I recently saw a story in which they asked journalists what they’d say to their younger selves if they could go back in time. That got me thinking.
I’m not sure my younger self would listen. He could be stubborn. He thought he had it all figured out. Still, if I had the chance, I can think of a few times I’d try to get a few words through his thick skull.
1971: I know last year’s Pee Wee team was winless and you’ve already lost the first seven games this year, making you 0-for-19 playing organized baseball. You think you’re never going to know what it’s like to win. Hang in there. Good things will happen in Grasshopper ball next summer.
1980: Take the bus to Lake Placid and try to get into the US/Soviet hockey game. Your classmates are working door and it’ll turn out a whole lot of people without tickets got in. If you don’t take this risk, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.
1981: Don’t stress out if you miss a turn and get lost in the Sacandaga, making you an hour late for your interview at The Post-Star. They’ll hire you anyway. They’re desperate.
1982: Don’t write that snarky preview about the meaningless Greenjackets game. It’s not as clever as you think, and it’s not going to go over well.
1983: Resist the urge to use the word “sequester” as a verb to fill out a headline. As in, Red Wings sequester Maple Leafs. This will spare you the note on your desk the next day that reads: “I’ve never seen this word in a sports headline, and I never want to see it again.”
1985: You’re really bummed the car broke down and you can’t drive to Long Island for the state semifinal involving the Glens Falls girls basketball team. Maybe it’s just as well. What if that ‘71 Chevy Nova had broken down on the way? You don’t even own a credit card at this point.
1987: That day in Harrisburg, Pa., when you can check out of the hotel and drive home, don’t decide to stay and cover the Glens Falls Tigers game that night because “it’ll be an adventure” driving home overnight. The game will go 13 innings. You’ll arrive home at 9:30 the next morning, worse for the wear.
1990: You’re disappointed you didn’t get the job at a certain other newspaper. Later in life you’ll realize this was the greatest thing that never happened to you.
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1992: Turbulence bothers you, so I won’t tell you about the flight into St. John’s, Newfoundland, before Game 7 of the Calder Cup finals.
1996: Upon arrival in Lakeland, Fla., for Tampa Bay Lightning training camp, pay the extra $10 for a hotel room away from the road. Otherwise you’re looking at a sleepless night listening to trucks rumble by on Memorial Blvd.
1999: When you’re named sports editor, immediately give the hockey beat to somebody else. It’ll be a total disaster trying to cover the Red Wings and run your sports department at the same time. Trust me on this.
1999: The Red Wings say they’re leaving town after playing one more season in Glens Falls. There’s a guy in a press room who will tell you to be very skeptical about the “one more season” part of that. Listen to him.
2007: Waste no time hiring Kate Fagan. Years later you’ll be dropping her name all the time as you try to hire sportswriters.
2012: Don’t bother with the year-in-review video that you think is going to be the greatest thing you’ve ever created. Hardly anyone will watch it. Opera music and high school sports ... what are you thinking anyway?
2013: Lake George and Argyle are going to win state boys basketball titles, in back-to-back games, on the same night during the state tournament. It’s going to be the worst night you’ve ever had in the office, but you’ll survive, so take a deep breath and just get through it.
2015: Go ahead and make those six drives to Indian Lake and Long Long for the story on the Orange Nine. Don’t doubt your sanity — it’ll be worth the miles. You’ll enjoy writing that story as much as any you’ve written.
Yesterday: Stop sitting there, wondering if you should go through with this quirky column idea about what you’d tell your younger self. Just write it. You play it safe far too often.