Sport defines me. It’s captured my imagination since I’ve been old enough to swing a bat, shoot a puck and kick a ball – teaching me life’s most important principles. It’s helped me deal with adversity, how to connect with people, the importance of taking ownership for a mistake and, above all, to never, ever quit.
It’s taught me the importance of always working hard and, sadly, that life can be incredibly unfair at times. It’s instilled in me the brutal lessons that can come with defeat, confirming that some of life’s greatest lessons can be delivered in great loss.
Almost everything I have in life – health, friends, family and career – can be attributed to sport. Seriously, it’s afforded me whatever successes I’ve had so far. How so? Well, my days as an athlete actually led to my career as a journalist.
It was the spring of 1991 and, as a 19-year-old, I’d been recruited to play for a national contending fastpitch club from Saskatchewan. My coach at the time – who would also become a mentor – was the late, great Fred Jackson, managing editor of The Evening Telegram.
He offered me a job in the daily’s sports department that summer, reminding me to work my tail off and “be a sponge” while working alongside the province’s journalistic giants.
Sport had prepared me for just that – to embrace opportunity, respect my colleagues (and opponents), set goals, stay humble, be thankful, and, well, to always aspire to take my game to the next level. It’s worked. I’m proud to coach the five-time national champion Galway Hitmen, arguably the best club in Canadian softball history, and our award-winning show, The NTV Evening Newshour, remains the most-watched show in the entire province.
I still apply the exact same principles of sport today in my current role as Director of News and Current Affairs at NTV, playing coach for an incredibly talented lineup of hard-working players.
Like a sports team, a news team has a roster of people with different strengths. The best teams play to those strengths. The newsroom team, like a sport club, has its franchise players, starters, role players, rising stars and unsung heroes behind the scenes. Each player contributes, conveying their own talent to the field. And tackling a newscast is like preparing for a big game. It’s about preparation, focus and delivering when it counts.
So for me, sport has never been about the competition. As cliché as it may sound – it’s not only about who wins, and who loses. The lessons have been deep, rewarding, and will carry me for the rest of my life.
Sport mirrors life – the sacrifice, discipline, focus and commitment are all part of the human experience. The same principles can be applied to how you approach your education or career, for example. It’s the message I consistently share with my daughters, reminding them the dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.
Sport not only mirrors life, it augments it. If you want something bad enough, sweat for it. If you’re dealt adversity, face it. Not all victories show up on the score sheet.
There is power in unity. It’s inspiring to watch a team accomplish a goal together – whether it’s in the locker room or board room – knowing that each player sacrificed something for all. Sport has made me a better person.
Mark Dwyer, NTV’s news director, has won numerous Atlantic and national awards for both his work as a journalist and an athlete/coach.
Mark Dwyer, NTV’s Director of News & Current Affairs, can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org