That seems like a bit of an odd title for a blog post written by a 22-year-old. Mainly because, I should consider myself grown up at this point. And I do. But up until this point, I hadn’t decided exactly what it was I wanted to do. I had a very strong, very focused idea, but I hadn’t nailed it down from two or three choices.
As I prepare to begin schooling at the College of Sports Media in September, I figure it would probably be a good idea to get a head start on everyone else there. I already am ahead of the game because of my experience, but this can’t hurt either. But the bottom line is, I’ve figured out what I want to do, as well as thought about and accepted the road I might need to take to get there.
Being the play-by-play voice of a hockey team is where my heart lies. Of all the things I’ve had the experience of trying my hand at so far, this was the most enjoyable. My time as a radio host was phenomenal, and if there’s a way to work that into my career as well, then I’ll be thrilled. Fact of the matter is that I believe this is what I was meant to do. As a little kid, I would mute the volume on my video games to provide my own calls. I’d create games with hockey cards, or the little figures used for table-top hockey games. And every time I provided a narrative for the action I was creating.
When the opportunity came up for me to be the colour commentator for the Carleton Ravens in the fall of 2009, I jumped at it. I wanted the job of my partner, but it was agreed that once he graduated after the season was done, I would have the main gig for my senior year. Luckily for me, Mr. Geoff Ives was called upon to increase his role with Rogers Community TV, allowing me to step into my dream job half a season early. I took the roll and ran with it, and had the time of my life for those remaining games and the entire 2010-11 season. I put a lot of work into preparing for each game, and when I was done, I was proud of what I’d accomplished. I enjoyed receiving positive feedback from fans. People don’t come up to you and compliment your work if they think you stink. They just walk by you, so I can say with strong confidence that my accolades were genuine. I got to know the coaches, and the players, and that was something I really enjoyed. I love that I could bump into two of the Ravens on the street in downtown Ottawa, and I’d be able to stop and chat with them for a few moments. I’m obviously not “one of the guys” on the team, but I’m about the next closest thing. And that’s fine with me. I’ve known for years my dreams of making it to the NHL as player were dead. This is my golden ticket in the side door.
Now I also realize you don’t just jump out of school and say “hey, I wanna replace Jim Hughson on Hockey Night in Canada.” (Although by the looks of it n Twitter, hockey fans of every Canadian team except Vancouver would welcome that move.) I know I’m decades away from the ultimate dream. And there’s a long, mysterious path ahead. I figure like most players, I’d have to go to junior first. This could be as simple as going down the 401 to call games for Kitchener or London. However, it could mean stretching to the edges of this great country. It might mean going to Halifax, or PEI; it could be Kamloops, or Medicine Hat. I’ve always been fascinated by the west, even though I’ve never been there. Having a job out there might be what it takes for me to finally experience it. And my very brief time in the Maritimes made me fall in love with the area. I’d be more than happy with that alternative as well. I almost prefer a job on one of the edges of the country. Leaving Toronto for Ottawa four years ago for school was one of the best decisions I ever made. I’m happy to be back in Toronto, and hope to be for a long time eventually. But in the interim, I wouldn’t mind being elsewhere.
Of course it could mean heading south, to call NCAA or AHL games first. It’s also a scenario I’d welcome. See, I haven’t done a lot of travelling, and while neither of these situations offer up exotic, tropical vacations, I’d love to see as much of this continent as possible. Travelling for work would be fun; I can save the other stuff for my holidays. I know I’ll have to put in my work, long hours on buses and grimy hotels and motels with the teams most likely, just like the players that I’ll be covering as we all chase our dream.
It might not be the most glamorous job in the world to some, but to me, there’s nothing I want to do more. Then hopefully one day there will be a generation of fans recalling fondly to each other some magical line or catchphrase I uttered during the game they’ll never forget. Ohh baby. Everything is happening. Or at least I hope it will be soon.