Corey Costelloe mug

Corey Costelloe

For the second time this year, it appears the “10-year challenge” is making the rounds on social media. If you aren’t one to partake, good for you, I’ve managed to resist as well; there’s only so much an old picture can say.

The premise is you post a current photo of yourself and one from 10 years ago with a few details about your former self. This comes as we prepare to enter another decade; although for some reason, the 2000s don’t seem to afford us the decade-recognition like the 1900s did, I guess a little hindsight isn’t a terrible thing, although the platform of social media might afford us a little less insight than what is justified in many of our cases.

I’ll be honest; I never imagined 10 years ago where I’d be today. I’m not one to plan every step of my journey, I position myself for great opportunities, prepare for the best, be ready for anything. That approach used to drive former employers crazy. I didn’t “have a plan” and that irked many career-minded individuals; we only make this loop once, I’m not one for sweating the details.

With that thought in mind, I figured I’d look back 10 years ago and encourage others to do the same. Not for the social media likes, but for your own introspective benefits. When you take the social media game out of it, you might find some useful information, surprises and accomplishments that you probably forgot about.

I’ll mention that in November of 2009, I was enjoying my final year in my 20s. I was almost one year into home ownership and marriage. I’m happy to say that the house didn’t last but the marriage certainly has. Although looking back 10 years, it continues to amaze me what my better half has had to deal with. But here we are, almost 11 years into this journey, and with two children in tow. Again something (kids) that wasn’t really on my radar a decade ago.

2009 was an interesting year because it also marked the second of what would be a three-year run as a sports-radio talk host. I thought at that point it was a dream gig, but in small-market radio, you rarely got to focus on one thing in order to justify your existence to the radio station, so I also got to manage the station and the loyal group of misfits who came with it. I say that because many of them are still employed there today and have done great things with their careers.

If there was a “Delta-House” equivalent to sports radio in 2009, it was my station. What we didn’t get in ratings we made up for in questionable studio decorations, angry listener phone calls and sometimes solid-gold radio. Couple that with an increased demand for live show appearances, emcee roles and that job was starting to take its toll. Even limited success can be taxing.

On top of all that, as it turns out in 2009, I was halfway through my stint as play-by-play announcer for Cal State Bakersfield basketball. My seventh season was our third season at the NCAA Division I ranks and one of many painful years as we played a nomad Division I Independent schedule.

At the beginning of December that year, we were three games into a nine-game losing streak but just a few days removed from my one and only appearance at Pauley Pavilion, where we lost to UCLA by 11. We finished 7-22 that year; it would be another half-dozen years before I was able to experience a true championship season.

I certainly learned a lot in 2009 as a career and a life started to take shape. As I look back, I realize that posting a before and after picture doesn’t quite do justice for the amount of growth, knowledge, adversity and benefits we have all reaped from then to now. I am certainly not alone in looking back and saying “wow” when thinking about how much things have changed, but in a relatively short period of time.

My decade challenge results in something that is hardly recognizable when compared to my current status, but I wouldn't change it then and I certainly wouldn’t change it now. That’s a challenge I’m glad I accepted.

Corey Costelloe has covered NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter and broadcaster. A THS graduate, he now resides in Tehachapi. He can be reached at corey.costelloe@gmail.com. The opinions expressed are his own.