I received a wedding invitation in the mail the other day, something that usually makes me cringe.Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good wedding bash as much as the next guy, but sometimes you get invited to wedding from the long-lost second cousin or the second marriage of your great uncle that you dread both going to and buying a gift for.
But this was different.
This invitation came from Tom Casale, a student I taught as a part-timer in only my second class ever.
I really enjoyed having Tom in class, and spoke to him frequently about sports and journalism before and after class.
His college career came to a close in 2005 and I tried hard, but without success to land him a local reporting job – lucky for him.
Tom’s persistence and drive led him to flood NFL teams and newspapers from around the country with his resume – and led to a call back from the New England Patriots.
A staff member from the Patriots called me asking about Tom, and I told them the truth – that he was hard-working, a talented writer and a genuinely likeable guy.
They hired him as a team writer, and I was so proud. Proud to have taught him and in some small way helped him land his dream job.
And it was Tom who made me realize why I traded in the newsroom for the classroom.
As a reporter and editor, you live for the story.
As a reporter, it’s the thrill of the chase of a great story – whether it’s uncovering wrongdoing by government or writing a heartfelt story about the goodwill a neighborhood can bestow on a dying cancer victim.
As an editor, you live vicariously through the reporters, hoping they’ll ask you to help them craft the perfect story.
Tom helped me realize that as a professor, the reward is seeing your students prosper and make a contribution to the world and be happy in life after college. And when they choose the field you love and keep in touch and include you in life decisions, it’s all the better.
As a professor, it’s almost like your family keeps growing – even though my wife and I are SO not having any more babies.
I hope to have many more of these proud moments as my career ages – and I can’t wait for this wedding, even though the only people I’ll probably know are my wife and Tom.