Hammond Column: “You Start Tomorrow”
Wednesday night I told my fiancé I had sent my resume in for yet another reporting job. I don’t think he took his eyes off of his computer and said “Great, keep me posted.”
This wasn’t anything new. I’ve applied for a million jobs and have been rejected a million times. What’s a million and one? He wasn’t holding his breath and neither was I. My weekend was going to be filled with sneaking out as many Christmas decorations as possible and binge watching “Yellowstone”.
Things changed and they changed quickly. I found myself at the Avs morning skate Saturday morning and the game later that night. I guess the Christmas decorations will have to wait…unfortunately.
There I was on a Saturday night watching the Avs vs. Sharks thinking to myself “what the hell happened in the last 72 hours?”
Still not 100% sure. What I do know is the Avs smacked around Sharks 6-2 in a rocking Ball Arena.
I arrived at morning skate around 10:00 am. not really knowing what to expect. Mob of reporters? Notepads and pens? I walked to the security and abruptly said “This is my first day!” He was very friendly and walked me through everything. He checked my backpack that still had all my “day job” stuff that included construction drawings and notes from the previous days meetings. Got through security.
Now the moment for which I couldn’t wait. Receiving my credentials. What. A. Moment.
I saw all the rejections, I saw all the internships and all my professors (cough,cough Terry Frei, Metro State 2015) flashing before my eyes. These are the moments that are just indescribable. All the hard work has officially paid off.
Well, at least in this moment anyway.
Only about an hour before, I’d been sitting with the inscrutable mystery man, the boss of this whole venture, Adrian Dater, whose email response to my response to his tweet looking for new help had only been 72 hours earlier. Dater told me to meet him at Swift’s Breakfast House on Santa Fe (“my favorite greasy spoon in Denver, where the real locals hang out”, he said) and while he wolfed down a Denver omelette in about 13 seconds, he also said “I believe in throwing people into the deep end of the pool and seeing if they can swim or not. You’re going to represent the site all day today.”
The night before, he told me “You start tomorrow.”
But no pressure, he said.
My dream, however rushed, was now a reality. I had almost given up hope and accepted the fact I would never be a sports reporter. Until a Wednesday night Twitter post. Who would have thought.
I remember Dater telling me to go in and take a left, pass the visitors locker room and then I could sit there to watch the morning skate.
Got to my seat. Win. Then I kept thinking “where is everyone?” I know I’m early but wow, no one? They slowly started to trickle in. Two more to be exact. But in the other side of the rink. Crap. Practice wrapped up and I wandered the halls and made it to the press conference room.
The next biggest challenge: Where do I sit? Naturally, being the introvert I am, I found the last row by myself. The only thing I could think of was to make sure my phone was on silent, not to sneeze and don’t forget to hit record. Check. Check and check. Coach Jared Bednar, Alex Newhook and Darren Helm all spoke to the media. Did I ask a question? Nope. I couldn’t remember how to spell my own name, let alone ask these guys a question. Baby steps here, people. The press conference wrapped up and I headed home to take care of the pups.
A bulldog doesn’t give a damn that you just accomplished a life’s dream. He wants his bowl of chow, and he wanted it five minutes ago.
I was always told, “if you aren’t 15 minutes early, you’re late.”
Thanks mom and pop for that constant anxiety. I arrived back at Ball Arena around 5:30 pm. Round 2. I was a professional at security this point so I walked in with confidence. I got this. I headed toward the elevators to the press box. Please note there are two elevators. Why would it matter which one I jump on? Apparently it does. Needless to say I got yelled at for almost jumping into the wrong one. Why is there a right and a wrong elevator?! Things I’ll never understand.
I made it to the press box and played the new kid on the block card again. They directed me to the right area and again, another one of the moments words simply cannot describe. I just kept thinking to myself, ‘I made it.’ Dreams and goals do matter and I’m so glad I never gave up.
It was Jake Schroeder’s 1000th anthem and I remember thinking “how fitting.”
I’ve been to what felt like 1000 games as a fan. Jake, at them all. But Saturday was my first game as a Colorado Hockey Now reporter and Jake was there again. I’ve never met him and he has no idea who I am, but there will always be that game against the Sharks, on November 13th that will just mean a little bit more to both of us.
Did this all really happen? This was a dream come true, right? Or am I still just dreaming?