When I was four, I wanted to be a fire truck. Not the firefighter, just the truck. I wanted to take the firefighters to the fire and then let them deal with it.
Honetly though, I wanted to be a sportscaster since I was 12 years old. I would listen to the calls of Maple Leaf games or watch TSN and know that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a sports journalist. I watched the networks endlessly. I idolized Cabbie, a personality on The Score (now with TSN) who was so effortless and fun in his interviews. I was going to be that guy, and I told everyone.
A few relatives heard what I wanted to be and told me this:
“Oh, no. Don’t do that. That’s not worthy of your skills and your brain power. It’s not worth it.”
Fun fact: If you tell a twelve-year-old that something isn’t worth it and is a bad idea, they’re likely to listen to you.
So I didn’t pursue it. Instead, I went into what was considered a more noble profession: teaching. I went off to university, and through my academics I really learned what my skills were. My best skills might be talking, writing, and researching. What skills do you need to be a journalist?
They also help in standup (which I love) and public speaking (which I love) and this website (you get the idea, right?).
I eventually did follow my dream and did a post-grad in Sports Journalism and it was one of the most fulfilling academic experiences of my life. Calling basketball games on the radio was a thrill. Interviewing athletes and Olympians was a dream. It was hard, but it was worth it.
Eventually I got to intern at TSN. I met a wrestler I loved watching growing up. I met Cabbie. This was the life.
I’m now in another field I discovered and fell in love with (what up, student affairs) that fulfills me. It’s also great, because I can continue to do what I love on the side while working here. This year I’m going to be calling Lakehead basketball games on the radio and for OUA TV. It’s a Hannah Montana, best of both worlds situation.\
So what’s the point in me telling you this? It’s pretty simple: don’t be that relative.
Support what kids are interested in. If they discover an interest in makeup, science, woodworking, whatever. Support them, encourage them, and tell them to give it their best shot. In life, it is not up to you to decide if what makes people happy is worthy of their work. I know bosses who are miserable and bartenders who are peachy because they love their work. Encourage them to try new things and be open, but stoke that fire when you see it ignite in someone.
I had most of my family support me in wanting to be a sports journalist, but those few people managed to sway me enough to not pursue what is a dream career. Instead of being them, be the ones who support and nurture those dreams. Sometimes they will pan out, and sometimes they won’t, but they’ll never know unless you let them try.
*Authors note – I wrote this out all at once and tried to publish it and it deleted. That was slightly enraging. Always remember to save your work, people. Nothing else, this is just a PSA.*