For me, it’s simple: I do what I do because I’ve never wanted to do anything else. In 1989, I was a junior at Memorial High School. I was, at best, an average student. I was lazy, had poor work habits and did not take my education seriously. But, thankfully for me, I had an English teacher who saw a little something in me. Near the end of my junior year, she came to me and said, “Your writing has come a long way this year and I know you like sports. The school paper is looking for a sports writer next year, would you be interested?” From that day, working for a newspaper is all I’ve ever wanted to do.
In a touch of irony, I didn’t seek that position at the paper. Again, I was a lazy student who lacked initiative. But, still the seed had been planted and suddenly I had direction. Even though I had read the Tulsa World almost daily growing up, I had never considered journalism as a profession.
My wife is a teacher and from time to time I remind her of this story, just to reinforce to her that she has a powerful job. A teacher can change a student’s life just like that. Ms. Friedman didn’t know she changed my life that day, but she did. Before that day I had given my future little thought. Since that day, I’ve never had to wonder what I might do with the rest of my life.