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Do What You Love

Some of you might know me. I’m fortunate enough to be one of the writers for Russell Street Report, a site that covers the Baltimore Ravens and also Eutaw Street Report, which focuses upon the Baltimore Orioles. Being able to write for each has been a blessing in my life. Do what you love! And since the day I took that leap of faith to write full-time, to become a cyber journalist, I’ve never looked back.

It all started back during the Winter of 2001 when my son and daughter were 8 and 7, respectively. While driving them to school one morning my daughter Tori asked, “Dad, why do we have to go to school?”

I paused momentarily before responding. On this particular day, I went philosophical on my little girl and delivered an answer that was clearly a deeper dive than she expected or even wanted.

“Well Tori, your education is important. When you’re older it provides you with options. And when you do finish your education, be sure to choose a profession you love so much, that you’d do it for free. That way, you will live happier because you’ll never feel like you’ve worked a day in your life. Do what you love, love what you do!”

She hesitated a bit before responding. I looked in the rearview mirror to see if the message was received as intended. But it was obvious that my newly discovered credo was too much for her young mind to embrace. Her eyes seemed to roll in her head like a slot machine. Finally, she said, “Dad, when you pick us up from school can we go to McDonald’s?”

I smiled, nodded approvingly and momentarily got lost in these words of wisdom. I fell into a trance of sorts, marveling at the message while pondering its origin. Where did this mantra come from? The thought was a deep dive for me yet looked at another way, beautifully simplistic – do what you love, love what you do…

Many times, over the course of the next year or so, I reminisced about that morning drive along the winding road called Long Green Pike. While reminiscing I often thought of my parents. They were awesome. I loved them dearly and they raised me and my sister in a loving family. We didn’t have much but he had all we needed. Growing up, it was never really about having what you wanted. It was more about wanting what you had. And mostly, that was each other.

That said, I can’t lie – I wondered aloud why my parents hadn’t said something similar to me. Why didn’t they encourage me to pursue a passion? To do what I love?

And then one day, I had an epiphany. Picture the Grinch on that mountain top, struggling to hold on to that sleigh loaded with all of Whoville’s Christmas presents. That ephiphany was life changing for The Grinch – as mine was for me.

Would I take my own advice? Could a 41-year old man take that mantra and own it?

I could feel a lift within my body.

“I am going to do this!”, I thought. I am going to take that chance – to pursue my passion and if I fail, so what! I’d rather try and fail than never to have tried at all.

We launched Ravens24x7.com on July 3, 2003, one day after my son’s 11th birthday. I’ve never looked back. Today we call the site Russell Street Report after being forced by the Ravens to change our name – a move that they claim was necessary to protect their brand. It all worked out in the end for everyone.

Today RSR is a well-established brand. It practically runs itself in many ways, thanks to the outstanding collection of talent that we’ve been able to recruit over the years. Every one of our writers was a stranger to me prior to Ravens24x7.com. Now they are friends and if for some unknown and highly unlikely reason, RSR ended, the journey would be considered an overwhelming success if for no other reason, than the wonderful people I’ve met along the way.

And now, my journey has taken on a new and exciting twist.

Please allow me to explain…

I love my city of Baltimore. But I’m also saddened by it. It is in a state of decay and we’re watching it fall apart right before our very eyes. The news that envelops, the news that the media purports, is laced with despair. And that sets a dark tone. It invites more of the same.

But Baltimore and the surrounding area, isn’t all about doom and gloom. Our town consists of so many thoughtful, caring, selfless and generous people who are the authors of inspiring stories – heartfelt tales that soothe the soul. These stories need to be told. They need to be shared because the more they are brought to the collective forefront of our civic consciousness, the more we’ll crave them.

The good news will become infectious. It will invigorate your imagination and then you too will want to share or even create your own good news stories. Our job is to bring such things to life. Instead of crawling through the charred embers of a seemingly smoldering community, let’s bathe in its light. We know it’s there. It only needs an outlet to ignite its glow.

That outlet, is here, on the pages of Thumbs Up 247.

The uplifting stories are all around us. Let’s not allow the media’s negativity to blind us from them.

Together, let’s open our eyes to positivity.

Together, let’s put a shine on our city.

Like the moon and the stars and the Thumbs Up 247.

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Tony Lombardi
Besides his work here at Thumbs Up 247, Tony is the founder EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com. His work has been featured on various sports websites and he hosts The Russell Street Recap. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. Drop him a note at TL@ThumbsUp247.com.

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