joy. In any aspect of life, there’s no harm in asking a question that, at worst, isn’t fulfilled, and at best, can have a profound impact on your future.

About the Contributor
Zack Gibney, Senior Staff Writer