I was in my second year at Ryerson in the RTA – Sport Media program, volunteering and working more than I slept, trying out everything, and saying no to nothing.
I knew from the get-go that I wanted to be on-air. There was something about the adrenaline of going live, the hours of preparation, and the ability to tell stories that I found so compelling. From the first time I heard "cue" in my ear, I was hooked. The feeling never changes.
I was hooked.
After that game, and after I joined the Ryerson Rams Network, I went back and forth between Ryerson's two hockey programs. I practically grew up in a rink, so calling hockey was challenging, but my brain understands hockey like it understands the English language.
Back to that conversation I mentioned earlier.
Brian Withers, the supervising producer of the newly-rebranded Rams Live approached me in the Fall of my sophomore year at Ryerson with an offer.
"Would you be interested in becoming the voice of the women's basketball team," he asked.
Without hesitation, I accepted. The opportunity to cover a team, with over a dozen broadcasts slated for the season was almost too good to be true.
I remember calling my family and loved ones and posting the news on social media as soon as I got home from campus. Everyone was excited, and the rest of the day was a blur.
That night, as I sat and did some preliminary research, nerves began to replace the excitement, and admittedly, so did a little doubt.
Could I really call basketball, and call it well? I could keep up with a game on TV, and had watched the Raptors and Trail Blazers for years. And I even "played" in Grade 10. (My friends are really going to get a kick out of the memories of me, a 5'6 back-up point guard, that was literally forbidden from shooting the ball and was only on the team for my defence.)
As it turns out, I didn't drown in my first game, or the second, or the third. I was fortunate to be surrounded by a great production staff and knowledgeable colour commentators who kept me afloat and taught me the ins and the outs, to the point where I could see the game like never before.
It turned out to be one of the best things that has happened to me. Not only was I able to prove to myself what I am capable of, it opened so many doors. It took me from coast to coast to cover provincial and national championships. It allowed me to build lifelong relationships and connections with players and coaches from across the country. And it helped lead to the creation of the Canadian University Sports Network, one of my proudest accomplishments to date.
Something else, a little bit unexpected happened, too. I'll admit, I was a little nervous to be the voice of a women's program. On top of being new to basketball, I was new to women's basketball. I wanted to do right by the team.
I had heard all of the stereotypes about women's sport. "It's boring. It's not as good as men's sport. No one cares."
Let me tell you something. If you believe any of those thing, you clearly haven't spent enough time around women's sport. They could not be further from the truth.
Amongst all the other things that spending three years around Canadian women's basketball has done for me, above all, it has made me a champion of women's sport. And that leads us to today, and my next adventure.
I'm heading to the Canadian Women's Hockey League.
I am extremely fortunate and excited to announce that I've hired as the voice of the Toronto Furies and Markham Thunder of the CWHL, one of the fastest growing, and most exciting professional sports leagues in North America. I'l primarily be doing play-by-play for Markham, and colour commentary for Toronto.
At first, our slate is small. Just five regular season games, with the possibility of more as the season progresses and the playoffs get closer. If you're in the GTA, I seriously encourage you to get to a game in Markham or Toronto. If you're from out of town, tune in to our webcasts. I'll post more information about them as it gets closer.
I want to thank every single person who has helped me get to this point. I am beyond excited to take the next step in my career.
I've signed my first pro contract.