Phobias and Podcasts

In this edition of Crown Gems, you will be privy to the random and winding thoughts of my mind with respect to a recent podcast I did.  Before I get into the winding thoughts, I wanted to give a shout out to Joe Dexter over on Motor City Bengals.  He does a podcast called This Week in Detroit Tigers Baseball and does a truly incredible job with it.

Head here to check out the latest episode.  I will warn you in advance that I was a guest on the show.  You probably figured that out based on my intro but I digress.  Why the warning?  Let’s just say that podcasting, radio, and public speaking don’t exactly fall in my comfort zone.  Written word, that’s my comfort zone.  Shooting the bull and talking baseball while drinking some beers, yeah I can handle that too.  Get me on the phone and start asking me questions and things start to get dicey.  Put me up in front of a crowd of people to talk about something I don’t really care about and all bets are off.  My brain goes on auto pilot in those scenarios and I literally have no idea what I am saying at the time.

I’m the guy who back in 8th grade almost passed out while doing an oral report on Sandy Koufax.  The dizziness I experienced while in front of the class that day was actually sweet relief compared to the nausea and anxiety I felt for a good 48 hours leading up to that speech.  Over the years I’ve gotten better about public speaking, but the remnants of my fear still exist today.  Back in middle school and high school it was a full blown phobia.  Thanks to my time in college that phobia has been reduced to a general dislike and general feeling of discomfort when it comes to public speaking.  Though I got plenty* of practice talking in front of my classmates, it was thanks to my time in a fraternity that helped to break away at my public speaking phobia.

*I do mean plenty.  I double majored in English and Classical Civilization so needless to say I had my share of speeches and the daily dread of class discussion.  It goes without saying that I had to do a ton of reading every night as well, and yes I was the guy who read every page every assigned to me.  I didn’t talk much in class, thanks to my hatred of public speaking, but I assure you, I was thinking many pertinent and brilliant things during those discussions.

Being a part of Phi Kappa Psi went a long way toward bringing me out of my shell.  For those of you who are reading this that were with me back then, I owe you all a great deal.  It is many years overdue, but I sincerely thank you.  This is really starting to wind a lot more than I intended it, so back on point.

I sit here today just over 10 years (!) removed from my college days, and I still hate speeches.  Instead of speeches and interviews inducing nausea or dizziness, I tend to get cold.  Really cold.  I get cold to the point that I literally start to shiver.  I’m not sure if it is really an improvement, but I’ll take getting cold over those other things.  The anxiety leading up to such events has also significantly lessened over the years which is an added bonus.

I think I was on the air with Joe for about 12 minutes, and I kept things in check pretty well for most of the interview.  After all I was talking about baseball and the Royals, so at least I was in my comfort zone with respect to the topic.  The shivers started about 7 or 8 minutes into the interview but I made it through.  When it was done, aside from shivering, I came to the realization that I enjoyed myself.  After all I did get to spend 10 minutes or so talking about Royals baseball with fellow fan and FanSided blogger.  What’s not to like about that?

If you’re wondering why I agreed to go on with Joe in light of all of the above you’re in luck cause I’m going to tell you.  If you’re not wondering, I beg you to humor me and keep on reading.

Reason #1:  He asked me to.  If someone takes the time to ask me to discuss baseball with them, I’m probably going to do it even if it is outside my comfort zone.  I love the game that much, and outside of being nervous I had absolutely nothing to lose aside from coming off as a complete idiot.  If the latter happened as a result, no big deal, it’s not the first time and it’s certainly not the last.

Reason #2:  It was outside my comfort zone.  Most of us are creatures of habit, and in many ways I am no different, but from time to time I try to do things that I would not normally do.  This doesn’t mean I’m going to go skydiving (sorry Scott), but it does mean that I’m willing to put myself out there if the circumstances are right.

Reason #3:  The circumstances were right.  Like it or not, writing for this site, I find myself in the business of self promotion and I try to make my work more visible to as many people as possible.  I also owe it to the founders of the Sports Network to make my site the best I possibly can and seize upon as many opportunities as I can to grow the site, the network, and my writing “career.”

Reason #4:  I was curious to see how I would do.  As those of you who have read my work from the beginning of Kings of Kauffman know, this was actually my second podcast appearance.  My first was back in March when I went on with Seth Stohs* of  I got a lot of positive feedback from that podcast but it was primarily from family, friends, and Seth himself.

*I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to thank Seth for all his help and guidance during this year.  He has always been there to answer blogging related questions and has become one of my baseball blogging mentors in the process.

After writing on a daily basis for another eight months, I wanted to see if I could perceive any improvement in my ability to handle the format.  Was there any noticable growth in my ability between then and now?  Unfortunately it is hard to say.  Back in March I was talking Twins, my second favorite team, but this time I was really in my element talking about the Royals.

What does it all mean?  I really don’t know.  What I do know is that I had a lot of fun talking ball with Joe, and I hope he’ll have me on again sometime in the future.  Same goes for making a 2nd appearance on Seth’s show, though this time to give my input as it relates to the Kansas City Royals.  It is outside of my comfort zone to do these things, but personal growth seems to be something worth pursuing.

Anyway take the time to listen to the show and feel free to leave a comment about it.  I hope I represented the Royals blogosphere and Royals fans in general well.  I hope I represented Kings of Kauffman and the Sports Network well.  Most importantly, I hope I represented myself well and that the next time I do a podcast I am more comfortable doing it.  At least a little bit.

(Wally Fish is Kings of Kauffman’s lead blogger.  Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)

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