Friday, December 1, 2017

December Update: From Baseball to Tennis

One thing I really enjoy about working at Global is the willingness for newsroom management to not only hear story pitches, but to provide the opportunity to see those pitches come to fruition on the newscast.

Even though my main duties are to produce and present weather forecasts, I am given ample chances to expand my toolkit by sports anchoring, co-hosting The Morning Show, and producing feature stories on athletes.

Story-wise, over the past few months, I've done features on tennis player Bianca Andreescu and golfer Judith Kyrinis. My latest, which was filmed earlier week, is on baseball/softball player Mia Valcke.

While the story was shot and edited this week, it won't be airing until the Christmas holidays. I will post the completed story in next month's post, but here's a sneak peek that I posted to Twitter.

I'm not sure what the subject of my next story for Global will be as of yet, however, I am planning on putting something together that's a little bit different on this website next month. 

The subject will be me and the sport will be tennis. I'm calling it Second Serve: An Inside Look at Canadian Tennis. And the only way to truly get an inside look is to put myself in the middle of it.

Yes, I have been only playing tennis for 5 years. But I've gotten pretty good. How good? Well, that's going to be the point of this monthly video and writing series.

I have joined the Ontario Tennis Association (and by extension Tennis Canada) and will be playing in my first official tournament in a couple of weeks in Burlington. It's an open-level tournament, which means that I will start accumulating points for a national ranking to see exactly where I stack up.

I will dive deeper into the reasons why I'm doing this and what to expect in my first post that will be coming right around Christmas.

Until then, have a great holiday season!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November Update - The Morning Show and Halloween

I had a very abridged work schedule in October. I had three weekends off because of 1) my 10-year reunion at Queen's University, 2) a wedding in Windsor, 3) Halloween celebrations.

Sandwiched between those weekends off was a week spent working at the Corus building along the waterfront in Toronto for The Morning Show.

I always enjoy filling in on The Morning Show as it breaks up my regular routine, plus I get a chance to do more than just weather updates. For example, I get to discuss news of the day, plus some entertainment/sports tidbits and conduct interviews with interesting people.

One of those was with actress Alexandra Beaton. Here's my interview with the Family Channel star.

My Halloween costume this year was connected with my 10-year university reunion. And also because I was uncharacteristically lazy with my costume this year. I decided to go as myself from 10 years ago, when I was playing on the varsity baseball team at Queen's. And I wanted to see if my uniform still fit.

I am happy to report that it did!

My schedule is back to normal for November.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

October Update - Summer Has Taken A Fall

After the searing heat and humidity that plagued much of eastern Ontario for the final week of September, temperatures are now where they should be at this time of the year.

The cooler air is refreshing, especially considering the lion's share of my tennis club's year-end championship took place in that hot weather.

In both singles and doubles, I made it to the semi-finals. I'm very pleased with those performances after all of the work I put into my game this season. In fact, I have beaten every opponent I've faced at the club at least once this year except for two players (one of whom is the 3-time defending club champion).

Now, I am focusing on maintaining all of the progress I've made over the spring and summer by playing once or twice a month during the fall and winter.

Next season, I plan on registering with the Ontario Tennis Association to play in an open tournament once a month to obtain a provincial and a national ranking to see where I stand among the top players in the province and the country. (spoiler alert: it will probably be near the bottom).

Work-wise, in September I continued to diversify my media portfolio by working some sports anchoring shifts and another reporter shift, all in addition to my regular weather duties.

My first feature was on 17-year-old tennis player Bianca Andreescu. My most recent profile was on 53-year-old golfer Judith Kyrinis.

In October, I will be co-hosting The Morning Show during the week of Thanksgiving, so be sure to tune in.

Thanks for reading and watching!

Friday, September 1, 2017

September Update - Tennis, tennis, and more tennis

I don't have a good excuse as to why I didn't post a monthly update in August, so I'm not going to make one.

Although, August was a busy month, as I worked The Morning Show on Global for a week (which is always a lot of fun) and also included a bit of a working vacation (of which I will divulge more details at a later date).

Sports-wise, my baseball career has come to an end again. The East York Bulldogs lost in the semi-finals of the GTBL playoffs and I think I'm hanging up my glove for good this time.

I mentioned in my previous post that, though my pitching prowess seemed to be better than ever, each time (twice total) I tried to throw multiple innings, I gave up runs.

Well, I only threw single innings since my last post and didn't relinquish another run all year. Unfortunately, for most of the summer, I was dealing with elbow pain as pitching and playing tennis 3 times a week is not a sound strategy.

But in my final outing of the season, I managed to strike out the side, so I am retiring on a high note. Here's my final stat line.

