Yesterday, I was in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport waiting for my one-way flight to my Foreign Service debut in Bogotá. Of course, my flight was delayed because that airport always lives up to the name I gave it 1 ½ years ago. So while I was hanging out in the relative peace and quiet of Gate F2, I enjoyed a conversation with a professional associate who was offering her well wishes as I embarked upon this journey as a Foreign Service Facility Manager. She said something that struck me: “You didn’t get this far to fail. Go and do great things. Show them who you are and make them remember you”. Those words reminded me of a music track that I heard quite often a few years ago. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: Lauren Alaina’s “History”.
How I first came across this moment? I first heard the song during a promo for the 2015 Notre Dame-Clemson contest on ESPN Saturday Night Football on ABC. It was about a month into the 2015 FBS season and I happened to be watching an episode of Fresh Off the Boat when the promo aired during a commercial break.
What it meant to me then? In the moment, I just saw it as another ESPN promotion of the College Football Playoff. They did, after all, use Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries” in promos to generate interest for the College Football Playoff during the 2014 FBS season. The Ohio State-Penn State and TCU-West Virginia promos from that year stood out for 2 reasons: (1) the contests were very pivotal to the CFP and (2) the victors went on the road and stole tough games in raucous environments. Hearing Lauren Alaina’s track for 2015 brought in a bit of a different feel to the buildup for that year’s games. The whole “Brace yourself/It all goes down tonight” part stole it…especially with voiceovers by Chris Fowler. I didn’t really think of it too much outside of the context it was presented.
What it means to me now? That track has a totally different appeal to me now. The lyrics of significance are: “Until the end of days, they’ll remember our names/Brace yourself/It all goes down tonight/Time will time who’s here for the hardest fight/You’re gonna hear the fire in our hearts beating/Because we didn’t get this far to get defeated/We want to world to see/World to see/That we’re coming for the victory…victory/You’re know I’m making history/History…history/We’re making history”. In Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries”, they noted “Some legends are told/Some turn to dust or to gold/But you will remember me/Remember me for centuries”. I thought those lyrics were representative of what the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes did and for what my own individual goals are in my professional industry. I want to be remembered for my greatness as a facility manager. So that “Until the end of days, they’ll remember our names” was more like “they’ll remember my name” to me personally. The rest of it basically spoke to one taking advantage of a moment. For me, that’s exactly what the scenario is: me taking advantage of a moment. It’s all happening for me right here, during this tour in Colombia and my time here will definitely show if I’m in this for the long fight. This is my dream job so I definitely have a certain fire beating in my heart and I’ve worked too hard and sacrificed too much to fail. For me, the goal is to be a winner of the Department of State’s David E. Foy Memorial Award for Excellence in Facility Management. I want to be the youngest and first Black winner of that honor. I want to prove to all detractors that I’m a star in the industry. So those lyrics definitely speak life to me right now. They’ll serve as my theme going forward.