Category Archives: Lessons Learned
This past week, a local sportswriter abruptly passed away – at a relatively young age – and many people expressed sadness about it on social media.
From the looks of it, this sportswriter was a mentor to aspiring sportswriters too, so, good for him.
I never interacted with this gentleman at all, so I didn’t know him. However, my past experiences with sportswriters from other cities haven’t been great.
Now, I should say that there have been a few who have been gracious and responded to my emails, such as the legendary Bob Ryan (who responded to me on three separate projects I was working on), L.A. sportswriter J.P. Hoornstra, and a couple other writers from the Boston area. There were a couple other national writers, Bob Nightengale and Mel Antonen. There was even a historian/author by the name of Todd Denault who responded to me.
I certainly appreciated the fact that these writers took time out to correspond with me and give me quotes for the books I was writing.
Then, there were those who couldn’t be bothered to respond back – and, interestingly, they’re writers from Toronto.
When I was writing the Tom Candiotti biography, I emailed several writers from Toronto who were around when Candiotti pitched for the Blue Jays (and those writers are still active today). Not one of them bothered even to respond back.
Then, when I was writing about the Boston-Montreal NHL rivalry book, it was the same. Now, I received replies from the Boston reporters I reached out to, including the aforementioned Ryan. But nothing from the writers in Toronto who covered Pat Burns.
That’s disgraceful. A Hall of Famer like Bob Ryan reaches out to me – and he’s a legend – and yet lesser likes couldn’t be bothered.
So, I mean, just like many athletes, I’m leery when it comes to sportswriters. None of those Toronto-based writers ever reached out or cared about what I was doing.
Not even a “Sorry, I am unable to assist you.” Just no response.
I’ll tell you what. If I became a successful writer, I wouldn’t be like those Toronto-based guys. Those guys are no role models. They’re not like the sportswriter who passed away this past week.
This post is also found on one of my other websites, “Let’s Grab A Burger.”
Cafe 7gram at 71-5 Jongno 2(1)-ga, Jongno-gu in Seoul is close to the hotel I stayed at during my Korea trip in September 2018.
I hung out there a few times during my second week of stay in Korea, including a couple of daytime visits when people were actually there to discuss business. It was great for me, just chilling while others were busy working. I recall being there one evening too – when it was nice and relaxing.
The few times I was there, I had some dessert items and beverages while working on the editing for my John Cangelosi baseball book (as I had tentatively reached an agreement with an American publisher during the first week I was in Korea) and writing my book on the 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens.
One time, the second floor was completely empty – other than me – and I texted my tour guide (whom I had befriended that week) to joke that I had the whole cafe rented. (The ground floor had only a table and some window seats, unlike the spacious second floor.)
Overall, Cafe 7gram served my purpose when I was in Korea. I was able to get some “work” (ie. writing) done yet also enjoy a, more or less, peaceful environment at the same time. After all, I had spent four days on a trip around Eastern Korea the previous week – doing sightseeing, obviously – and didn’t really have time to touch the laptop.
Wow… another week has gone by…
Well, sometimes things work out schedule-wise, without me having to make any adjustments.
I was involved in a work project which began in late February and just ended on Friday the 12th. This project involved me going into the “office” regularly to collaborate / brainstorm / write / edit… but it all ended on Friday.
That same afternoon, I received a message from my other company and they wanted me to go in to be trained on some online educational program that I’ll be using and I’m needed for the second half of April to fill in and do some work there – beginning Monday the 15th.
So, the timing worked out fine. I didn’t have to say no to either side. And on Monday I went there to get that training. Then, during lunch, I was able to step out for some time to take a call from Pat Gallagher, a sports executive who used to work for the San Francisco Giants. Mr. Gallagher and I had made plans to speak on the phone on Monday – as I’m working on a book and had requested to speak with him about his tips for readers.
It was great, because I learned a lot from Mr. Gallagher, and this information will be included in the book. I was able to get trained on the online program. I didn’t have the February to April proposal (with the first company) to deal with anymore. It’s good timing.
And later today, I’m going to be speaking to another gentleman, Jake Hirshman, who has his own impressive background in the sports business world.
As a writer, it’s about managing time and so far in April, things have been great.
I mean, during this process of writing this book, I had a chance to speak to a writer from Los Angeles (back in late January), and he’s right. He told me that to pull off a project like this, you need to be honest with yourself in terms of the time you can set aside for it. So far so good. I do have that time to spare for this project. And I’m glad that I am working on something that will inspire those who will be reading it. That’s the motto – inspire others. Give people practical advice and let them know they actually can succeed if they are persistent. That’s the message I want to be spreading.
At the same time, it’s rewarding to be talking about important life lessons with these executives and writers, those who help out and mentor others. I’ve experienced situations where people just have these poker faces on them and be petty, and then they like to gossip and do unproductive things – eg. talk trash about others and engage in name-calling. All very negative. I’m glad I’m not stuck in that path with those individuals but am working on something more meaningful with my time.
Yes, life as a writer is a daily grind and involves some regular routines that I follow.
Thursday, April 4. Well, late last night, I followed up on a task regarding the Hockey Hall of Fame that I had put off for a while – and this involves the photos I requested for use in my 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens book, whose manuscript is due June 30th.
