Talking a Dream to Death

Welcome back to my Wednesday post. Fifty-two times a year I will have the privilege of writing for you guys about all things stutter-related (and possibly some non-stutter-related stuff too). Last week’s blog, found here, was a bit of an introduction for you all. Today, I’ll write about the first time I, and I alone, actually thought my stutter would hold me back.
To put things bluntly, I have always been sports mad. I still am; although I play less sports these days. When I was younger, I played soccer, ice hockey, softball, baseball, football, and track. Most of those for school teams as well. I had a core group of friends into my early 20s and we would meet each week at the local field and play the chosen game that day before hitting the pub for some drinks and food. Most often we would play football; but we did organise a few tennis tournaments and in the winter months would occasionally get out and play ice hockey. I couldn’t really ask for anything more.
Most of these guys I met in my 20s so I was comfortable with who I was and my stutter was less apparent. And at that age, most of us have our own demons to contend with so the triviality of a stutter is something not really to focus on. And the other guys I had known for years and to them my stutter was just part of who I was. Like my sense of humour, my blistering pace, my awful haircut, and my “ability” to highland dance like a pro (well, I thought so at least).
As a teen I discovered that I would never make it as a professional athlete. Sure, I had some ability, but genetics determined that I would always be on the short side and small side of things. Distinctively average, I believe I would call myself in terms of physical prowess. And at that size, normal and average, your skill level has to be miles better than those around you that have a bigger size. While I was good, I wasn’t that much better than most. And I was fine with that. A career in sports could still happen. I could, and would have loved it just as much, be a play-by-play announcer!
I would not claim to be a genius (although my last 7 Mensa tests prove otherwise), but I have the uncanny knack of remembering useless trivia. I’m the perfect fit for a quiz team that needs the Jack-of-all-trades kind of guy. Well, my go-to categories are sports and entertainment (including music and tv/film). But I also seem to remember an awful lot of sports trivia. I remember players, points, specific games. Always have. I figured with this knowledge and capacity to remember, I would be well-suited to a career as an announcer. At this point, I was thinking of my interests and not my stutter. I was determined to have sports play a major influence in my life for as long as I could.
While soccer is my first love (being born in the UK it is a given), ice hockey was probably the sport I was best at and the fast-paced nature of the game made it perfect to describe to people. I had played at a high junior level as well and new the game inside and out. At one time I could tell you the seating capacity in most major rinks around the National Hockey League. Yeah, I was that sad.
Having gained immeasurable confidence from taking drama at school, I decided to try my hand at becoming an announcer. I started back at my old junior high school, a place where I felt at home and my legacy as the big-shot athlete still carried some weight. I would man the microphone during their volleyball games and fill in the spaces in time when the ball wasn’t in play. And things were going fine until …
… halfway through the second game I was doing, the microphone gave out one of the high-pitched squeaks that leaves people both angry and scared. And then it does it again. Now, every single eye in the gymnasium is staring at me – spectators, coaches, players, officials. I begin to apologize for the sound, the disturbance, the bleeding ear canals that might follow.
“I, I, I, I’m” Such a simple word. I am. Not difficult at all. But with all of those eyes on me, that dreaded first vowel sound tripped me up. An eternity passes in five seconds. I’m gone from star athlete to 4 year old learning to talk again. Mid-word I decide to change from saying “I’m” to saying “sorry”. S sounds aren’t much better. One more squeal from the microphone and I manage to fix the problem. “Fixed”, I gleefully announce to everyone, and it rolls off my tongue like the proverbial red carpet being rolled out for royalty. But the damage to my psyche had been done. I was so focused on not stuttering, that all I could do was stutter. While no one snickered (or at least snickered loud enough for me to hear it), I managed to convince myself that I would never be a sports commentator. And I was stubborn.
So, no commentary gigs for me, but I could still find a way to work in sports and soon came up with my next master plan.


7 thoughts on “Talking a Dream to Death

  1. (After I told two of my team members about the award)

    We’re very thankful that you took the time to nominate us, and you can bet your lucky socks we’ll repay the favor.

    (My plans for the evening)

    I’ll post up the reward you awarded us on my Awards page I’m working on. Thank you again for the lovely words and the beautiful award.

    Warm Regards,


  2. I would like to say I love your blog and the wonderful and beautiful things you share as well as the inspiration and smiles you bring in doing so! Thank you for being you and I hope even if you do not accept awards you will accept the sentiment expressed as I honor you with one. There is no prize that comes with the award other than my appreciation and being grateful you are part of our world and making a difference by sharing in such a positive way…
    I have posted the award and link to it here I hope you will accept it or at least the sentiment behind it! http://artisticlyxpressedthoughts.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/awards-and-shared-gifts/

    With love,

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I copied and pasted the image into my post and made a list then posted it on the post then sent a comment to the bloggers on the list sharing the award and smiles with them… I hope that helps. I loved this award as there are no rules and required acts to give or receive it…. peace and a smile i wish you the best and good luck with posting as well as sharing


      2. Thank you very much Joe. James asked me to write for the site to try and educate people about those who stutter. It looks like we’re doing it and doing it well.


        1. We’ve gained so much support in the past 3 weeks. It’s simply breathtaking seeing people from different parts of the globe, unite for a common goal. I’m determined to not only keep this site going, but also to look to expansion so we can reach even more people.



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