Britt McHenry On Decision To Stay In Washington: “My Heart Was Here”
WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Just a few weeks ago DC lost one of its most promising television and sports talents to the warm weather and palm trees of Southern California.
Britt McHenry’s announcement that she was leaving her digs at WJLA to join FOX Sports as the sideline reporter for the San Diego Padres was met with a resounding thud among local sports fans.
Sure, it was seemingly a great move for her career, but it would come at the cost of viewers who had grown accustomed to watching a sportscaster with equal parts of beauty, enthusiasm and knowledge.
It was a double blow to the DC region which recently lost Lindsay Czarniak to the bright lights, glitz and glamor of the four-letter network in Bristol.
Following Czarniak’s departure, McHenry stepped into the role of the prominent “sports girl” in the nation’s capital.
Viewers took notice and embraced her.
McHenry was featured on the cover of magazines, had an increasing number of followers on Twitter and was building a solid reputation as a journalist. All the while, she remained passionate and humble to her craft.
And then came an opportunity that could send her propel her career to the next level. She was offered the job in San Diego. In addition to her role with the Padres, the network had plans to use her during its football broadcasts and in other areas.
With her contract at WJLA set to expire in May, the decision was a difficult one that needed to be made quickly.
During an interview with the Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan this week, McHenry said the job was offered to her just one week before the baseball season began.
PHOTOS: BRITT McHENRY JOINS THE JUNKIES
Before the opportunity presented itself, McHenry decided she was going to re-sign with WJLA. She reached that decision after her agent explored possibilities elsewhere, including similar jobs covering the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
As McHenry put it, she finally hit a groove in Washington after a couple of years. She had built professional relationships with many players and gotten to know the public relations staffs of the various teams — an all-important task for any journalist.
Still, the San Diego opportunity was an amazing one. So, she decided to roll the dice and informed WJLA of her decision.
The station gave their blessing with one caveat.
“They were understanding, but expected me to come back and fill the rest of my contract,” McHenry told the Sports Junkies.
FOX agreed to let her do double duty until her current deal expired, but wanted her in San Diego for the opening week of the Padres season. With a green light on both ends, off she went.
It wasn’t long after the plane touched down on the West Coast that McHenry started to re-evaluate her decision.
“I just couldn’t fully get into it because I still had a foot here,” she said. “My heart was here.”
Although the freelance position at FOX was an incredible opportunity, McHenry had fallen in love with Washington and the path her career was already on.
There was a point in her life when she had aspirations of being a sideline reporter. But after getting a taste of it, she wasn’t too cised for the gig, as the Junks would say.
“This definitely helped me see the bigger picture of where I want my career and skill sets to go,” McHenry said of the experience.
Rather than quick hits on game day, the Florida beauty, who admires the art of story telling, has aspirations of feature reporting. She is a fan of the work of Rachel Nichols and Andrea Kremer.
She hadn’t signed anything with FOX before she made her decision to “come back” to DC. The network had also lined up fill-in reporters to use while McHenry was on the East Coast fulfilling the remainder of her contract.
When she returned from San Diego following the first week of the season her agent informed FOX that her heart wasn’t in it and she was going to remain in Washington after all.
“I realized it was more of just loving D.C. and wanting to grow here,” she said.
Shortly thereafter, McHenry put pen to paper on the new contract she had been mentally prepared to sign weeks earlier.
Naturally one could wonder whether the 25-year-old burned a bridge at FOX. McHenry doesn’t think so.
“I think they understood,” she said. “In their eyes, like any employment, they want whoever is there to be really into it. My whole career so far I’ve worked really, really hard. And so, that wasn’t [going to detour] me. I just didn’t feel the complete passion and heartfelt desire to do so as I did here.”
And with that, McHenry was back.
“I realized a lot when I went out there about just making decision in general, whether it’s this business or life,” she stated.
Her decision was based on professional desires and not personal relationships, although she does have a boyfriend in the area (sorry guys). Of course she also hinted that a “Skype relationship” wasn’t really her cup of tea. That may have presented a challenge if McHenry stayed in Southern California.