A business associate who’s not part of this book project (S.M.) but knows the era in hockey this book relates to, joked that the Canadiens aren’t winning another Cup – but I said I wasn’t a Habs fan. I then pointed out to the 1988 Dodgers book from last August, which celebrated L.A.’s last title. And talk then switched to a future project that I have lined up, the 1989 Flames. We joked about my timing; the Flames are good this season, which would have made a book about Calgary seem like perfect timing.
I work fast and dedicated my time to my projects, and with the John Cangelosi book arriving my way for me to finalize the edits, I finished late Thursday night – and sent back my revisions.
At times, it is frustrating – and sad – that people misunderstand my intentions. When I requested time off in Winter 2014 to go to Dayton, Ohio, for a short break, my two bosses scoffed at me. They didn’t realize I had decided to go to Ohio because I wanted to give an inspirational speech in front of students at the University of Dayton. Instead, they were mocking me for going to a cold place.
Just like how I’ve written a book about John Cangelosi, a 5’8″ ballplayer from Brooklyn, New York, who went on to have a 10-year career. People scoffed when they heard what I was working on – just like how certain people scoffed when I was working on that 1988 Dodgers book. People don’t understand that I write to inspire. There are those who look down on me, diss me, or just conclude in their minds that all I do is try to piss people off.. Not true at all.
But as Cangelosi once told me, you don’t try to focus on what others do or say. If you do that, then you never accomplish your own goals. That’s a good point. Many folks know that but don’t follow that advice. I think when this book comes out and at least one person is inspired by it, then, as far as I’m concerned, I have done my job. I write to inspire.
Oh, and I made it into the Richmond News newspaper on Thursday… that was from the time I was at the mall and a journalist asked me for my thoughts on tattoos.
Friday – I’m supposed to talk to Rick White, president of the Atlantic League, and Ari Kaplan, baseball analytics expert, to pick their brains on the project I’m working on with Fred Claire.
Hopefully, what Megan Devlin (the journalist from Richmond News) said to me that day will help to inspire me and get me focused on what I need to do.
And, after that, back to the 1992-93 Canadiens book. I might not do another interview on that book… although it would be interesting to track down Mario Roberge. We shall see.
Oh yeah, I had opened the post by talking about regular routines. On Thursday, it involved doing research online and reviewing those materials that were found.
While I was finishing up the Cangelosi edits, Tom Candiotti – the other Candy Man whom I’ve written about – texted me with some cool videos. I’ll be sharing those when I have some time later on… Hours earlier, the Indians and Blue Jays – two of his former teams – played and Cleveland took a no-hitter into the ninth inning. I was hoping that the Indians wouldn’t finish it… because, well, Candiotti had two one-hitters in a Cleveland uniform and I didn’t want to see another pitcher (or group of pitchers, in this case) have a no-no with the Tribe.
Somehow, I was too busy with the edits when Candiotti texted, that I forgot about that Toronto-Cleveland game and so the no-hit bid didn’t come up. The 1991 Blue Jays, though, came up in conversation. Another topic for another time…
A lot of people around us are mean. Inconsiderate. Rude. They’re all around us. Since they are like that, well, then it’s fair game that I criticize them. Starting now – right here and right now.
So, the other day (last Sunday at 7 p.m., in fact… according to the time stamp on the photo that I took), I visited the local McDonald’s. Not wanting to endure receiving poor service and/or dealing with unfriendly cashiers yet again (my experience has often been cashiers not smiling and/or not even bothering to greet the customer), I used the mobile app to order the meal and requested McDonald’s “table service.” It’s simple. You just enter the table #, and they’re supposed to bring it to your table.
Soon after I ordered through the app, a McDonald’s employee – a young lady – brought a tray out with items that looked like what I had ordered. She walked right past my table and took it to another table where two guys were seated. She said to them in a very cheerful voice, “Did you guys order this?”
I waved at her and said, “I did.” She brought the tray over and placed it at my table, and left without a word. No “Can I get you anything else?” or “Is that everything?” No, she put the tray down and walked away WITHOUT A WORD. And no, she didn’t re-join the kitchen or the counter, or wherever she was supposed to go. She went BACK to that table with the two guys and said something to them before leaving.
I was having my meal, sipping on the hot tea, and I would say about 25 minutes later, that same young lady came back into the customer area. She re-joined that same table and sat down with the two guys. Apparently, she was off-duty at that point, and they were discussing college classes, etc., and in their conversation they were – including she – using swear words. I was still in the middle of my hot tea, and that’s why I was still there. And since the area was pretty empty – but not without customers (such as myself) – I could hear their conversation. It wasn’t that I wanted to.
Her actions were highly unprofessional. I have a contact at the head office, so I discussed this incident with that person. I didn’t mention the swear words, though. I stuck to the lack of service with this so-called “table service.” What that lady does in her free time – swearing at her place of work – is none of my business. But being unprofessional while still on duty… when I’m the customer… well, it’s definitely my business. The tables have numbers on there, and I input my table number, yet this McDonald’s employee was unprofessional in carrying the tray to where her friends were sitting – sure, cater to your friends first, right? – instead of doing her job. The worst part was this dropping off the tray and not saying a word to me while returning to her friends. Unprofessional. Gutless.