I keep telling my friends, “Please don’t wake me up, I am dreaming.” It really hasn’t sunk in that I am doing this job: reporting, interviewing NBA players and coaches…. it is so surreal.
My first game was last week on Wednesday. I had received all the paperwork I needed from the Toronto Raptors communication department (class people, by the way). I had to be there at least two hours before the game. Needless to say, I was anxious. I have been to the arena countless of times before but just as a fan wanting to watch the games. This was one of the reasons why I had chosen Toronto as the city I wanted to live in. It is the only Canadian town that has an NBA team. My dream was to attend at least a game (it has been over 33 years that I have watching the NBA). Never in my wildest dreams had I thought I would be going there as part of my job.Never!
The Media room was packed. Reporters from different outlets were there. I pretended I belonged, but I couldn’t help being in shock sitting around the same table with Jack Armstrong, Leo Rautins and Matt Devlin (these are big time Raptors reporters). I received the game notes, the schedules for the press briefings from the coach and what time I should be in the locker room to interview the players (are you kidding me??).
I headed to the court to see what was happening and there he was, Kawhi Leonard himself, working on his shot. Not far from there was JV (Jonas Valanciunas) working on his post moves. I couldn’t believe I was watching this. On my way back to the Media Centre, I met Cavaliers Superstar Kevin Love and my eyes were so big that he was probably thinking he was looking at a ghost. At the end of the game, I got a chance to interview Pascal Siakam, one of the Raptors rising stars. He was very gracious with his time and I thanked him for it.
Two days after that, I was at the arena again to report on the game against the Celtics. This time I felt a little bit more comfortable. On my way to the media room, I met Jennifer, the Raptors Director of Communications who waved at me and said, “Hi Patrick!”, and I am like “Yes!! Jennifer knows my name!!! I am now officially an NBA Reporter!!
I did a short interview with Serge Ibaka who had a monster game. By the time I arrived home, it was almost two O’clock in the morning. I was so exhausted, but I didn’t care. Why should I?
A few weeks prior to all this happening, I got a chance to speak in front of a crowd and shared with them how my dream about the NBA had come to pass. At the end of my speech, a lady came to see me and shared with me how inspired she was. She asked if we could meet. She wanted to share something with me and I agreed.
I met her yesterday. She shared with me the dreams she has, and I was immediately blown away. She has some big dreams that would knock your socks off (this lady is in her seventies!!). She told me that I was the very first person she shared her dreams with. She asked for my help, and I was glad she did. I have no idea how she will pull this off, but I am so glad she trusted me to be part of her journey.
Towards the end of our conversation, she said something very powerful. Here is how it went:
Her: Patrick, I had buried this dream for so long, out of fear. But something made me want to revisit my dream again.
Me: What is it?
Her: Tiger Woods.
Yes. You got it right. She has been watching golf for many years and she was convinced Tiger would never win again. She thought he was done…. until he won again. That was the Tour Championship in Atlanta last month. Tiger’s victory made her realize that she can still dream. All is still possible. She is in her seventies (that’s my guess), and thanks to Tiger Woods and myself fulfilling our dreams, she got to dream again. How powerful is that?
My take is that, when God put a dream in our heart, it is our responsibility to follow through regardless of the obstacles. By doing so, we become an inspiration for so many who have buried their dreams. People’s lives depend on us fulfilling our dreams. That is what I think.
Moral of the story? Do you want to follow your dreams, just watch Golf and you will see me at an NBA game.
Always a pleasure