Where are they now - James Lamb (SPC 2000-05)
author: Lorrie Liston
The College reconnects with James Lamb (SPC 2000-05) who is combining a love of horseracing and journalism into the ultimate dream job.
Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?
I finished at SPC in 2005 and moved to Melbourne the following year to study journalism at Monash University Caulfield. After completing my degree, I decided to go travelling, spending around six months in Europe. I found it tough to get a ‘proper’ job when I returned to Victoria, so I ventured north to Darwin to work for a corporate bookmaker (Betstar) for 18 months. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be doing career-wise, but it gave me a foot in the door to the horseracing industry. Darwin was a pretty wild scene and one that I’m glad I experienced, at least for a fairly short amount of time. Following my stint in the NT, I headed back to Melbourne and worked on a freelance basis for horseracing magazines Best Bets and Winning Post. With a bit more depth to my CV, I was able to land a full-time job as a racing journalist at Punters.com.au. I’ve been there since March 2014, making the daily commute from Yarraville to Flinders Street.
What are your favourite memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?
Sport was huge during my time at St Patrick’s and I doubt much has changed in that regard. I played footy, cricket, tennis, and soccer – and I loved it. I was never into rowing (too short to be a rower, too stocky to be a cox) but ‘Boat race’ was always a great time of year. A lot of my favourite memories involve just fooling around with mates at lunchtime. Most of my closest friends back then are still my best mates today.
Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?
Mr (Ian) McKail certainly wasn’t like any teacher I’d had previously. He was a bit of a maverick but his teaching methods helped me achieve a high score for English Literature – a subject that was pretty integral to my university aspirations. With Mr McKail, there was a time for joking around and a time for working hard, and I think he struck the right balance.
How has your education shaped your professional life?
I write for a living, so my education at SPC has absolutely shaped my professional life. If I didn’t enjoy English, Media Studies, etc at St Pat’s it’s highly unlikely that I would’ve pursued a career in journalism.
How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your family life?
St Patrick’s instils a strong sense of community. ‘Boat race’, the athletics and swimming carnivals, supporting the 1st XVIII footy side, the various school camps – there is a real focus on mateship and teamwork.
Looking back, I think St Patrick’s strongly promoted the importance of striking the right balance between work/study, family, friends, leisure/exercise. That is something that I value quite highly and will be sure to emphasise to my kids, when that time comes.
If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?
Choose your friends wisely in Year 7 – there’s a fair chance you’ll be stuck with them for life.
On a slightly more serious note… I would say, while you may have a solid idea of what you want to do career-wise when you enter the last phase of high school, things can change quite quickly. I ended up following my original plan but many of my closest friends started out doing one thing at uni (journalism or teaching etc) and ended up doing something different because their priorities or interests changed. Keep your mind open, explore different options, and know that it’s by no means disastrous if you don’t achieve the score you hoped for – there are always other avenues to your career destination.