All football fans know about Tom Brady’s incredible story. He played football at the University of Michigan, became drafted by the New England Patriots in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft, and the rest is history. He has four Super Bowl rings and almost every other accolade that can be bestowed on players in the league, most notably recipient of the Super Bowl MVP award three times and the NFL MVP award two times. At 38 years old, he remains at the top of his game, still racking up impressive statistics for passing yards and touchdown passes every time he goes on the field.
To me what is most impressive about Tom Terrific is his obsession with improving his game. He could rest on his laurels and his stellar resume, but instead he is always aware of things he can improve upon and tailors a plan to do so. Toward this end he is self-critical, analytical, driven to be better. His work ethic is legendary, as is his passion for the game.
Brady is a champion, not unlike the heroes in our profession. We need look no further than this year’s winners of our national speed and realtime contests — Julianne LaBadia and Douglas Zweizig, respectively — or Boston’s own Ed Varallo, six-time National Speed Champion, winning the trophy in 1974, 1975, 1976, and then again in 1986, 1996, and 2006, an unfathomable accomplishment. These elite writers are the crème de la crème of our profession, our superstars, whose names will be immortalized in our very own court reporting Hall of Fame.
Just as Tom Brady labored to achieve his status on the gridiron, so did our speed champions labor to reach the pinnacle of the court reporting world. Peak performance at this level doesn’t come easily or happen overnight. Even qualifying in any leg of the contest is reason to celebrate. It is a continuous and mindful effort that involves years of practice, experimentation, failure, fine-tuning, and sacrifice. Unlike Brady, who competes against his peers, we compete against ourselves, so to speak, in working to bring down our untranslate rate, clean up our conflicts, and write ever faster.
To my mind, every working reporter and student out there who is continually striving to improve their writing skills deserves recognition as well. There is always something to work on, something to improve upon, another certification to obtain. This work ethic and dedication not only reflects well upon you but on the profession as a whole. Brady leaves it all on the field when he plays; he lets his record speak for itself. The same can be said about us. At the end of the day, our verbatim transcripts, produced by certified professionals, can stand on their own too.