Mat MacDonald AKA The Rook The Rook is currently enrolled in Human Kinetics at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. A frequent contributor to all NBA and Raptors debates along with other sports. Witty, quick and never afraid of a challenge, Mat's here to talk hoops with you and dish out his two cents whenever!
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Itʼs felt like forever and now itʼs all over in one night. Itʼs crazy how time flies when youʼre having fun. The craziest part about everything is that the whole time you did your job, you really were having fun. Checking Twitter alone there were hundreds and hundreds of messages sent your way, thank you tweets, congratulation tweets and the sad messages sent by all of your loving fans who have been with you since the early, early days.
When I was 16 I turned on The Score randomly one night to see this ʻdudeʼ as Tim loves to call you, just hanging out on a television network, talking sports and loving life. I thought to myself, “That would be a pretty sweet job!” And, undoubtedly it is. But then I checked in a few days later and saw you interviewing players and thought that the job was even sweeter than I thought.
A few months later you were sitting down with sports icons, going to finals events, talking to anyone you wanted to! It was almost as if Moses parted any sea or crowd of people he had to in order for you to get your time in with any athlete you wanted. That was when I realized that it wasnʼt so much the job that was amazing, but the work put in by yourself that made it so amazing.
I canʼt tell you how many times Iʼve sat here and laughed at your interviews with players like Kobe, the Stall brothers and heck even Orlando Hudsonʼs “Haley Berry” on repeat, over and over again. Youʼre one talented person and youʼve never been scared to show it.
There was honestly a point where I decided that I was going to come home every night, turn on The Score and keep it on all night until they ran your work or you made some sort of appearance. Why did I do this? Besides the fact that everyone loves comedy, and when thatʼs mixed with sports it becomes almost unreal to watch, I really wanted to watch to learn. I can tell you that Iʼve learned a ton from you and give you a whole speech about what youʼve taught me over the years, but thereʼs nothing really more to say than the one biggest thing I learned from you: Be yourself.
I came up as a kid that always wanted to play basketball and try to make a living out of it. Once I realized that genetics and many other things were standing in my way of my ʻhoop dreamsʼ and that my only shot in the league one day may be to fill the role of Shawn Bradley, I decided I too should take my talents elsewhere.
I always doubted if I would be able to do this kind of work for a living. It took the words of tons of people and supporters to give me the comfort in doing this, but ultimately it was what you told me one time in Ottawa. You were covering the menʼs nationals for university basketball and I had a chance to grab a quick word with you as you and Adnan were swarmed by the Carleton crazies. I asked you how do you get to where youʼre at today if youʼre just someone like me?
And your answer, “Never stop chasing your dreams!”
Those words have stuck with me for life and theyʼre something that Iʼll never forget.
Hopefully the future holds great things for you, Cab. I donʼt want to see you move on from here and make any Kim Kardashian mistakes - and Iʼm sure you wonʼt. I just want you to know that youʼve given hope not only to myself, but hundreds if not thousands of other dreamers out there that hope to make it big one day just like yourself.
Thank you for all the hard work and time that youʼve put in to helping Canada get on the map in the sports world. Itʼs hard watching sports on television sometimes when the material is so dry and the anchors talk sports in boring grey suits.
You were one of a kind, and you helped develop a new style of sports thatʼs carried throughout North America.
So once again thank you for everything. Keep doing you and never look back. Youʼll always have everyone from Canada in your corner for now, and your future endeavors.