Small town boy at heart

Hi, my name is Mitch and I’m a sports reporter.
Well, now that we have that out of the way, I’d like to extend a thank you to all of you in the sports community who have made my first three weeks in Fort Frances an absolute joy.
I’ve lived in Winnipeg for most of my life, and I guess I’d consider myself a Manitoban, but Northwestern Ontario is—and always will be—close to my heart. I was born in Dryden and lived in Eagle River, Ont. until moving to the big city at age 10.
I’ve made several return trips to this neck of the woods since then, having family in both the Dryden and Fort Frances areas.
This unique balance between city and rural life definitely has made the move to Fort Frances less of an undertaking than it otherwise would be, and the welcome I’ve received from relatives has made me feel right at home.
Thus, the adjustment to the working world and small-town life hasn’t been as big as one might expect for someone fresh out of university.
The best part about the job so far has been getting to know some of the people in the community and hearing stories of triumph, success, and even defeat.
Fort Frances has some very dedicated and passionate people working every day to make the sports scene the success that it is, and I’ve met many of them already while on the sports beat.
I found out very early that sports is an integral part of everyday life here, with a long track record of successful sports teams despite the relatively small population base, and that makes finding interesting stories on interesting people an enjoyable experience.
I’ve also found that you only can cover so much as one person, and not everyone will be happy with the amount of press they receive. My first “letter to the editor” response signalled my arrival, loud and clear, and I welcome either positive reinforcement or critical feedback.
Learning and bettering myself as a journalist is part of the journey, and I know I always can be improving as a writer and a person.
And then there’s that little pastime known as fishing that gets a lot of attention in these parts. I’ve discovered that tournaments are embraced by the whole community—and the support seen at the Emo Walleye Classic this past weekend was unbelievable.
The final weigh-in reminded me of the experience one might witness at a World Wrestling Entertainment event, with the fans wildly cheering on their favourites as they unveiled their prized catches for the day (i.e. championship belts).
Being Canadian, I’m a hockey guy at heart; however, I’ve learned to respect and enjoy a variety of less-heralded sports already, whether it be on the soccer pitch, the ball diamonds, in the pool, or on the golf links.
I anticipate good things from the Muskie football program, and will enjoy watching them train and prepare for league play in the fall. And of course, I’m excited to cover Muskie hockey and the Jr. Sabres next winter once they hit the ice.
There’s a myriad of other sports I’m leaving out and soon will discover on a day-to-day basis that surely will keep things fresh and interesting.
Sports have been, and always will be, a driving force in my life, so covering them for a living doesn’t sound like too bad of a gig, wouldn’t you say?
Obviously, I didn’t decide to be a journalist because I thought it would bring with it money and riches, and the extra hours don’t necessarily constitute higher pay, but the pros far outweigh the cons.
I get to watch sports many people pay to see. I get to live vicariously through athletes and learn their nuances and the habits that make them who they are. And I get to claim I’m doing research when watching Sportscentre or a Blue Jays’ game on television.
It’s a rough life, I know, but someone has to do it.
As for my interests outside of the job itself? Well (drumroll, please), yeah, big surprise—more sports.
I was a die-hard Winnipeg Jets fan in my younger years, and that passion has carried over into my love for the Phoenix Coyotes down south. Only one original Jet remains, Shane Doan, but regardless of that fact, I don’t think I ever will change my allegiance to another NHL team.
There definitely are signs of life on the horizon for the “Desert Dogs,” and watch for Phoenix to rise beyond the depths of mediocrity within the next couple of seasons (you heard it here first).
I also have an avid interest in nutrition and fitness, and can be seen at Energy Fitness outside of work hours or busily cooking my meals for days in advance while at home.
I do follow the Jays from a professional baseball perspective, and did spend two summers during my post-secondary school years working for the Winnipeg Goldeyes Baseball Club.
Outside of sports, I always enjoyed spending time with friends and family in Winnipeg, and that’s probably been the hardest thing about moving out here. I have a good relationship with my parents, and have two younger brothers I get along great with, including a 14-year-old I miss messing around with.
He probably enjoys the reprieve from the consistent harassment, but it’s left a void yet to be filled in my new life here.
Maybe one day I’ll have kids of my own given one of my long-term goals is to field an entire starting lineup of Calverts. Hey, the Sutters and Staals weren’t/aren’t far off, so who says I can’t set my sights high, too (I hope I’m kidding, by the way).
I’ve always loved being around the lake in the summer, and often take a weekend out of my summer to head onto Eagle Lake to camp with friends and family.
I’ve never been an avid fisherman per se but always have embraced time in a boat on the water, so I hope to make the most of my current arrangement living right in the thick of lake country.
I love to travel, and have been fortunate to see lots of the world in my 23 years on it. The perks of having a travel agent mother, you could say. I’ve seen parts of Europe, Cuba, Mexico, and have been all over the U.S., establishing memories and fond experiences that will be with me for a lifetime.
Before I bore those of you left to tears, I’d just like to officially step off my soap box and bid you adieu—for now. Here’s to making memories in this new chapter of my life as a proud member of the Fort Frances community.


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