In the spring of 1993, I got word from The Tennessean, Nashville’s daily newspaper, that I was a finalist for an internship in the features department. Patrick Connolly, one of the editors, called me and said, “To be honest, it’s up to a Vanderbilt student named Leah Stewart. She interned here last year, and if she wants to return we’ll take her. If she decides not to, you have the internship.”
I had, to be blunt, no other offers. Not one. I’d probably applied for, oh, 150 internships, and nobody showed any interest.
Hence, I waited for word on Leah Stewart.
Finally, a few weeks later, Patrick called. “Leah’s decided not to intern here again. It’s yours, if you want it.”
I wanted it.
I write this now, nearly 20 years later, because the story has long reminded me of how one moment … one decision … one move—changes a lifetime.
I interned at The Tennessean, and did well enough to be hired as a staff writer, post-graduation, from the University of Delaware.
I spent 2 1/2 years on staff, wrote a lengthy piece on a Tennessee quarterback named Peyton Manning, and was hired (probably largely off of that) as a reporter at Sports Illustrated.
At Sports Illustrated, I became friends with a fellow reporter, Jon Wertheim.
Jon Wertheim’s wife’s best friend was named Catherine.
I was invited to Jon and Ellie’s wedding—just a fringe guest.
Catherine was the maid of honor. She gave a toast, and my heart fluttered.
I got her number.
We have two kids.