If I was 20 years old, I probably wouldn’t like Kyle Ratke.
He’s popular. Like, 1,700-Facebook-friends popular. He’s known in nearly every circle at his college. He’s the editor of the sports section for the school newspaper. He’s achingly charismatic, to the point you wonder if he’d make the world’s most interesting man feel shy. He’s a hustler.
I admit, I was a bit of a “player hater” (as the kids say) while in college. Luckily, I’m 25 and old enough to realize Ratke is something special. The comparison seems arbitrary, but Ratke is to the Minnesota sports scene what Bill Simmons is to Boston-area teams. He’s taken this shtick to his blog, The Kid’s Take, which also features an excellent weekly podcast, aptly titled “The Kid’s Cast.”
This week, Ratke was enterprising enough to get two-time NBA champion Mark Madsen on his podcast to talk about the future of the Minnesota Timberwolves, among other things. It’s not so much the guest, himself, that should impress you. Rather, listen to Ratke’s podcast, and before long, you notice a highly intelligent professional athlete becomes comfortable, candid, even animated while being interviewed by some 20-year-old college kid.
Am I trying to sell Kyle Ratke and his blog? Absolutely. I’m selling his future, too. This is a ringing endorsement — completely unsolicited — because I love young people who attack their dreams rather than wait and hope. Most of us would say, I’m going to college to do what I want to do. I’m even involved in extracurriculars. Ratke has gone a step further with his blog, and we should all be inspired.
Journalism finds itself in murky waters as a guy like Ratke comes along. He’s one hell of a writer, and as he’s shown in his social life and podcast interviews, he understands people. That’s still the most important trait of any journalist. Plus, this kid has ambition and personality to boot.
I hope you check out his blog and podcast.