In just over a month, I’ll mark 20 years as a journalist. I’ll have much more on that on this blog when the actual anniversary rolls around, but as I was brainstorming for blog ideas today I remembered some of the other career paths I had seriously considered at one time.
When I was in second grade I can remember distinctly telling a friend on the playground at Brennan Woods Elementary School that I was going to be Scooby Doo when I grew up. We were standing at the base of a slide having a serious discussion about the future. I told John my plan was to grow up to become the famous cartoon canine. He looked at me oddly, as I’m sure some of you are as you read this paragraph.
When I say I wanted to be Scooby Doo I meant it. I wasn’t referring to the voice actor, Don Messick or the artist, Iwao Takamoto, who brought Scooby to life (in my world at least). Nope, I was going to somehow not only transform from a living, breathing human being into an animated Great Dane. Now, some 35 years later I do a pretty good Scooby voice. By the fourth grade though, I had changed my mind and wanted to become a rock star.
Ready to Rock
Yeah, I don’t really know how or why I came up with that idea. This was before MTV was a thing, or at least in our community. We didn’t get cable in High Ridge, Missouri until the following summer (1984). But listening to a wide variety of what would now be considered classic rock, I thought I could one day take the stage and rock.
Two years later I joined the junior high band and attempted to play the trombone. I had plenty of “treble” in my performance and switched to saxophone a year later in seventh grade. I was slightly better but quickly realized a career in music was not an option for a guy who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.
King of the Ring
Despite being a lifelong wrestling fan, I never had any aspiration to be a wrestler. I wanted to be a manager. I looked up to the likes of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Capt. Lou Albano and Jimmy Hart. But it wasn’t just a managerial role I was seeking. I pictured myself sitting ringside and calling the action like Gorilla Monsoon, Jim Ross or Tony Schiavone. Or conducting backstage interviews like “Mean” Gene Okerlund.
When I graduated college in 1995, I sent the WWF a resume and a cover letter with no real idea of how the process worked. There wasn’t even a job opening. But I found their address online (yes, the internet had just been introduced to me as a senior at Southeast Missouri State University) and took a chance. I must admit I didn’t think I had a shot nor would I hear back from the company. But to my surprise, they sent a very polite rejection letter.
Fast forward a few years and WWF (WWE) had posted an opening for a ring announcer. I was about 18 months into my career as a tv news anchor and reporter and said, “Why not?” I’d regret it later on than facing the inevitable “no” I was bound to hear.
So I put together a resume tape, which included a news story I did on a wrestling promotion in Florence, Alabama, where I was working at the time. The quality of the equipment at that station, coupled with my greener than goose poop look and sound lead to another rejection letter with a postmark from Stamford, Connecticut. By the way, Lillian Garcia was the one who ended up getting that job. I think a wise choice was made. Plus, I get to do some ring announcing each month for Stride Pro Wrestling here in southern Illinois, so I am living a dream.
The point of all this is, it’s okay to dream big. While all of my choices fell through either because of reality or my inability to perform the given task, I at least tried. I thought outside the box in some cases and took a step outside my own comfort zone. If you’re passionate about something, don’t let anything stand in your way.
I'm a former TV news guy turned marketing manager. I like to blog, podcast and watch pro wrestling.