EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to “Off Camera with. . .,” a Front Row series that introduces you to some of the studio anchors who have recently joined ESPN. Today we meet Will Cain, who joined ESPN in March 2015 as a contributor whose work appears across the company’s various platforms.
Favorite sports moment: The best moments, I think, for sports fans are when your expectations reside on the extremes. When you are in that “I know, and you know, my team is better than yours and at no point am I insecure about losing this game or season” cocky mind-set, it’s awesome when your team meets your expectations.
I had that with the ’90s Dallas Cowboys. I had it again in 2005 with the Texas Longhorns. Fourth-and-7? Thirty seconds left? Down four? No problem. Watch Vince Young slip three tackles and get this. On the other hand, when you have absolutely no expectations and every win is an I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening treat…that’s the best. I had that with the 2011 Dallas Mavericks.
Favorite movie: My knee-jerk [answer is] favorite movie is “The Big Lebowski.” It’s responsible for more shallow-yet-completely-revealing conversation between guys who barely know each other than any other piece of art. You can conduct an entire conversation with only lines from The Big Lebowski and know everything you need to about the person you’re talking with. However, “Lonesome Dove” caused me to move to Montana for a year.
Favorite music: Country. But not this new “bro-country” garbage. I’ve heard that when you reach a certain age, you just stop. Stop evolving. Stop changing. Stop everything. I must have done that at an early age because as far as I’m concerned you can play “Amarillo By Morning” on loop. It doesn’t get better than guys like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings or George Strait. Although, Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell are giving it a try.
Favorite place to travel: Hawaii
Favorite food: Mexican
Favorite advice/Words of Wisdom: I have spent much of my career as an entrepreneur. I’ve started several media companies. Some were successes and some were failures. I’m fascinated by failure; true, risk-it-all, face-in-the-mud failure.
Sara Blakely, the self-made billionaire founder of Spanx, has said that at the dinner table her dad would ask his kids “what they failed at this week.” It made Blakely reframe the concept of failure as something not to fear. Similarly, Al Neuharth, the one-time CEO of Gannett and creator of USA Today, said he hoped his kids had one great failure before the age of 30. If they hadn’t, they weren’t risking enough. And if they fail after 30, it’s harder to recover.
One book everyone should read: “The Rational Optimist.”
Pet Peeve: Small talk.
Thankful for: My family. Marrying my wife is the best thing I ever accomplished and it started with a failure. We dated for a bit in college in California. At that time I wasn’t, um… mature enough for her. But an Olympic volleyball player was. Five years later, both of us back in Texas, and me having matured (?), I got her. I won. Now we have two wonderful sons, Charlie and West.