Danny Hooper Productions

They’re not laughing now

I’m not ashamed to admit that I don’t much care for organized sports. Never have, probably never will. I was a runt of a kid, always the last picked on school teams, and always the first to take a dodgeball in the face, even when the game being played wasn’t dodgeball. I tried playing hockey, but skated so poorly they put me in goal…for just one period. The score was 13-0. That was a particularly tough day for my dad.

And as an adult, I’ve never understood why so many people dole out thousands of hard-earned dollars each year for season tickets, just so they can rabidly cheer on their favourite athletes, many of whom earn millions of dollars a year playing a game they’d probably play for free if they had to.

While I do understand the role that sports play in the physical, emotional, and mental development of our youth, I’m here to say that organized sport is often over-rated, and certainly not the be-all, end-all. As a society, we place too much importance on sports, and too much pressure on kids that both have and don’t have athletic ability.

Most people are born with something special, a unique talent or innate skill. For me, it was the “gift of gab.” My embarrassing lack of athletic ability was more than compensated for by an ability to communicate in a manner that, in the early days, not only diffused the bullies, but also laid the foundation for what has proven to be a fun-filled and lucrative 40-year career spent behind a microphone as an entertainer, professional emcee, keynote speaker, fundraising auctioneer, and media personality.

I was the kid who found acceptance on the high school public speaking and debate team, not the soccer field, hockey rink, or ball diamond. And while I wore the brunt of many a jock’s jokes, they’re not laughing now.

By recognizing and honouring the gifts you’ve been given, your own unique talents, and by diligently developing those skill-sets, you can discover countless ways to monetize your innate talents. I’ve been doing it for the past forty years. So the next time you’re pushing a hockey stick, baseball bat, or tennis racket on your kid and getting a bit of pushback, why not try a different approach.

Try handing the kid a microphone.