In the second of my accidental series of posts about how life is too short to be anchored to a desk, I talk to Alayne.
She works in Nova Scotia, but all of her clients are somewhere else. I knew she left Ottawa to head out east, but never knew why until we did this interview.
Also, she thinks ringette is still a real thing. I remember a long time ago, when the girls who could skate would play ringette, and the boys would play hockey. My sister even tried for a season, and then decided she’s rather ignore sports altogether.
But it turns out, others kept playing. Anyway, here’s what we talked about.
You worked in Ottawa doing PR for high tech firms, and then moved to Nowhere, Nova Scotia. You’re still doing PR for high tech firms. How did that happen?
I grew up in Cape Breton and moved to the big city of Ottawa to go to school. I graduated, got a job right out of school and never left. I worked for the government for a bit and then got into high tech PR, and I also did PR for Ringette Canada. High tech PR and sports PR could not be any further apart on the spectrum, but both are really awesome in their own way. In the blink of an eye, ten years rolled around and my dad suffered a heart attack. When that happened, I knew I needed to go back home. I was too far away and life was too short. So I went into work and told my boss I was leaving. The owner of the PR firm saw it as an opportunity and suggested I open an office in Halifax. So that’s what I did. My dad pulled through and I was closer to home, continuing to do the work that I enjoyed. A few years later, the tech boom busted and the tech PR gig sorta dried up, but I continued to do the ringette PR. In the last year, things have sorta come full circle and I have reconnected with inmedia, the tech PR firm, and am back in the saddle again.
What’s it take to be able to work remotely? If I’m “working from home,” there tends to be a lot of napping.
Working from home is definitely a challenge. You need to be focused and you need to manage your time. I live on an island in the Bay of Fundy off of Nova Scotia and it can also be very isolating. Luckily I get to travel quite a bit for work and I dial-in to a crazy amount of conference calls, so most days I don’t feel too far away from the action. Interestingly enough, when I look back at my 9 to 5 office days, I must say that I wasn’t the most productive creature around. I spent a good portion of my day chatting away to co-workers and taking long lunches, so the time spent actually being productive was marginal at best. Over the years I would say I have perfected the working from home gig and am pretty focused when I am at my desk. Yes the sunshine does lure me away, sometimes I multi-task and follow the sporting event du jour on television, and I have been known to put in some pretty late nights at my desk…but at the end of the day I have a job to do and it gets done on time.
So, ringette is still a thing? Don’t all the girls just play hockey now?
Ringette is very much still a thing. There are over 29,000 players in Canada, it is played in nearly a half a dozen countries around the world, every three years we have a world championship, there’s a world club championship and a world junior championship, and we have a National Ringette League with 18 teams across the country. Girls do play hockey, but they also play ringette…and those who do are very passionate about it. CBC’s Rick Mercer laced up his skates and tried ringette last year and quickly realized that it wasn’t as easy as it looks.
But that’s Rick Mercer – you’re surely not suggesting he’s a prime physical specimen by which we should all be judged.
No. I think Rick Mercer is funny, but not so much athletic. The Rick Mercer piece on CBC gives a pretty funny look at the whole sport. You can also check out the official promo video that Ringette Canada just produced. There are also a bunch of skill videos on the Ringette Canada YouTube Channel. In case you wanted to brush up on your game.
What is the sport doing to attract new players?
In recent years, the sport has started a Come Try Ringette initiative which is a national awareness campaign that introduces ringette to kids in communities across the country. It’s a great way to introduce ringette to kids and bring the sport to communities where it hasn’t been played yet. Our national team program and our National Ringette League are also great ways to raise the awareness of the sport and give younger players the chance to see ringette being played at the highest level.
There’s even a pro league, right? What’s it called? Do players get paid?
The National Ringette League is entering its seventh season this fall and has 18 teams competing from BC to Montreal. The league has a draft, playoffs and a league championship is held every spring. Currently players are not paid to play.
But seriously, don’t all the girls just play hockey now?
But seriously, how about I arrange to have you lace up your skates and attempt one shift of a ringette game? By the end of the shift you might even agree with the saying “if ringette was easy, they would call it hockey.” It’s more likely than you think.
(Ed note: I’m totally going to do it.)