It was supposed to be an insult, I guess.
At a time in which pretty much everything on social media is apparently going to be as offensive and insulting as possible, I’m sure the guy — someone I’ve never met before, by the way — felt as as though he was delivering the ultimate blow to my ego.
It was supposed to be a Facebook discussion about the media’s role in the recent election — I know, my fault for daring to tread into deep waters — but it quickly became a game of “How quickly can we blame everything on the media?” I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, given that’s how most such discussions end these days.
After I tried to give a reasoned explanation of how and why things tend to happen the way they do in today’s world, however, some keyboard warrior felt the need to make it personal, telling me, “I guess this is why you’ll always be at a small town newspaper and never move on in your career.”
The implication in his (completely uncalled for) comment, I guess, was that because I’ve never moved on to Sports Illustrated or a major metropolitan daily newspaper, my career is somehow incomplete and my life a little emptier than it should be.
And, by his measure, I suppose he would be correct in that assessment.
But here’s the problem with that statement — I’m not living my life based on some standards he’s set for me. Truth be told, I don’t really care what this person thinks of what I’ve chosen to do with my life. I have no idea if I’m qualified to work anyplace other than a small community newspaper, mostly because I’ve never had any desire to pursue such a dream.
That’s never been my dream.
This past fall has served as a reminder to me that I am living my dream every single day.
When it comes to covering sports, there’s no place I’d rather be than Miami County.
We have outstanding teams and athletes throughout the county — the Miami East volleyball team captured a state title, the Troy girls cross country team was a state runner-up, the Tippecanoe boys soccer team went to regionals and seven local football teams qualified for the postseason — so it’s not as if I’m saddled watching losing teams play on a daily basis.
Not that it would matter if they were, mind you.
Because here’s the secret behind why I’ve never bothered looking for happiness much beyond my front door in the 20 years I’ve been employed at the Troy Daily News … I am blessed every day to work with some of the best kids and coaches in the entire world of sports.
This county is loaded with great athletes — and even better kids. The kids I cover are respectful. And funny. And thoughtful. And passionate. And intelligent. And there also are about a thousand other adjectives I could come up with if time and space permitted.
These kids have let me — someone who has the disadvantage of being an adult, usually a cardinal sin in the world of teenagers — into their world. They have let me not only see, but also write about, their greatest accomplishments and, sometimes, their greatest stumbles. They have let me laugh with them and, unfortunately, cry with them.
At the end of the day, I love them like they are my own children.
So maybe I don’t get the opportunity to interview famous professional athletes with million-dollar contracts … and the million-dollar egos to match. I probably will never get to cover the Super Bowl in my lifetime, but I’ve been fortunate enough to see every Troy-Piqua football game played since 1990.
And while that may not be what others — such as Facebook tough guys, for instance — may view as a dream job, it’s everything I could have ever hoped for and more. It’s my dream. It’s what I want to do. I long ago gave up chasing the fame and fortunate of big-time sports journalism. You won’t see me acting like a clown on some ESPN talk show — but you can find me in the sports pages around here every single day.
Telling me this is what I’ll be stuck doing for the rest of my life is the greatest compliment I could ever receive.
Reach David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong