By: Joe Cardoso
Back like we never left a new edition of Movers and Shakers and this month we have a local flavor to it. Being from Maryland I try to not miss a chance to show the DMV some love for those who don’t know DMV stands for (District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia) our guests is born and raised in the area and has become a household name to many on our radios and TVs. With a nonstop grind and hustle that would make Jay Z jealous he is quickly rising the local sports rankings as a name everyone knows. He also finds time to be a family man and try to help us older guys in shape and motivated to get in shape. Coming at you from St. Mary’s County Maryland lets get to know Travis Thomas.
Joe Cardoso: Growing up in southern Maryland I know sports are BIG, what did you play growing up and how did sports help shape you?
Travis Thomas: I was never much of an athlete. All my friends were. So naturally, I hung out with them and played all the same sports. Basketball, Football, and Lacrosse were the primary sports I played, but I dabbled in Softball, Boxing, Taekwondo & Jiu-Jitsu throughout my lifetime. Ultimately, I realized as a teenager, I had no future as a pro athlete and searched for a different lane within sports.
JC: When did you know media and more importantly sports media was what you wanted to do?
TT: Once my dreams of being a pro athlete were crushed by reality, I started thinking of a master plan to work in the sports field. I looked at Coaching and thought about Sports Psychology or Sports Agency work. Ultimately the personality traits that God blessed me with led me to broadcasting. I was never afraid to speak in front of people or a camera and I grew up watching Stuart Scott who made me believe somebody who looked and talked like me could make it.
JC: The grind in the business is legendary how was the journey for you? And what is your best story during the “come up” phase for you?)
TT: I feel like I embody the word grind. I was a young phenom in this industry while still attending Towson University in Baltimore. I worked for the Orioles, was a part-time Sports Producer at WJZ TV 13 and On-Air Part Time at 105.7 The Fan while I was a Junior in College-Beyond! I worked my way up to the DC Market in 2007. My Mothers sudden death in 2009 led me to leave the industry and moving back home to St Marys MD. I worked for my Dad four years in the Transportation Business and ultimately ended up doing local TV down there. God put me back in this field for a reason and now my “grind” is on a different level until I die and see Mom again.
JC: Fitness and wanting to live healthier is everywhere, what made you jump in and get involved?
TT: It’s just living my truth. I’m a jock at heart. I’ve always loved staying explosive and functional for sports. Injuries and genetics have failed my body! My mind and spirit are invincible though, so now I just stay in shape. Since I don’t compete anymore, my competitive nature makes me want to help people achieve the best version of themselves. I’m on the journey with them.
JC: How has having a child changed things for you?
TT: I’ve become more primal. All I think about every second of every day is providing and protecting. My Wife and Son are everything to me. I was born ambitious, but they have made me realize ambition is not enough. Execution is the key to success.
JC: If you weren’t doing sports media, we would find Travis doing______?
TT: I’d be an entrepreneur and a youth coach. My four years at home after my Mom passed were on the job training for business ownership. My Father has been in the Transport Biz for nearly 50 years. His Father passed it on to him, to begin with, so it’s in my blood. I enjoyed volunteer youth coaching during that time frame as well and it was very natural for me. There was something fulfilling about teaching kids the right way to compete and sharing my life lessons with them along the way. I can’t wait to coach my son.
JC: For those who don’t know how would you describe the DMV sports scene and fan bases?
TT: Well I’ll speak to DC specifically. The scene and fan base are two different things. The scene is transient because the DC area is transient. You can find a sports bar for every team in this city. That’s a great thing obviously! It is different than my time in Baltimore, where everybody was an O’s & Ravens fan. There’s something beautiful about both if you ask me. The fan base in DC is die hard. Redskins, Capitals, Wizards, Colleges, DC United, unmatched. Baltimore and Virginia same thing for those teams. There is something about this North Eastern area mixed with some Southern vibes and values that make people really ride for what they love.
JC: How important is it to you to be a positive role model for African American men especially in sports where most of the superstars look like you?
TT: It drives me. I don’t think me, and an athlete have the same responsibilities when it comes down to it. On the surface, it may appear that way. As black men, we ALL have a responsibility to carry ourselves with class and be proud of who we are. I look deeper than that. I feel like I want to show young black girls and boys that if you don’t have a jump shot or you aren’t the fastest, but you love sports, you have a lane. I was inspired by those who opened the door for me in this industry, I want to do the same for not just the next generation, but I want to be in textbooks one day for several generations.
JC: Have you had that moment yet where you look around and say, “How did I get this lucky to be here?”
TT: Everyday. Not just my job, but my family. It’s remarkable what death teaches you about life. I am so introspective now since losing my Mom. My biggest fear was losing her. Now that she’s gone, I am still here. I overcame dark days, I overcame a career change, I overcame breakups and in the big picture, I overcame fear. Those experiences have taught me to appreciate life and possibility.
JC: Without giving it all away what’s on deck for the rest of 2018 for you?
TT: NBC Sports Washington believes in me as a host and I want to continue to prove to them they made the right choice. I have the range and people will be blown away when they see me doing other sports and even more serious types of hard-hitting stories. My Radio career is popping as well because the good folks at 106.7 The Fan also see my vision. So, I will continue my growth in both of those areas. I’m hosting the Santana Moss Podcast so look out for me and my man to blow up with that soon. I also have my own free website where you can get uncensored sports takes and fitness tutorials as well: travisthomasexperience.com. I’m trying to find my way into the wine business at some point as well. That’s a big goal for me and I won’t stop until I reach it.
JC: You are a foodie! Go to meal from app to dessert.
TT: I’m not a traditional foodie, my Wife owns that title in our house. I’m a simple man. My app would be old bay or lemon pepper wings. My entree is steak (porterhouse), mac & cheese, and asparagus. I’m not a big sweets guy so I usually skip dessert. I’m a big wine guy so I’d wash all that down with a glass of Pinot Noir.
JC: What would be the perfect DMV sports experience for you. Who are you going to see play, where are we pre-gaming and going afterward?
TT: Believe it or not I’m not a big going to the sporting events guy. I prefer watching at home or in the studio for work. My perfect DMV Sports Experience would be a Final Four at Capital One Arena. I would just hang around downtown all weekend, going into different sports bars and vibing with the out of towners. For the actual games though, I’d be at the crib with family and friends getting crunk! Fewer felonies that way.
JC: Who is Travis Thomas?
TT: Travis Thomas is an experience. I’m unique and I’m unapologetically me. I love people and I love having a good time. I am grateful for every day and grateful for the opportunity to chase my dreams. I love my family and friends. I am a savage when it comes to my craft and I won’t rest until I’m a household name.
How can you NOT be PUMPED after reading that? Travis is going to be “that dude” sooner rather than later and its people like him that inspire me to keep grinding and focused. Make sure to follow him on his social media accounts and websites.
I can’t thank Travis enough for making time for me and giving an outstanding interview. Until next time people always hustle chase dreams and keep moving forward.