Ryan Silapan, Silapan Says: Looking back on my first year in Oklahoma
When I stepped off the airplane on Aug. 7, 2017 at the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City I couldn’t recall the flight over or the drive into Sallisaw with my boss Jeff Mayo.
I was simply high as a kite. No not that kind of high, I was high on Valium.Anyone that has gotten the opportunity to know me knows how I am petrified of flying and that Valium is among one of the only things that keeps me calm during a flight.
The drive back to Sallisaw was a like blur and fast forward 365 days and my first year as an Oklahoma resident has gone by just as fast.
It has been a whirlwind of a year for me both professionally and personally.
Not only did I have to learn a job in an area that I wasn’t too familiar with at all but for the first time in my life I would be living alone.
As time went on I adjusted to both.
I recall some of my first sports pages I laid as sports editor and sort of cringe of my early doings but as time went on I started getting a clearer picture of what I needed to do to make it more presentable and easier to read.
Same thing at home I recall going to shop at Walmart — something I had never done in my life prior to moving to Sallisaw — and buying enough food that would last a couple of days and go out to eat the others.
Eventually I realized that eating out all the time got expensive after awhile and instead of buying food for a couple of days to buy food and have it try to last a week.
finding my footing
As much as I’ve improved with laying out the sports pages I’ve improved on my grocery shopping and not only buying enough food to last for weeks at a time but cleaning out my diet and eating healthier.
Ever since I came back on July 8 from my vacation to visit my family and friends in California I’ve rededicated myself to my fitness and have gone to the gym at least three or four times a week and have seen an improvement in my body as well as my overall well being.
Over this past year I’ve gotten to cover some of the biggest sporting events in my life to date.
I got to cover Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and the University of Tulsa’s home football openers.
I even got to go a game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Field as fan when the Sooners knocked off TCU to take command of the Big 12 Conference of which they would later go on to win.
Speaking of the Big 12, I was lucky enough to secure a credential and actually cover the Big 12 football title game at AT&T Stadium home of the Dallas Cowboys.
I’ll never forget that day because I had to wake up at 4:15 a.m. and was out the door at 4:45 a.m. to drive to Arlington, Texas for the game that started at 10 a.m.
That was my first time ever being in the state of Texas.
In one year I’ve gotten to cover sporting events in Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas.
Prior to coming to Oklahoma I had never left Northern California to cover a sporting event.
I owe a great deal to Mayo for allowing me the opportunities to go out and cover these types of sporting events as well as taking a shot on me.
As confident I was in my capabilities Mayo took a shot in hiring a guy from the Central Coast of California who before moving to Oklahoma only knew that’s the state where the Thunder, Sooners and the Oklahoma State Cowboys play.
That’s kind of about it in regards to what I knew about the state.
It doesn’t stop there as truthfully I can say Mayo probably saved my journalism career.
Before I was hired to be the sports editor of Your TIMES I was unemployed for nearly two months and after being turned down for multiple sports writing positions I was about to give up on being a sports writer and get a normal job. Something I definitely did not imagine or want to do.
I decided to stick with it a couple of more weeks and I got the e-mail that changed everything.
Mayo emailed me to see if I was interested in the job and I was so we set up a Skype interview and it went well enough for him to decide to fly me out to Oklahoma and give me a lay of the land.
After a couple of days we talked and I ended up signing on the dotted line before I flew back to California to pack my bags, say my farewells and get ready to begin my new life.
A life I am happy to say I’m truly enjoying.
There are some pitfalls though as I am in Eastern Oklahoma all-alone with my nearest relatives all the way in Arizona and all my immediate family 1,500-plus miles away in California.
There are moments where I get a little home sick and miss my family but that’s to be expected
It’s okay though because I am fortunate enough to have an awesome boss and co-workers that I’m incredibly lucky to work with who have helped make this year go by so incredibly fast and smooth.
Then there’s all the local athletes and coaches that I’ve gotten the pleasure and joy of covering as well as so many of the parents of the kids that have been so welcoming and courteous from the very beginning.
I recall telling Mayo during the interviewing process that I’m not going to be your usual sports person. I’ll interact with the kids pregame, postgame, shoot postgame video interviews — something that has taken a life of its own — as well as interact with them on Twitter.
Are those things in my job description? No. Are they things the kids enjoy and something I like doing? Absolutely.
But to think it’s been over a year since I’ve been in Oklahoma is just crazy to me.
This was a move I’m glad I made, I needed to make for the sake of my career and for a chance to start fresh.
After a bit of a rocky start Oklahoma much like the heat and humidity this summer Oklahoma has warmed to me.
So here’s to another year of me being the sports editor of Your TIMES and together let’s make it even better than the first.
Ryan Silapan is the sports editor of Your TIMES you can follow him on Twitter @RyanSilapan or reach him at 918-775-4433