The above photograph appears in my 1990 high school yearbook. It’s an image of one of my teachers, a nice man named Bob Chiaro, who used to talk baseball with me before the bell rang.
Mr. Chiaro was a cool guy, and I’m sure at the time I told him of my dreams of one day working as a sports reporter. I have no idea whether he took me seriously, or thought it was ludicrous, but (as you can see) he mentioned it in his kind inscription.
I stumbled upon this a few nights ago, and showed it to my daughter. “See,” I told her, “if you have a goal, and you work hard, and you go for it … it can happen.”
That was that, and after she went to sleep I skimmed through the ol’ book, laughing at bad haircuts and protruding pimples. Then I started reading inscriptions from classmates. Like this one …
And this one …
There were a slew of ’em—talking about me in a broadcast booth, or me writing for a newspaper, or me doing something media-related. Some were crass, some were awkward, some were mean (“You suck, you have no life, have fun in college.”)—but all, in hindsight, speak to a geeky, dorky, never-kissed-a-girl-or-even-held-a-girl’s-hand dweeb with a legitimate dream and goal.
This makes me incredibly happy.
But wait. I truly don’t mean this as any sort of braggart thing. I really, really don’t. Hell, at the time I sat next to a girl named Kim Davis, who told us all she’d wind up being a police officer. Well, saw her a few years ago—and she was a member of the NYPD (a much more noble calling that journalism). The point I’m trying to make is … dream. Follow your dream. Find a passion, find a calling—and whenever someone tells you it’s dumb, or outlandish, or out of your league (as many people told me), ignore them and keep moving forward, working hard, pursuing what you want.
Really, this is a message for younger people; those whose parents insist you “need to do” [FILL IN THE BLANK]. You need to go to law school. You need to go to medical school. You need to work for your father at his accounting office.
Find a passion—something that absolutely absorbs you. Find a way to turn it into a profession. Then, with all your drive and heart and sweat and blood and guts, go for it.
Just go for it.
Mr. Chiaro would surely approve.