On the other hand, my tennis career is definitely progressing. I had another lesson, this time to learn how to volley finally, and it is definitely paying off. My ground strokes are crisp, my serve is getting more consistent and I'm currently in the midst of a 13-set winning streak (not including a beat down at the hands of my club's defending champion).

This year's club championship starts on September 9 and I'm hopeful for a big run.

My secret weapon could be the tips I received at the end of August. I've added reporter to my weather specialist, fill-in morning show co-host, and fill-in sports anchor role at Global.

I just filed a story on 17-year-old Bianca Andreescu. She is currently ranked in the top 170 in the world while juggling professional tennis and online high school. I think she will make some big noise on the tour in the next couple of years.

Here's the story:

I was also able to steal some serving tips from her coach, former world number three, Nathalie Tauziat. Hopefully, those tips help in the club championship. I will update how I do next month.

Until then, thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

July Update - Sesquicentennial

I write this monthly update while watching coverage of the Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa and the Nation's Capital is just getting hammered with thunderstorms. The rain has turned portions of Parliament Hill into a lake, but there are still thousands of Canadians in attendance celebrating this great country.

Speaking of rain, the start of June saw me take part in the Ride for Heart charity bike ride with a few of my Global colleagues. I last took part in a similar ride back in 2014. That was a 60 km sojourn through the Oak Ridges Moraine. The Ride for Heart traversed the DVP in Toronto and it was a 75 km total ride.

It was the farthest I've ever biked in one day. It also poured rain from the minute I first got on the bike until I got off three hours later. Here is a fake smile I mustered around kilometre 71.

Baseball-wise, I am feeling my age. I am the oldest pitcher men's team I am playing on and my pitching stamina is attesting to that fact. I am throwing harder than I ever have, but I can only throw for an inning at a time. Every first inning I've thrown this year has been a clean inning with no runs allowed. Twice I've tried to come back out for a second inning and I get hit around. 

It's odd because I used to be a guy who could throw 8 or 9 innings at a time. But I suppose that's to be expected after not picking up a ball for six years.

Tennis is going much better. I took the second lesson of my life last month and it's made a marked difference in my ground strokes. I am hitting with a crispness that I've never had before. Hopefully, I can keep it going for the rest of the season.

At Global, I have a few morning show shifts coming up this month, which is always a blast, and a nice of change of pace from my normal schedule. 

Here's a short clip from Global Durham at the end of June.

I will be on The Morning Show on July 4, July 27, and July 28 from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Be sure to tune in!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June Update - Welcome Summer!

The month of May brought a number of things my way. In terms of sports, tennis season is in full swing and it seems like my game is improving rapidly after a sideways year in 2016 while I re-tooled my serve. 

And, over the past few months, I have found myself missing the game of baseball. So, I decided to do something about it. 

For the first time since 2011, I am pitching again. I am playing for the East York Bulldogs of the Greater Toronto Baseball League (here's my player page), which is a rung below the semi-pro level that represented the pinnacle of my baseball career.

This is still competitive baseball. We will be competing in the Ontario championship in August for a berth in the national championship. In fact, I was named pitcher of the year in the GTBL in 2010 before moving up to semi-pro.

My arms feels great so far and past teammates think I may actually be throwing harder, with better control, than I did six years ago.

Work-wise, I was able to combine a baseball anecdote with the music of Meat Loaf for a fun anchor chat.

At the end of May, I went on a road trip to Vegas and California with two of my best friends from high school. There were a lot of laughs and a lot of potent potables.

I was also able to get a picture on the way back to Toronto with one of my favourite characters from The Office, Toby Flenderson.

"If I had a gun with two bullets and I was in a room with Hitler, Bin Laden, and Toby, I would shoot Toby twice."

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April Update - Spring Sprung

And so begins the best first week of any month (in my mind anyway). 

Monday marks the opening day of the 2017 Major League Baseball season (the best sport in the world) and it's also the start of Masters week (the greatest tournament in the world).

I'm probably in the minority, but the World Baseball Classic catalyzed my focus on the new baseball season a couple of weeks earlier than normal (and that's with Team Canada laying a complete egg in their three lacklustre games).

The passion from the players in the WBC was contagious.

And Jays fans had to be ecstatic seeing Marcus Stroman weave six innings of dominance in the final against Puerto Rico.

I shared my thoughts on how he did it on Global Durham:

It should be another exciting baseball season in Toronto that's for sure!

Here's my April schedule at Global:

Wednesday through Friday - 5 p.m. newscast for Durham, 11 p.m. for Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and Fredericton.

Saturday and Sunday - 10 p.m. newscast for Winnipeg, Regina, and Saskatoon and 11 p.m. for Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and Fredericton. 

Thanks for reading and watching!