The Punxsutawney Spirit welcomes Michael Waterloo as new sports reporter

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The legendary coach of the UCLA Bruins, John Wooden, said it best — “Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.”

Wooden couldn’t have been more spot-on with his famous quote.

No matter what you want to do, you can’t give up on it.

For me, I realized my dream at a young age.

With having no memory of my parents still being married, I always tried to mirror both of them growing up.

Since I can remember, my mother was always reading some piece of literature.

It could be her People Magazine, her novels from the local library or reading up on her favorite subject, history.

When I’d be at my mom’s house, I’d try to emulate her. I would read her magazines, get books from my school library and even beg her to buy me books from the Scholastic Book Club each month at school.

Soon enough, I became a big reader.

Early on, I caught the love of sports from my father.

For the most part, this is what we talked about wherever we went.

You know what? I was perfectly OK with it.

When I wasn’t in school, reading or playing sports outside, I would watch any game that was on TV, and would try to learn as much about it as possible. I would grab my dad’s Sports Illustrated, Sporting News and the daily newspapers to learn about the hot topics in the wide world of sports.

One day, I went with my dad on a trip to the grocery store. He turned to me and asked, “Mike, what do you want to do when you grow up?”

Being that he worked at Allegheny Ludlum at the time, I said, “Dad, I want to work with you. Well, either that or be a sports writer.”

You can take a guess which one of the two jobs I pursued.

At age six, I knew what my dream was, and 20 years later, here I am.

I’ve been passionate about the newspaper industry and the sports industry for as long as I can remember.

Despite growing up in the technology age, the only dream that I had was to write for a newspaper.

Not an online website, but a real newspaper.

Well, Punxsutawney, you have helped me achieve my dream.

As your new sports reporter, I promise to bring you the best local coverage of your teams for The Spirit.

Whether it is little Johnny on the T-ball field scoring his first run, Coach Nichol leading the Chucks to victory or little Susie learning the fundamentals of basketball, I’ll cover it like it’s Game 7 of the World Series.

My parents always said if I put as much time into my schoolwork as I did learning about sports, I would have been the smartest kid ever.

Well, it looks like those years of schooling and focusing on sports have paid off.