Sunday, July 14, 2024

Edmonton beckons Beck

Son of Clarendon dairy farmers takes job with city’s CFL team

by Sophie Kuijper Dickson
Apr. 29, 2024
Thomas Beck is obsessed with sports, and he is the first to admit it. He started playing hockey from the moment he could stand up, and throughout his childhood would play or watch whatever sport he could get his hands on.
“I would do my chores as fast as I could, and sometimes I didn’t always do them the right way,” Beck remembered of his time growing up on his parents’ dairy farm in Clarendon.
“But it was just so that I could have those few extra minutes of daylight and so I could get on the pond a bit quicker.”
Now, he is about to start a job connecting other sports fans with the games they love.
In early April, just as Beck was wrapping up the final year of his undergraduate degree in sports administration at Laurentian University, he got a phone call from the hiring team for the Canadian Football League team the Edmonton Elks, offering him a job as an account executive.
“I’ll admit, I was one of those kids who went to university thinking this was my first step to becoming the general manager of the Ottawa Senators, but as I went through my four years, I realized that there’s a lot more to the industry than that,” Beck told THE EQUITY in a phone call from Sudbury on Thursday afternoon.
“Then I came across the sales side of sports, and I just fell in love with it. Giving people that kind of opportunity to have a good time and enjoy themselves is something that I take a lot of pride in and I feel good doing.”
As account executive for the Edmonton Elks, Beck will work as a sales representative for the team selling seasons’ tickets and building relationships with the customers he brings in to keep them coming back.
He had a go at this kind of sales work through an internship he did last summer with Ontario Hockey League team the Peterborough Petes.
“I had one inbound prospective client throughout the entire summer and the rest was scraping mom and pop shops throughout the city and building up a clientele from the ground up.”
He said, like most kids he knew, he wanted to be an NHL player. He continued with hockey through high school, playing with the Pontiac Lions in the Shawville District Minor Hockey league.
“And then I had the harsh realization that maybe I’m not that great of a hockey player, that competitive teams don’t really like average-height people who have cinder block square feet,” Beck laughed.
“I kind of struggled to think about what I wanted to do when I grew up because I couldn’t see myself in anything outside of sports, but I still remember my mom always telling me an opportunity will come.”
Eventually, with the help of many conversations with family and friends and guidance counsellors, Beck discovered the field of sports administration, and signed up to study it at Laurentian University.
Beck’s decision to pursue a career outside of farming, while supported by his parents Kristine Amyotte and Robbie Beck, was not without questioning from the community.
“If I had one dollar for every time I got asked whether I’d take over the farm, I don’t even think I would have to get a job,” Beck said, reliving how awkward it felt, at times, to be asked that question in front of his parents.
But he said it was never uncomfortable because of pressure he felt from his parents, only because of expectations he felt from the community.
“My parents, they’re probably the most supportive people of me,” Beck said. “The reason my parents are farmers is because they love to farm. They absolutely love it, and they’ve always wanted me to be my own person and do what I love.”
Over the weekend, Beck returned home to Clarendon after finishing his final exams, packed up his life’s belongings into his small car, which this week he will drive, with his mom, all the way to Edmonton, where he is excited to be starting his next chapter.
“The lack of nerves comes from knowing that I’m in an industry that I care very much about, and I’m working a position that I know I’m very good at. But it hasn’t been lost on me how big of a decision it was to go all the way out west.”


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