November 19, 2017

I’m sitting beside…

When I was younger my interests were as wide as they were varied.

I listened to talk radio at night. It’s a tradition I’ve kept to this day, however, podcasts have helped ensure that I keep my marriage. My wife sleeps very light, and the radio is a disturbance to her, even at the lowest of volumes.  The advent of the podcast has been a boon to my radio obsession because I can use a small ear bud at night, set the podcast stream to end when the show is over, and my wife is able to sleep undisturbed.

I find it an interesting twist of fate that I am now part of modern-day radio, per se.

For those wondering, I never listen to Outta The Park at night. I reserve that for mornings when I can enjoy it with a cup of coffee. I pick apart my own work, so laying there listening to myself only goes to interrupting the onset of slumber.

As a youth, I also enjoyed baseball. I played, watched and, most importantly, listened to Tom Cheek on the radio.  My father was the sole proprietor of a successful landscape business. On summer break I would wait the whole day for Dad to come home from work.

On the nights he wasn’t working late, he would come through the door and I would be ready!  REEKING of sweat, he would take his boots off, shower and sit down for a meal.

He’d make some phone calls and then we’d assemble in the living room to watch the Jays game.

I was captivated.

The summer of 1985 was particularly special. I was 7 and baseball was magic.

George Bell, my hero, SMASHED the cover off the ball.

Dave Stieb had a devastating slider that broke so late you’d swear it was pregnant. He almost pitched a no-hitter on August 24th of that summer.  I watched it on TV with my Dad.

It’s strange how things so distant can be linked.

This Monday past, I arose at 5AM.  Not because my 21 month old daughter was jostled from her slumber because of teething. Not because Megatron and his army were coming for my 3.5 year old in the dark recesses of a dream. I woke up early to prep for interviews…

Barry Davis was kind enough to invite me to attend the Alomar Sports Charity Golf Tournament. We were to interview many of the Blue Jays alumni that I grew up watching with my Dad.

I wanted to be prepared.

I read and researched and it was a glorious trip down memory lane in the quiet of the early morning. Relearning the stats that I carried with me like my latest lego creation as a kid, spawned goosebumps.

Upon arrival I thought it fitting that shaking the hand of Roberto Alomar was how the day began. We were all Roberto Alomar growing up. We all wanted to be on second base and jump and spin and be the closest thing to a superhero that a real-life human could be. When I asked him if he practiced the 360 spin that he patented in the Blue Jays magical years, he said no. It was just something he did. His athleticism carried him through that sort of finesse.

If you had asked my 14 year old self if I thought Roberto was at the Skydome practicing jumping/spinning/throwing every day I would have told you yes.  YES, ALL DAY LONG. It turns out, it would take me 25 years to have that question answered in person.

Cito Gaston answered my questions.  CITO!!! He was thoughtful and savoured every word coming out of his mouth like a sip of fine whiskey. Kelly Gruber was manic and frenzied, yet managed to give answers as eloquent as any. Answers to my questions.  MINE!!!

Pat Hentgen, Willie Upshaw, Jesse Barfield, Duane Ward and JP Arencebia are all former athletes that I sat beside, looked in the eye, and asked a question.

They all answered.

My career has taken a unique path.  Landscaping taught be about running a business. I applied that business acumen to music. Music taught me about interpersonal skills and audio/video editing. I applied that to podcasting. I’ve brokered 100K landscape jobs and record deals so it’s no wonder I have an easy way of talking to people.

Could I have guessed that I’d be interviewing Roberto Alomar by way of Landscaping? No?

However, I take it as no coincidence that my love of radio and sports has managed to quietly assert itself throughout my life.

This past Monday, that assertion spoke up!

Sometimes, what you love the most finds you and not the inverse…

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