I enjoy being an introspective person, one who can usually think through an issue by turning through a variety of thoughts and feelings within my own mind. There also comes a time when I’m required to be retrospective; I would say celebrating one’s 40th birthday is the appropriate moment.
To be clear, turning 40 is very anti-climactic in 2020. I mean, it is 2020 and there are plenty of issues limiting a proper 40th celebration, but that is OK with me. I celebrated by heading off to the woods where I could put a line in the water and teach my boys about proper fishing. I’ll take that any day.
I know we are all tired of the wear and tear the reaction to COVID-19 has on our lives, so, there was no way I was going to allow this virus to make me ungrateful on my 40th. I’ll be honest; you probably will not meet a more grateful person than yours truly. In retrospect, I’ve had a pretty blessed 40 years on this Earth, many of which were right here in this community in which I choose to reside today.
I have dabbled in a few different worlds; that is by design. Whenever the day comes when I do not have birthdays to celebrate, I want people from those different worlds to think “was that the same guy?” Yep, surprise, the duality of man can be an incredible asset. Most of you recognize me from this world, from these pages, the games, the sports, the broadcasts and so on. That world has been incredibly generous over the years.
I think about where I started, to where I went and where I eventually belonged, and that is a wild and grateful ride. So many people from family, mentors, teachers, friends and coworkers have had a part in that process. I am grateful for their input and their place in my world. I started out as a kid from a small town trying to get into the broadcasting business at a small no-name college in the big city of San Diego. From there it took a couple of stops along the way and some luck to end up in some of the most prestigious college and professional sports arenas. That includes my swan song at Madison Square Garden. Fitting, in retrospect, considering the first roots of the Costelloe family were sown at Ellis Island and eventually nearby Brooklyn, N.Y.
I’ve done, seen and been a part of things that kids dream about. I know for a fact because I was that kid with that dream, they do come true, but only with a certain level of commitment. Nothing angers me more than Americans referring to “privilege.” I will be the first to admit, I worked for my privilege, every waking second of it. There isn’t anything easy about earning your way onto the NFL sidelines as a reporter or working your way into a play-by-play booth as you head to the NCAA Tournament. The trials along the way included plenty of rejections and less-than-glamourous assignments and long evenings on the road getting from game to game on a shoestring paycheck, hoping, actually, knowing someday it would pay off.
We can only harvest what we plant, and much of my harvest has included once-in-a-lifetime experiences that took me from the racetracks of Bakersfield to hanging out in the pits with some of NASCAR’s all-time greats. I once interviewed Ron Hornaday while he smoked a cigarette in the shade of his hauler and listened to the legendary “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville” Bill Elliott share a little insight to his Hall of Fame career. There are many more stories like that to tell, but not enough time.
I will share more of those stories as I actively experience new ones along the way. I would say the first 40 years, which took me from the dusty roads of Tehachapi to the West Wing of the White House and created unbelievable friendships, set the bar pretty high. I cannot wait to see what’s around that next dusty turn.
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 email@example.com. The opinions expressed are his own.