This week began as a blank slate. Literally. I had nothing to work on, nothing to write about and a project I’ve started has unexpectedly stalled. So I started sifting for story ideas, and somehow, something made me think of Bracken Kearns.
Kearns played hockey in Toledo for only one season, his first professional season in 2005-2006. He didn’t make it to the NHL until the fall of 2011 – when he was 30 years old. His was a story of perseverance and setting goals and staying a certain course – even if that course went through six seasons, two minor leagues and seven different teams.
Something prompted me to call the San Jose Sharks media relations department Monday afternoon to put in a request to speak to Kearns. It was something I’d thought of during the spring, if the Sharks happened to meet the Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals, but that didn’t happen.
Within a day, the Sharks media relations office put me in touch with Kearns. And the first thing I told him? “You’ve got a great story of dedication and perseverance, and people in Toledo want to know how you’re doing in the NHL.”
I have a bit of a personal stake in writing about Bracken Kearns, as well – and I didn’t really mention this to anybody as I was pursuing this article.
I got laid off from my job at the Portland Press Herald on Oct. 13, 2011, and I was really, really down – I’d just lost what I thought was the best job ever, covering college and pro hockey and making a good living doing so. Someone else decided that all the work I did and the investment I made in 13 years in journalism didn’t matter anymore. And it felt like after I got laid off, that it didn’t matter that I still had goals I wanted to reach and dreams I wanted to fulfill as a reporter.
I was down. Really down.
A week later, I read about Kearns *finally* being called up to the NHL with the Florida Panthers – it was such an inspiration! His pursuit sent a message to me – to never give up on something you love to do – and it reminded me of one of my favorite movie quotes:
“Having dreams is what makes life tolerable.”