Vail Daily Editor and Publisher Don Rogers: How to recognize opportunity
Vail, CO, Colorado
I have this fantasy, this crazy dream completely divorced from reality.
The Los Angeles Times calls out of the blue. Seems they’ve been following this foolish Friday thing for a few years and have decided they simply must have me as a columnist. Money is no object.
Turns out, I’m the LeBron James of journalism. Me! I debate whether to take my talents to a different sort of South Beach. … Then I wake up.
All my family, friends, mentors, bosses, gurus say basically the same thing about career and life: Hopes and dreams are no substitutes for plans and strategies.
I believe them. I’m sure it’s all true.
Just never happened.
I fell into bartending in Waikiki at age 19 because I needed a job and a friend knew a friend. Oh, and the drinking age there was 18.
I fell into wildland firefighting because I chased a girl to Santa Barbara but was still too young in California to be a bartender. A standby job led to another job, basically.
Years later, I fell into journalism because now I had a bad knee, a new wife and lived in a new town where I just knew that even though I could barely type, I could write better than what I was reading in the local paper.
Oh, I left out the part that although I was so poor at writing I couldn’t finish a paper in school, I had this fantasy, this crazy dream completely divorced from reality, that I would write for a living. Ridiculous!
Yet a decade later, with no education to speak of, I became a reporter, then an editor, saw the country and eventually washed up here, inflicting this column on you. (Hey, it’s an award winner! So there, critics.)
I can’t claim any of this was planned. I certainly didn’t strategize myself into the best job in journalism. If crazy fantasy qualifies as vision, then I had vision (or visions might be more like it).
Serendipity always ruled. Opportunity trumped grand plans. Mainly because I didn’t make those.
I didn’t plan to become a writer. Or an editor. And most certainly not a publisher. All that fell into place by circumstance. Like everything else.
I’d say this is how dreams work, but that wouldn’t be quite right, either. In elementary school, I accepted my dream of playing defensive tackle for the Los Angeles Rams as fate. I even prepared for the inevitability by playing there in our after-school games, the smallest, skinniest kid in class, telling the big guys, “You just wait.”
Alas, I suspect the L.A. Times dream is more like that, given the reality of my God-given gifts.
But still I fantasize. After all, dreaming is how you recognize opportunity, no matter how crazy that it should come knocking.
Editor and Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-748-2920.