Sports are a way of life for many, be it their source of entertainment, a reason to rally around a cause, or a physical challenge.
For myself, sports have evolved into a career. And, from watching and playing them to reporting and writing about them, there is no denying the huge role they have had in my life throughout its 23 years.
Being immersed in this world of sports for such a period of time has given me an intense passion for them. And, it's this passion that I look to bring to Brainerd and the readers of the Dispatch.
But before eyes scanning the sports section see the name "Ty Rushmeyer" popping up on a weekly basis, I would like to share how I got to this point.
I grew up in Albany, playing any sport I could in any capacity. Whether it was backyard Whiffleball games with the parents that would go on for hours or elementary basketball in the old high school gym, sports were quickly becoming my way of life.
But playing sports was only one aspect of my interest.
It became clear early on that I was idolizing any athlete I could watch, see, or meet, from the high school to the professional ranks. Many evenings consisted of heading to town to catch high school events or huddled around the radio listening to the Albany Huskies, Minnesota Twins or Minnesota Gophers.
Sports also played a large role in leisure time. Many trips growing up involved a trek down I-94 to Minneapolis or to vacations across the Midwest to take in a Twins game or witness the excitement that was Gophers basketball in the "Barn."
In regard to my personal involvement in athletics, I settled on basketball as the sport I would focus my high school career on after attempting to be a three-sport-athlete throughout junior high. And although I spent more time on the bench than on the floor, it was an experience that taught me many valuable life lessons I take note of to this day.
After high school graduation there was little question of where I would attend college. I quickly settled on the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, a place where I could catch Division I athletics just steps away from my new residence.
It was at the university where my transition from athlete and spectator to sports journalist would occur.
After spending the first two years in Minneapolis thinking of a major that would allow me to stay involved in sports, I settled on journalism during my junior year.
With the major chosen, I split time between studying journalism with some of the best teachers and professors in the field and looking for any opportunity to have my work published.
A frustrating search it would become, but I would eventually get my big break as I was hired as a full-time sports reporter at The Minnesota Daily, the university's school paper, where I would go on to cover everything from football to wrestling to tennis.
My first assignment was to cover the Gophers football team in California. The one thing I thought throughout the trip was, "Am I really getting paid for this?" It was no doubt the best on-campus job a student could land.
During my time of just more than a year at the Daily, I was offered some incredible opportunities, such as interviewing legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno, standing on the sidelines of Ohio Stadium, witnessing the Gophers' national wrestling championship, and even hearing my question to new Gophers' football coach Tim Brewster on ESPN2.
But now it's time to tackle the next experience; bringing the readers of the Dispatch the best local and statewide sports coverage I can offer.
And this I can assure readers is something that I look forward to doing.
Ty RUSHMEYER, sports writer, can be reached at 855-5865.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.