Year of Gratitude - Day 275 - Detroit Red Wings

As an undergraduate, I worked for the student paper for two years and after I left the staff, I wondered what the heck I was going to do with myself. Writing for the paper kept me busy and I had enough energy to write like a machine. One day in October 2002, my creative non-fiction writing professor mentioned there was an internship with the Red Wings available. "Parking, dinner..." and some other things were nonchalantly mentioned. My eyes grew big and my hand shot up. The rest is history.

After submitting writing samples and interviewing, I got the internship that would round out my college experience at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and change my life. After a year, I would be making money as a freelance writer. Real money! I met hockey legends - coaches, players, writers, broadcasters. My first professional interview was a phone interview with Gordie Howe, Mr. Hockey himself. One of my last assignments was a feature on Steve Yzerman's Retirement Night. I would write about Red Wings that I had been a fan of since I was a kindergartner. A few days each summer were spent in Traverse City covering Training Camp. Not only did I get an outlet for my writing, but I gathered friends, stories and a working experience that I will treasure forever. It's a little surreal thinking back on it.

Even though my time with the Wings was extraordinary, the internship and then freelance work afterward taught me two things:
  1. If I put my mind to it, I can hustle and pay the bills with my writing.
  2. I didn't want to spend the rest of my life writing.
That second item sort of shocked me. When I worked for the Wings, I met writers that are literally hockey historians, full of encyclopedic knowledge on the sport. I was not that and would never be, but I still wanted to be an expert in something one day. Being part of the grind showed me that while I could manage a living doing this, writing would be one of my skills, but not my entire career.

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