I have. We all have. Here’s mine…
Remember Ananda Lewis? She was an MTV VJ back in the late 90s. (Google her; you’ll remember.) Here she is in case you need a refresher:
Before she was on MTV, she hosted a show called Teen Summit on BET (Black Entertainment Television). And when she left BET for greener pastures at MTV, I auditioned to become her replacement.
It was my senior year at the University of Michigan, and with mere months until I earned my bachelor’s degree in communications, I wanted nothing more than to line up a job in broadcasting. So I stalked hounded the higher-ups at BET for months. Months. I wrote letters. I mailed countless audition tapes. I even sent flip-flops with my photo on them with a caption that read I just want to get my foot in the door.
And guess what?
My persistence paid off. One day, I got a call from a Teen Summit producer who said that auditions were being held for Ananda’s spot. And I was invited.
My mom and I flew to BET studios in Washington D.C., and the next thing I knew, I was on a soundstage – so close to my then dream job I could taste it.
And then the teleprompter (which I had never read from before) went up…and I shut down.
I still don’t exactly know what happened. All I know is that words were rolling up the monitor faster than I could read them, I nervously began speaking gibberish adlibbing, and despite not being fully aware of anything at that point, I can tell you – with complete and utter certainty – that I felt every bead of perspiration as they slid down my back.
My golden chance was literally slipping through my fingers like sand at the beach, and I remember thinking that my career was FUBAR before it even really began.
Now, as I reflect on that day with the benefit of hindsight, I can say that it’s all good. A year after that horrendous debacle, I signed my first television contract to report the evening news for a CBS affiliate in Columbia, South Carolina (WLTX-TV). And, subsequently, I’m now a pro at reading teleprompter: I can read that sucker while I hang from a tight-rope and paint my toenails at the same time.
To be clear, I don't have any regrets. I, personally, feel that regret is a wasted emotion. I realize that changing even the tiniest detail of my past would alter the entire trajectory of my life's path...which would not make sitting here typing this -- or even having my family -- a sure thing.
Again, absolutely no regrets here.
I ended up making a respectable career in broadcasting, and while I don’t think about that ill-fated audition often, when I look back on the road I’ve traveled, it does cross my mind. What if?
My husband Scott has experienced a similar scenario. The Detroit Lions get razzed all the time about not having made it to a Super Bowl yet. But in 1991 – Scott’s rookie year – the team was one game away from the Super Bowl. Meaning, had they won this particular play-off contest against the Washington Redskins, they would have been one of two teams in the 1992 Super Bowl.
Scott will be the first to tell you that he didn’t play his best that day – and the team as a whole didn’t either.
That said, several years later, Scott still wonders: What if the Lions had won? What if?
And so I ask you: What’s the one situation you would do over if you had a second chance?
Courtney Conover is a mom of two and wife of an ex-NFL player. She has more Legos, hair products, and NFL memorabilia than she knows what to do with. She blogs at The Brown Girl with Long Hair