Good morning, everyone! I hope everyone had a great Monday and got their week started on the right track.
It was certainly a wild one for me.
If you read Matt’s post last night or scrolled through social media at all yesterday afternoon, you might’ve seen that it was one of the biggest days of my life. Starting immediately, I will be joining the KSR team in a full-time capacity, meaning you’ll be seeing a whole lot more of me from now on.
I will be responsible mainly for recruiting and basketball coverage, but I’ll also be contributing on podcasts, video, analysis posts, and covering all the events you guys want to read about. Anything you guys want to read, watch, or hear involving UK Athletics, I’ll do my best to make it happen.
You’ve seen my posts as an intern and part-time writer, and it’ll only grow from here. But it’s certainly been one heck of a journey to get to this point.
When I was in 5th grade, I got kicked out of computer class for reading KSR when I was supposed to be working.
Now, I’m a full-time KSR employee, living out my dream.
Life is wild, and I’m truly thankful for this opportunity. https://t.co/W0QG4OpcDX
— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) December 10, 2018
Back in 2007, I got kicked out of my fifth grade computer class for reading KSR when I was supposed to be working on a graded typing assignment. (You know those dreaded finger placement, home row keyboard lessons? Yep, those gems. Can you blame me?)
In fact, her exact words were “there’s no time for games, this class is dedicated to work only.” Little did Mrs. Arnold know, 11 years later this would become “work” for me.
(Another side note: I was overwhelmed with people (including my bosses) saying I made them feel old for tweeting about the story above yesterday. Sorry about that.)
Growing up as a die-hard Kentucky fan, I’ve always had a passion for sports, and writing was always fun for me. Trying to be the world’s first official middle school sports reporter, I started a website called “Jack Pilgrim’s UK News” in the seventh grade. I obviously didn’t have a credit card at the time (or anything more than lunch money, for that matter), so I couldn’t afford to pay for an actual domain. “JackPilgrimsUKNews.yolasite.com” had quite the ring to it, and boy did it show in the traffic reports.
When I realized I was the only one reading my website and covering the entire world of UK Athletics alone was nearly impossible, I decided to make a Twitter account dedicated to all things Kentucky under an alias when I was a freshman in high school. My thought process was that no one would trust, nor care, about what a 14-year-old had to say about sports, so the only way to “brand” myself was through a silly UK fan account. (I won’t tell you the handle because I haven’t touched it in years, but it’s still live if you want to go down that rabbit hole and try to find it)
I stuck with it throughout high school, where I eventually got the opportunity to write for several small outlets, interview recruits, and work my way through as a (literal) no-name “media” guy. If nothing else, it was great practice for the real stuff later on.
Once I got to college, I gave up that page and started out at the Kentucky Kernel as a regular sports writer, eventually working my way up to the Assistant Sports Editor position. There, I covered basketball, football, volleyball, softball, baseball, and whatever else was going on at UK.
I enjoyed myself and appreciated the opportunity, but I always had my eye on the crown jewel of UK sports media: Kentucky Sports Radio. I had been a huge fan of Matt, Drew, Ryan, Tyler, and the whole gang for years, and I wanted to be a part of it one day.
And when they sent out internship applications for college students back in the summer of 2016, you better believe I was going to take advantage of it.
I applied immediately, and after a few long weeks of pacing in my room and refreshing my email over and over again, I got my golden ticket.
I came on as an intern, where I wrote just a few long columns a week and helped out however I could. No matter the game or event, I was there to cover it. Just having the “KSR” title next to my name and the opportunity to grow as a young writer with the greatest audience in the world reading my work was enough.
After grinding for a year living on ramen noodles and beenee weenees, I was promoted to a part-time role, where I spent the next year or so covering the website on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights, and then throughout the day on Sundays.
During that time, I was able to cover massive AAU events, the Jordan Brand Classic in New York City, a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, sit down for a one-on-one interview with Karl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota, and the Champions Classic in Chicago, among other adventures.
If my journey had ended there, all of my wildest dreams as a diehard sports fan would’ve already come true.
And then I got the call of a lifetime.
A little over a month ago, Matt held a KSR team meeting and told me there was a full-time opening available if I wanted to take it. I don’t think I’ve ever agreed to anything faster in my life. I wanted to keep my cool in front of all my coworkers, but are you kidding me?
Shaking and teary-eyed, I left the meeting, got in the car, and immediately called my mom and dad. Then my girlfriend. And then my grandmother.
The hobby I once had in elementary school and my biggest passion throughout life since has become my career. I still can’t believe it.
But the grind isn’t over, not in the slightest. In this position, I promise to do whatever it takes to bring you guys the best content and up-to-date information as fast as I can type. I promise you’ll never have to question my work ethic or love for this job.
I was planning on a National Signing Day-esque celebration with balloons and hats on the table, pledging my services to Kentucky Sports Radio. But this post will do the trick.
Thank you to Matt Jones and the entire KSR staff for taking a shot on this 21-year-old kid just trying to live out his dream.