One of the wonders of life as a reporter is the wide variety of worlds you enter.
At the Daily Herald, you could be interviewing the premier one day, talking to a young soccer player the next and asking a senior about his wartime experiences on the third day.
It’s amazing to have the access to as many different life experiences as we do.
Sometimes, however, the stories hit pretty close to home.
So it was that last Wednesday I was on the phone with Daily Herald sports reporter Dave Leaderhouse talkin about the award he won for his volunteer work with the A&W Bears girls midget hockey team.
I found out about it on Sunday, the same day he did.
The initial conversation went something along the lines of this.
“You know we have to do a story, right?”
“Oh no we don’t.”
When I was taking pictures at the Bears game on Tuesday night, I took a different tack. I started teasing him in front of the other Bears’ volunteers, including team chair Laura Quesnel.
She was having none of his modesty. The next morning I received an email from Dave saying that he would participate in the story.
The result ran on the bottom of the front page last Friday.
Dave is not a person into half measures; either he’s entirely in or not at all. I was lucky to have him as a resource when I moved to Prince Albert a year ago and I’m lucky to have his sports coverage now.
The other volunteers with the Bears made it clear that they feel the same way.
I can honestly say that I know how he feels because I was given an award in Brandon in the spring of 2011.
At the time, I was the long-serving president of the Westman Triumphs triathlon club. My friends ran the massive triathlon in Riding Mountain National Park and I was fortunate enough to deal with the new athletes each year.
When you’ve been doing something for a long time -- I entered triathlon in July of 2002 -- it’s nice to be around the nerves and energy from people doing it for the first time.
I had also put on a kids triathlon for four years in Brandon before a flood ruined our swim venue at a campground west of Brandon.
As a result, I had played a small role in more than 100 people doing their first triathlon. It was truly a labour of love because I had no expectations of any recognition.
In 2011, my friend Mark Phinney nominated me for one of Brandon’s “Power To Inspire” awards in a letter that alternately delighted and horrified me.
Here’s part of what he wrote.
“You see Perry somehow manages to always inspire best in those around him, whether they are top level competitors or someone just beginning a journey of fitness and self-discovery. It will embarrass Perry to no end to be recognized for all the hard work that he does for the local triathlon community, but as mentioned earlier, you would have to look pretty hard to find someone more deserving for an award such as this.”
I include that only because you could stroke out my name and the sport, insert Dave and the Bears, and probably end up with the same reaction.
I was genuinely touched by the award, just as I know my friend Dave was.
But it sure won’t create any expectations to either of our volunteer efforts in the future.
• • •
One of the first events that I went to after moving to Prince Albert was a Mintos playoff game.
It was terrific hockey at a level that I hadn’t watched much. To my discredit, it took me until Jan. 29 to get to a game this season. Since then, I’ve seen seven games. I’ve been to four Bears games and virtually all of the Raiders games this winter.
I’ve always loved hockey but that had waned as the NHL went on strike repeatedly. I really have no clue what’s going in that league.
But I can tell you about the Bears, the Raiders and the Mintos.
One of the things that’s once again made me a hockey fan is the fact that I now take a camera with me to every game I go to.
You’ll see me at the Art Hauser Centre with the big 70-200 lens on a camera mounted on a monopod. I wish I could tell you that the pole was just to be one of the cool kids but I badly broke one of arms 20 years ago. As a result, I don’t have the strength in my right wrist to support that big camera.
Evan with the Raiders put blue chairs in the four corners of the rink so that I wouldn’t have to squat on my knees anymore either.
I didn’t come to Prince Albert as a photographer but I’ve discovered that I really love shooting sports. My work has a long, long, long way to go but I’m proud of some of the images that I’ve grabbed this year.
I certainly wouldn’t have gotten them in my first few games when I was still learning about the craft of photography.
(Thanks to former Daily Herald photographer Thomas Porter for his early help in setting me straight.)
After every game now I put up a slideshow of usually 20 pictures on our website from that night’s action.
You’ll find 16 from the Raiders, seven from the Mintos and four from the Bears, which is ironically the team that probably appreciates them the most.
If you see the redhead with the big camera between periods, please stop me, introduce yourself and say hi. I tend to be a little distracted when the game is on because I’m working, but I’m always looking for story ideas.
And I remain keen to meet more folks here in Prince Albert; you’ve seldom let me down so far.
Perry Bergson is the Daily Herald’s managing editor. You can reach him at 765-1302 or by email at email@example.com