I was eight-years-old with a microphone in my hand as I stared up at my idol, Vince Carter. I won a contest from the Toronto Sun to meet Carter, and to ask him one question. There I was on centre stage with a V.I.P necklace on. The cameras were flashing from all directions and focusing in on me as I asked Carter, “How do you feel being compared to Michael Jordan?”
I remember Carter, pausing with a smile, before responding. With my microphone towards Carter, I stood there mesmerized. I couldn’t believe that I was having a face-to-face conversation with the man I looked up to. It was a surreal moment and something I wanted to re-experience over and over again. Without realizing it, I was conducting my first interview.
As a young kid, my world revolved around sports. While my friends spent their Saturday mornings watching cartoons, I was reading the Toronto Sun. I made my Dad buy a newspaper each morning from the convenience store after his night shifts at the casino, curious to learn more about my beloved Toronto teams. Knowing the scores and stats was not enough for me – numbers could never tell the whole story.
I educated myself about baseball and basketball by reading the columns of Bob Elliott and Doug Smith in the Toronto Star. Curious to hear every possible perspective, I talked with my dad’s friends whenever they came over. We discussed the latest sports news and I gave my opinion regarding the latest headlines.
With advances in technology, I no longer had to wait until the morning to get my news. Social media has allowed me to follow my favourite beat writers, radio hosts, and bloggers – further expanding my horizons.
I respect journalists who deliver stories about unsung heroes and provide insight on the underlying implications of a certain event. It’s what’s inspired me to begin writing and start my own sports blog as I wanted to connect with others and deliver a message home.
Numbers can only tell so much of the story. There are other factors, such as one’s character, human drama, and background information, which make a story, and that’s my favourite part about writing.
At Western University, I volunteered at CHRW Radio in the News, Sports, and Spoken Word department covering local stories, conducting interviews, and broadcasting live Mustangs sports. Once again, I felt like that eight year old kid, enjoying every second.
Fifteen years ago, Vince Carter replied, “Every day I step on the court, I try to create my own legend.” I’ve carried those words with me every day.
I admire the journalists I grew up with and have taken away something from each of them but I’m not trying to be the next Lee Jenkins. I want to be the first Karl Nacion. I want to write stories that people will remember and I’m just as curious now as that child flipping open the front page of the Toronto Sun.