During my early college years at St. Thomas Aquinas College, I was juggling academics, my music career and working on the weekends with my father, learning the trade which was very appealing to me as a possible full-time opportunity. I was never a big “school” person, in that I hated tests, studying and essays.
My major was in the communication arts field, which consisted of camera work, radio, television and behind-the-scenes-video editing. All of this was very interesting to me, but I felt as if something was missing in my life. I wasn't passionate about anything I was doing in school and felt as if I was just going with the flow to earn my college degree.
Going away for college wasn’t really something that appealed much to me. I decided to stay home and live under my parent’s roof. One night I had come home from a night class, sat down on the living room couch and flipped on the television. It was time for the best part of the day, PlayStation 3!
I was so consumed in the NHL Hockey video game, I thought I was actually the owner of my team. I had started the Season Mode play about a month back, and my team was off to a great season. As the glow from the television radiated off my hypnotized face, I felt as if someone was looking over my shoulder. I quickly paused the game and turned my head to see if someone was behind me. It was my father looking at the game with one eyebrow raised and a confused look on his face.
“Everything alright there, Dad?” I had asked him in a sarcastic tone.
He looked at me, back at the television and walked away. I don’t know about you, but whenever my parents gave me that "look" without saying anything, it usually affected me much more than if they would have just verbalized what they were thinking. I turned back to the game confused.
I turned around again to see my father walking away toward his office door. I shrugged my shoulders and pushed the start button to continue my very important hockey game. It was a 3-3 game at this point, and my team was prepared to head into overtime and take a win on the road. There were some close calls throughout overtime with pucks hitting the goal posts. My palms became sweaty on the controller.
“Get the puck," I muttered underneath my breath.
“Get him, get him,” I kept saying to myself.
The slap shot happened in slow motion. The puck hit the back of my goalie’s net and the red siren went off. The other team celebrated on the ice.
Just as the game was over, my dad entered the room and asked, “Did you win your hockey game?”
I chuckled and responded, “No, got beat in overtime. It was a tough loss.”
He then tossed a magazine on the coffee table in front of me and said, “There are some good articles in this magazine. Maybe you should take some time and read a little more about plumbing rather than playing video games all night.”
He left the room without saying another word. I picked up the magazine and looked at the cover. I tossed the magazine back down on the coffee table, picked up the controller and began my next game of NHL Hockey.
A few days passed, and the magazine was still sitting on the coffee table collecting a thin layer of dust and dog hair.
“Hmm, maybe I should read a little bit more instead of playing this hockey game.”
I was on a winning streak at this point, but figured I’d take a break for one night. I looked around the house to see if my dad was around, but the coast was clear. I didn’t want him knowing I gave in and took his advice. I reached over and grabbed the magazine, PHC News. I opened the magazine and flipped through the pages quietly. I browsed some of the articles, and I found the pieces to be very interesting.
As I skimmed the magazine from front to back I began to think to myself, “Not only do I want to read this magazine, but I want to write in this magazine one day.”
As time passed, and I graduated from college. I was in full swing working with my father. Every month the new PHC News magazine would show up, I would be the first to grab the copy and dive in and learn as much as I could.
Each time I would read the articles, I would keep saying to myself, “I really want to write for this magazine. But, how can I write for this magazine when I’m not that great of a writer. I wouldn’t know where to begin, who to ask and what to write about."
So, I flipped to the inside cover and scrolled down to find the editorial director at the time, Jim Schneider’s contact info. I quickly began to brainstorm of an interesting article. Eventually, I reached out to Jim with an article idea.
About a week later, I got a return email from him, giving me the go-ahead to write up the article! I couldn’t believe it. I was excited but nervous at the same time. I tossed ideas back and forth, typing then deleting then typing some more, until I finally came up with a completed piece.
I reluctantly submitted the article due to my insecurities and abilities as a writer. One day later, I received an email from Jim. He loved the article. The piece was printed in the December 2012 issue. Now, three years later I’m here still writing away.
This particular article you are reading right now may inspire you to write yourself! Maybe, it’s not writing an article. However, it may inspire you to write a book, accomplish something in your life that you always wanted to do, but never had the motivation or drive to do so.
I hope that the younger generation entering the plumbing industry reads this piece, and it inspires them to learn more about our industry. Find the motivation to put down that video game controller and score a slap shot goal of your own. Go and use that brain of yours to be successful in whatever it is you’re passionate about in this field. Never be afraid to reach out to others and shoot a text, email or phone call to someone. If I never had, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to write for PHC News.
Thank you, TMB Publishing for believing in me and giving me this wonderful opportunity to express my thoughts and share my passion for this wonderful industry! Here’s to another three years.