01 Oct G Day Story: Jody
Born and raised in Vancouver, Breakfast Television’s Jody Vance was the first woman in Canadian television to host her own sports program in prime time, a position she held on Sportsnet for six years, starting in 2000. She was host of Seeking Stanley on the CBC, a program that followed the Vancouver Canucks’ exciting NHL playoff run. Vancouver radio listeners also know her from “The Jody Vance Show,” an afternoon drive program on Shore 104.3FM, which she hosted until joining Breakfast Television. Jody’s #1 guy is her son Brady (the “light of her life”). Jody and Brady, along with their two mutts Fenway and Baxter, call Kitsilano home and are very active in the community. We thank her for contributing her G Day Story!
When I was 10 years old, we moved. We moved big.
My mom, my brother and I had been on our own for years, since I could remember really. Then, at 10, we moved in with my mom’s boyfriend Bruce. It was weird. Mom was happy, I liked Bruce, but I also liked my world in North Vancouver. We lived across the way from our cousins, were surrounded by people I felt I’d known forEVER (and that is a long time at 10). We moved to where it was long distance to call those friends. Tsawwassen. It might as well have been Timbucktoo.
Our new house was lovely. Our new school was too. The only trouble was, I didn’t know anyone…like, anyone.
At 10 years old, I was a Tomboy through-and-through. I got to know Alex Day across the street and we shot hoops a lot… My older brother ruled the roost, and why wouldn’t he? He WAS 2-and-a-half YEARS older, and had skipped grade 2 so he was a big deal and was on his way to Junior High in one short school year.
I went into my new social situation feeling “ready.” My mom was wonderful, she’d prepared me to “be myself.” I felt pretty great going in…unfortunately, that first year in my new school wasn’t great. I was the new kid, and while the boys thought I was cool — the girls did not.
It was then that I learned my greatest lesson: “Some people can be cold, or mean, or even cruel…NOT because there is anything wrong with YOU but because that’s just part of growing up.”
When I was 10, 11, 12 and (truth be told) even 13, I was very worried about who was “mad at me” or “didn’t want to play with me after school” — what I learned at 14 was: it’s better to concern yourself with who YOU want to play with, not who wants to include you. Look around, see the good people who are being kind, not cool. The people who are asking about who you are, what you like, what you want to be when you grow up. Don’t follow the pack, be a leader. Have an opinion.
The person who helped me most through this tough stretch of being a “tween” (I really don’t like that term) was my grandmother. She would tell me, “Jody, you are smart, smarter than most, and that is what scares people.” I’m sure she said that “smarter” part because she was my grandmother…but I held onto that. It was defining on my journey to stop any bully in their tracks, stand up for the others being “left out,” and create a great place where everyone is welcome.
The cool part of this story is this: I still feel smart, because of my grandmother (I have a lot of her in me) and to this day I make a point of including EVERYONE who is kind and honest in my circle. Kindness and honesty are keys to being a leader and setting the bar, those traits — along with working hard and taking the high road — those remain my keys to success decades later.
Be a mentor. Be a leader. Treat people the way you want to be treated and let those who treat you poorly fall away from your world. The scary times do teach you great things about who you will become…talk to your family, tell them when you feel scared…or alone…or proud and safe.
Life lessons. Happy G Day.
PS: I could not imagine my world without Bruce, he is a Dad to me in every way — I also love my Dad; there is room for both.