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It's Jared's Turn column: Thank you, and see you later

The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.

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Jared Rubado / Echo Press

When I was a senior in high school, I played goalie for the Brainerd boys hockey team. Our first game of the season was at the RCC against Alexandria. We didn't like them, and they didn't like us, which is pretty standard for a Brainerd-Alexandria boys hockey game.

I had started a few games before then but primarily backed up better goalies older than me. But I was given the start in the first game of my senior year. We walked out of the locker room into a packed arena with the lights off – a typical pregame routine for the Alexandria faithful. I led the team down the tunnel, took one step and tripped onto the ice.

It's a funny memory to look back on, but that embarrassing story shouldn't have a deeper meaning whatsoever. But in the last couple of weeks, I've thought about how ironic that story has become.

Today is my last day at the Echo Press. I took a job as the sports lead in Detroit Lakes. It was a decision that wasn't made lightly, but, in all reality, it's a no-brainer. I am 25-years-old, and I get a chance to run my own sports section. I never thought I'd be sitting here with this opportunity this soon when I took this job.

When I think of that hockey game my senior year, it parallels my time here in a lot of ways. I pretty much stumbled into this job.

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I was in school at Augustana University, majoring in journalism and sports management. One of the requirements was to get a passing grade of a "C" in accounting. After failing twice, I had one more shot at passing in my last semester before I was scheduled to graduate. I crushed an independent study about the ethics and laws of journalism, but Accounting 101 gave me nightmares.

I wasn't sure if I was going to pass on my third try. While I was supposed to be applying for jobs, I studied for a class with kids four years younger than me. I applied for one job: the sports reporter opening at the Echo Press.

About a month before school ended, I got a call saying I got the job. The plan was to start a week after I graduated on Dec. 18, 2018. But I had one thing left to do at Augustana.

Going into my accounting final, I knew I was going to fail. Walking out of my accounting final, I definitely knew I failed. The first thing I did when I got back to my janky college house was email the professor.

In a moment of complete honesty and humiliation, I pleaded my case in saying that all I needed was a passing grade to graduate or I can't take my new job. She responded a couple of hours later, saying it was a good thing I sent her that email.

I stumbled my way into this job, but I found my footing. The parallels to that hockey game ended there because we lost to Alexandria in overtime, and the game-winning goal went off my head.

Whenever I talked about my job, I always felt like I was bragging because that's how lucky I felt to be here. I worked with awesome people, including Eric Morken. Without him, I wouldn't have this new opportunity. If you think you know how good he is at his job, you're wrong. He's the best.

This job requires you to check your ego at the door. But you have to have enough confidence in yourself to do your job well. Journalism isn't about adulation or self-fulfillment. It's about being a public servant. It was never lost on me that at any game I covered, it could end up in one of your scrapbooks for generations.

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There are things I won't miss, but it's easy not to think about them when the great times here outweigh them by so much. I'm sure some of you are happy to see me leave, which comes with the territory of the business. In many ways, I appreciate those people as well.

I am genuinely going to miss the people. I feel fortunate to have great relationships with athletics directors like Trent Hintermeister, Pat Kalpin and Ben Kvidt. I'll even miss the fun parts of the Alexandria School Board beat, like chatting about sports with Dave Anderson. I'll miss seeing parents like Jeff James posted up at hockey games. I loved working with so many of these coaches and players, but now somebody else will have to remind Bill Infanger that it's OK for Osakis to throw the football.

I'm forever lucky that this paper took a chance on some kid who couldn't pass accounting, even if I left that out of my resume.

“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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