Archive for September, 2016

Sly Dog

When you’re in a long term relationship, I think it’s important to surprise the other person every now and then. Not by jumping out of a closet, but with small gestures that come completely unexpectedly.

Take today for example. She thinks I’m meeting her in downtown ┬áToronto after work, but actually I’m not in work at all today, so I’m taking the early train to Toronto and meeting her at the airport.

Posting about this publicly while she’s in the air adds to the fun a little, and with minimal risk. Even if she’s impatient and connects to Pearson’s WiFi while waiting at customs or baggage claim, she’ll see this perhaps half an hour before I see her, and she’ll emerge with a huge smile on her face.

Worth it either way.

Gamer’s Bane

Three words that’ll strike fear into the heart of any self-respecting gamer: Repetitive Motion Injury.

I’d been good up until now – no mean feat given the sheer amount of time I spent gaming.

I always heeded the warnings that used to come with every game purchase. Take breaks. Stop if you feel pain.

But the addition of a job that requires a lot of typing seems to have been too much. My dominant hand is out of commission.

It’s frustrating more than anything. Typing one-handed is a pain. Cleaning my apartment with one hand is a chore. And worst of all, I haven’t been able to play video games for two weeks now.

It sounds like a minor gripe, but this is my number one hobby we’re talking about here. I don’t think I’ve ever gone two weeks without gaming before. Not since I was very young anyhow. And now suddenly I’m not able to do this thing that I love.

Here’s hoping this goes away soon. October/November is prime time for game releases, and I don’t want to miss out because of a stupid injury.

Look Down

This may fly in the face of the conventional wisdom which says “don’t look down”, but people need to look down more often.

People are so obsessed with looking up – with looking forward, with looking ahead – that they forget to glance behind them every now and then to see how far they’ve come.

I’ve got a friend named Matt. He’s got a deep booming voice and he loves the Maple Leafs. In grade nine I told him that he was destined to be the next Maple Leafs announcer when longtime announcer Andy Frost retired, and Matt surprised me by telling me that actually, that’s his dream.

And both of us looked up at this goal of his; this great, impossibly distant goal of his.

It was a lofty goal even under the best of circumstances. There’s only one such position in all the world, and it only opens up once every few decades. Even still, that was Matt’s goal. He was going to go for it with everything he had.

And did he ever go for it.

He started by taking up the job as the announcer for our high school’s games. Before high school was over he was a regular caller on Andy Frost’s post-game radio show, and Mr. Frost himself – the man he wanted to someday replace – acknowledged him as a young man with a bright hockey mind.

Matt kept it going from there. He got a job on local TV doing analysis for minor league hockey. He got a job as a producer on a weekly radio show on TSN, one of the country’s two big sports networks. He got a gig interviewing Masai Ujiri, the Raptors’ General Manager, in front of a group of over a hundred people.

Along the way he’s met a ton of really cool people in the world of sports. Former and current professional players, famous analysts, front office staff, radio hosts, you name it. People that your average sports fan such as myself would be lucky to meet even once, Matt is on a first name basis with. It’s unreal.

The whole time, Matt has been looking up, at the work left to be done. Never down, at what he’s already accomplished.

This past summer, it happened: Andy Frost retired. Or rather, he was forced into retirement. The point being, that coveted position of Maple Leafs’ Announcer was open, for only the fourth time ever.

And so of course, Matt submitted an audition tape and an application along with many other hopeful young men, and perhaps a few hopeful young women as well. And then Matt took a trip to Europe, because Matt is 25 years old and had no hope in hell of landing the position, right?

“Ring ring. It’s the Toronto Maple Leafs. We’d like you to come in for an interview.”

And so Matt’s trip to Europe ended abruptly, and he flew back to Toronto as one of the 15 people to be interviewed for this one position.

In the end, Matt didn’t get the job.

And that sucks, because you can’t say “You’ll get it next time” to someone when the next time this position comes up probably won’t be for at least twenty years. Even if he probably will, in fact, get it next time.

I don’t know what’s next for Matt now. I hope he’ll go back to working in sports media, but I don’t know if he will. The last few years have taken a lot out of him.

Before he decides to close any doors though, I hope to God that he looks down, just for a moment. Ten years ago he was a fifteen year old kid with an impossible dream, and this summer he damned nearly made it come true within a few weeks of his 25th birthday. In the ten interceding years he’s seen more, accomplished more, and overcome more than most of the St. Michael’s class of 2009 ever will.

Look down, and be proud of yourself.