Everyone has dreams of what they want to be when they grow up. Over time, most of us give up our aspirations to be a ballerina, cowboy or rap superstar to go for something more practical.
Andrew Damelin fell in love with sports at an early age and while he dreamed of being the next Dominique Wilkins, he eventually decided to trade in his jersey for a business suit. But reality television is giving Andrew another chance at his dream career.
Each season, the Score’s Drafted searches from the Rockies to Peggy’s Cove in the hopes of finding “Canada’s Next Top Sportscaster” – and this year, Andrew is getting in the game.
“I like to think I have a unique way of looking at sports,” says Andrew, one of 24 finalists competing to be the Score’s next on-air sports reporter. “Ever since realizing my aspirations to play pro ball were going to be unrealized, I’ve always wanted to be a broadcaster.”
While he left basketball to the pros, Andrew stayed active on the sidelines. During his undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph, the Toronto Raptors fan worked as the sports editor for the student paper, giving him his first taste of sports journalism and the inner workings of athletics both on and off the court (field, track, course, speedway, pitch, diamond and, well, you get the idea).
Even when he suited up and became a Chartered Accountant, the Guelph graduate’s love for sports did not fade. Intent on keeping his voice in the mix of sports casters, he started his own NBA blog last December.
When Drafted came along, Andrew couldn’t pass up the opportunity. He trekked down to Toronto’s Eaton Centre, auditioned in person and later uploaded his online video audition where he shared his knowledge on everything from Boston sports to his crush on Tom Brady.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into the videos, but it doesn’t feel that way because it’s about what we all love – sports,” says Andrew.
That passion for all things athletic is what drove Jackie Redmond to audition last year, and it paid off big time.
“I auditioned because I’ve always dreamt of working in sports and Drafted provided an opportunity for me to show my potential and get a foot in the door. I really believe sometimes the hardest thing about the media industry is getting somebody to give you a chance. There was no way I’d have passed on the opportunity,” says Jackie, the winner of last season’s Drafted and now a full-time sportscaster at the Score.
The London, Ontario native took the traditional route before she got Drafted by handing out resumes, demos and headshots to a variety of sports teams and networks. While reality TV may be an unconventional job application, Jackie says that shows like Drafted have a lot of advantages for getting into the field. The finalists “got a lot of exposure through the show and for me I got to do a lot of really cool things. I learned a lot about myself and the industry and I’m better at my job today because of it,” she says.
For Andrew, Drafted allows him to showcase his sports expertise, classic sportscaster commentating skills and taught him essential broadcasting techniques like reading off a teleprompter, one of the many challenges during Drafted Boot Camp.
The race is still on and with viewers allowed to cast a daily vote for their favourites until August 15, Andrew’s future on the show (and in sports journalism) remains uncertain – but the challenge and opportunity that this type of contests presents is clear.
“I don’t know many people whose job interview and audition lasts 10 weeks and is filmed for the entire country to watch – not easy!”says Jackie. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re hired through your resume, an interview or even a show because the only way you can stick around is if you work hard.”