SOME WALK OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL KNOWING EXACTLY WHERE THEY’RE GOING AND THEIR PLANS FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF YEARS. FOR TOMMY BIRCH HE KNEW WHAT THE PLAN WAS AND THAT PLAN WAS TO PLAY BASEBALL AT ELLSWORTH.
ALL IT TOOK WAS ONE DAY FOR BIRCH TO REALIZE HE WAS NOT ON THE RIGHT PATH. WITHIN THE FIRST DAY AT ELLSWORTH, BIRCH, TRANSFERRED TO DMACC IN ANKENY HAVING FELT HOMESICK AND OVERALL UNSATISFIED WITH THE SCHOOL AND GAVE UP HIS LOVE FOR PLAYING BASEBALL.
“I played baseball pretty much my whole life until that freshmen year of college. I have regrets sometimes”
BEING THAT BIRCH TRANSFERRED THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL HE WAS LIMITED ON CHOICES FOR CLASSES. ONE OF THE FEW OPEN WAS A BASIC REPORTING PRINCIPLES JOURNALISM CLASS THAT CHANGED HIS WHOLE PLAN AND HE DECIDED TO PURSUE WRITING.
BIRCH HAD DONE SOME WRITING BEFORE COLLEGE BEING HE WROTE FOR HIS HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SECTION. HE’D CONSIDERED DOING SCOUTING AND COACHING WHEN GOING INTO COLLEGE BUT THAT QUICKLY CHANGED.
BIRCH TRANSFERRED TO IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY TO FINISH HIS DEGREE IN JOURNALISM. AT ISU, OUTSIDE OF HIS FREELANCE WORK WITH THE REGISTER, HE PARTICIPATED IN ISU TV, THE DAILY AND EVEN WORKED PR WITH THE ISU HOCKEY TEAM.
FEW CAN SAY THEY ENDED UP WORKING FOR A BUSINESS THEY’D ONLY DREAMED OF WORKING FOR BUT BIRCH HAS SPENT OVER 10 YEARS AT THE DES MOINES REGISTER.
“I started by doing some freelance for the register. Then they had a part time job open as a news assistant. I just grinded, did whatever they wanted and got a call two weeks before my internship was up for a full time position doing sports and comm. eventually got a full time just doing sports.”
BIRCH HAS COVERED EVERYTHING YOU CAN THINK OF AT THE REGISTER BUT HE WOULDN’T CHANGE IT FOR ANYTHING.
“You aren’t going to get rich doing this, you aren’t going to be popular at times and you are going to be stressed a lot. But it has it’s perks and it beats working a 9-5 job. I get to watch sports and my job is different everyday.”
SOME OF BIRCH’s MEMORABLE MOMENTS HAVE BEEN JUST BEING ABLE TO BRING JOY TO THOSE HE’S GOTTEN TO COVER AND SOME OF THE EVENT’S HE’S BEEN APART OF LIKE AN ALL-STAR GAME.
“I enjoyed covering high school swimming and how much it meant to the kids and their parents that there was coverage.”
AFTER SO MANY YEARS OF BEING AT THE REGISTER, BIRCH, IS STILL REMINDED LOOKING BACK WHERE HE STARTED AS HE HAS HIS FIRST PRINT STORY HANGING ON THE WALL OF HIS HOME.
“The night before it came out I wasn’t able to sleep. I went to the store as soon as papers arrived to grab a copy. I remember showing the clerk at Hyvee the story and telling him I had wrote it.”
YOU MAY NOT ALWAYS END UP WHERE YOU THOUGHT YOU’D BE AND FOR BIRCH IT’S BEEN AND CONTINUES TO BE MORE THAN HE EXPECTED.