Noble: Life lessons at TV8
“You’re no Tricia Swenson,” was the subtext of many conversations over the past few years when I would tell people I worked part-time as a co-host on TV8’s “Good Morning Vail” program. No argument there — Tricia was born to be in front of a camera. I am just grateful that for a few wonderful years I got to be a part of the team at TV8.
What Mark Sassi did not know when he offered me a job was that he was helping me to fulfill a lifelong dream. Buried somewhere in my elementary school memorabilia was an essay I wrote in sixth grade. In it I share my aspiration to be a television reporter like “Geraldo Rivera or Barbara Walters.”
In my defense, this was before the Al Capone vault farce and Rivera still enjoyed something of a legitimate reputation. At the time, Walters presided over the weekly television news magazine “20/20” — one of the few television programs my parents allowed me to watch. Walters would go on to host “The View” and Rivera would go on to join the dark side.
The other thing Sassi did not know, but may have guessed, was that I had not held a paying job in 17 years. During that time, I was a housewife. Sure, I had to have my kids at school by a certain time, but I could do that in my pajamas. Now, I had to be presentable in the morning with real clothes on and combed hair.
After a few weeks at TV8, my daughter Brigitte asked how my job was going.
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“If you must know, I’m miserable,” I confessed.
She looked confused and asked, “Then why are you doing it?”
“Because, I expect to eventually love it.”
It was important to me that my daughter saw me trying something that was challenging. I went on to explain to her that stepping outside of comfort zones could be difficult and uncomfortable, but it is the only way to achieve anything significant. It is breathtaking to consider what you might miss out on if you quit just because it is tough.
I was terrible in the beginning, but no one on the team ever acknowledged that fact. It may have been the most forgiving place I have ever worked. Ashley Prill, one of the nicest humans I have ever met, was an endless wellspring of patience and encouragement. I knew, no matter how badly I embarrassed myself, that the only way to improve was to get back out there and try again the next morning.
An unexpected benefit to working at TV8 was a newfound respect for millennials. Their generation gets an undeserved bad rap. They worked their butts off. Most, if not all, worked two or more jobs to afford to live here. Even though I was older than just about everyone (except for Sassi) by several decades, they never made me feel like a creepy old geezer hanging around a bunch of kids.
When I heard of Vail Resorts’ decision to close TV8, I was saddened by the hardship my former colleagues would face as well as the loss to the community. I realize this is but one of many stories of shattered dreams that may become commonplace due to the economic fallout from the pandemic.
We see the numbers of people infected and those who have died from COVID-19. What is less well-known are the numbers of businesses that have closed for good — current estimates exceed 100,000. The national chains capture the headlines, but it is the locally owned and operated restaurants, stores and bars that are closing in obscurity, mourned only by their former employees and customers.
When the history of 2020 is written it will contain a lot of heartbreak. Perhaps we can use that realization to show one another a bit more patience and kindness now. As Mark Sassi would say, “Get out there and make some memories.”