September 4, 2018

Perseverance pays off in long run

It's easy to forget how we all started out small and weak. Our strength came over time with repeated effort. And we did things back-assward sometimes, not figuring out how to navigate life in the speed of light.

We forget how our personalities evolved ... or at least the sharp edges eroded just enough to say we grew up a bit. Eating crow was often followed by a slice of humble pie.

I often think back on the times I learned the hard way, especially when at a crossroad.

It sure was wild that winter of 1988-89. There were crazy parties and one heart-breaking "infatu-love" that sent me for a loop. By the time spring rolled around, a slew of friends were seeing me off at the CPR Station off Oak Street in North Bay. A Via-Rail ticket to Vancouver in one hand and everything I owned coming with me.

I had been renting a house with two other guys on Fifth Avenue. We had a good time at that place. A Bank of Nova Scotia guy owned it. We had chipped in on a $300 Lincoln that never made it out of our driveway. Some nights, a bunch of us would pile in there for some beers and joking about being on a road trip.

The call to go west came hard that winter as I neared the scary age of 24, a time with pressure to make a life-changing gamble. Blame it on too many Jack London novels. I quit my good-paying job that started in the president's office at Canadore College and moved into a public affairs department.

For no good reasonable explanation that job scared the hell out of me. Or more accurately, committing to a life of public relations without first checking out the world as a journalist gave me cold sweats. That and the daily migration to the cafeteria. Every. Damn. Day.

There might have been a bit of girl stuff going on as well, but that's another story.

Fact is, I was pulling up stakes and heading to the coast to see what's out there. All there was waiting at the other end was an interview with the publisher of the Peace Arch News in White Rock, BC, a conservative little seaside hamlet on the Canada-US border.

It helped that my Uncle Dave and his family was well settled in Vancouver and they provided a welcoming landing pad and safety net, of sorts.

The plot thickened, however, when it turned out my ex girlfriend was taking the same train to Banff, Alberta with a job at the resort waiting for her.

Unfortunately, I fell in love again before we even hit the prairies.

To make a long story longer, I got the job, was let go in seven weeks, and by August drove back across Canada in a beat up Mustang with a spare tire tied to the roof. Four months after leaving, I was back in North Bay with hat in hand, bumming a couch and looking for work.

So what's this story have to do with Dylan trying weights on a bar for one of the first times ever (at least his first time pressing crappy outside garbage like I had)? And how exactly is this about sports and fitness? 

Well, the first job I got after coming back here with my tail between my legs was as the sports guy for the North Bay Independent. I quit that and soon found a job in Kapuskasing as the sports editor for the Northern Times. I left there to take a regional sports editor position at a weekly covering Simcoe County out of Orillia. 

And, as it turns out, I stretched out my tenure at the North Bay Nugget by picking up the sports reporting lead after the editors were gone. The timing co-incided with my son's last two years of high school sports and helped keep earning a steady paycheque heading into his university years. 

Good thing I kept trying back at the beginning.


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