EDITOR’S NOTE: I met Shelden through a mutual friend who told me a colleague of his at Global News was moving to Toronto and looking for some new opportunities in TV Sports. Shelden and I met for coffee and I was amazed at his story. Here was a guy who had an on-air TV job and was giving it all away to move east in search of his dream of working in TV sports. He wasn’t 100% fulfilled working news and knew that if he was to be happy in his career, he had to try and make it in sports. So, without a full-time job lined up, he packed his bags and moved to Toronto. I was blown away by his guts. What a bold move. What a risk. But he’s here now and looking for new gigs in sports. Here is his story.
I can remember the moment clearly. The same face who greeted me every morning at the CTV Winnipeg studios was about to make my day. As a video journalist/camera man, the daily routine goes a little something like this; Grab a coffee, bike to work, get your suit pants caught in the chain, then report to your assignment editor. They’ll have a basic idea of how your day is going to look. Up until this certain point at CTV, I was responsible for covering daily news stories. It was amazing. I was covering major events like the provincial election during my first week on the job. But for some reason, thanks to a few shift changes, and my wonderful assignment editor, October 19, 2016 would be different.From what I remember, the conversation sounded like this.
Assignment editor: “Good morning Shelden. I’ve got something for you right away today, so I hope you’re up for it.”
Me (anticipating a press release, and getting ready to sprint out the door): “For sure, where are we headed?”
AE: “Well good news it’s not far, just next door actually.”
(If you’ve never been to Winnipeg, the MTS Centre, home of the Winnipeg Jets was literally connected to the CTV building)
AE: “I need you to shoot Jets practice right away.”
At this point I tried to contain myself. My goal since moving to Manitoba was happening. It was happening today. My assignment editor could see my grin shining through the surface. He grabbed my media pass, and simply said ‘Have fun buddy’. As I grabbed my camera, tripod and microphone, I must have triple checked every single detail before leaving the building. I would not be running out of batteries today. Making the short walk to ice level, it really started to hit me. Not only was I about to cover an NHL pre-game skate. This was the tune up for one of the most highly anticipated games of the year. You see, the Leafs were in town. This was the battle between #1 and #2, Matthews vs. Laine. This was a big deal. I scanned my gear at the door, and walked through security straight to ice level. Shooting the morning skate was a blast. I made sure our editors would have plenty of Laine shots to choose from. It wasn’t long after that Paul Maurice decided to end practice. Now it was time for scrums. TO THE DRESSING ROOM!
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This is the moment that stuck out in my head the most. As I hurried to secure a good spot in front of Laine’s stall, I took a second to look around. Surrounded by national networks, and veteran reporters it was in that moment I realized, this is the end goal. This is what it looks like, and I want it. That wouldn’t be the last Jets practice I covered, but as I made a transition to a more permanent on-air role in the city, I drifted away from covering sports on a regular basis.
I landed a new job with Global News. I was on-air, it was fantastic, an experience I would never forget. I was given more responsibility, covering more stories, and reporting on-air every day. The only thing missing was sports. I thought it may be something I could continue without, but I was wrong. I kept picturing that moment in the Jets dressing room, and what I need to do to get back there on a more consistent basis.
After close to a year at Global, an opportunity to pursue a career in sports presented itself in Toronto. It wasn’t permanent, it wasn’t full-time, but it was sports. I had to weigh my options. This was a big move. If you’ve ever seen the TV series Friends, my pros and cons list was similar to the moment Ross had to decide between Julie and Rachel. On one hand (Julie), I had a full-time, on-air job in a major Canadian city. I was reporting live nearly every night, covering some of the biggest stories in the city. Similar to Julie, there was nothing wrong with working at Global News. I really loved my job. But there was one flaw with Julie in Ross’ mind. Her only con, she wasn’t Rachel. The only con I came up with for Global News, it wasn’t sports…and off I went.
You can find Shelden on Twitter @SheldenRogers
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