Having a good life, or if I get right down to it, any life at all, wasn’t a certainty for me in the beginning. But as I detail in my book, Jay Berry’s Sports Odyssey and Beyond, God and my underage, unwed mother had other ideas. From the Black 14 protest to an unimaginable career in broadcasting, I know I have been blessed. Until recently, I had absolutely no plans for writing a book and sharing some of my experiences with the world . . . especially when I didn’t know where I was headed in the first place.
In the third grade I just wanted to make sure I looked me best for my school picture. (Note my bow tie and pocket square). I was already drawn to fashion even though my clothes were likely donated from Goodwill.
By my high school years at Booker T. Washington in Tulsa, my future appeared bright and it was, however there were storms on the horizon.
But first there was this interception in my first varsity game at the University of Wyoming. It was the beginning of an 88 yard return for a touchdown. Within a month, my football career and undefeated season was over, thanks to a protest (click here to view a video).
Navigating my life after this devastating incident was not easy. In the next few years it became abundantly clear that God had his own ideas for my future, as I turn down my dream of playing in the National Football League and tackle a news career in broadcasting.
It would be an award winning adventure that would lead me to local television in Tulsa, Houston, Chicago and Detroit. Many times I would be one of the first, if not the only African American reporter/anchor delivering the news or sports daily for my respective stations.
Along my journey I have encountered and reported on some of the most amazing personalities from the world of sports and beyond, including: Muhammad Ali, Thomas Hearns, Jacques Cousteau, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Earl Campbell, Isiah Thomas and the Bad Boys, Sparky Anderson, Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, The Russian Five, The Fab Five, U.S. Representative Barbara Jordan, and the Queen, Aretha Franklin—my passenger in her famous Freeway of Love Pink Cadillac video among many others. I am humbled by my experiences.
To sum up Jay Berry’s Sports Odyssey and Beyond . . . this is a story of survival, perseverance and achievement despite my humble beginnings and the challenges I encountered. It also shows anything is possible with God directing your path, even when you don’t know where you’re headed. Take my word, it can be a good life!
Get the Book!
To read more of my story, purchase your copy of Jay Berry’s Sports Odyssey and Beyond: From Turf to Television and the Black 14 Protest on Amazon now!