I’m Mike Marcotte. First of all, thank you so much for visiting my website. I started Give Me The Mike in May 2017.
I am a 30-something living in the suburbs of Minneapolis, and am proud to be a native Minnesotan. Yeah, it can get darn cold during the winter, but the summers can’t be beat.
I grew up in Blaine, Minnesota, graduating from Centennial High School. I was the self-proclaimed ‘band geek’ in high school, playing trombone, lettering in student council, and was on the newspaper staff. I definitely wouldn’t have called myself an extrovert.
I attended Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota and majored in Elementary Education. Ever since I was in 2nd grade, I wanted to be a teacher. During college, I went through all the motions to be a teacher, but I actually never ended up having my own classroom. Life had other plans.
I decided that Gustavus would be the place where I could “reinvent” myself. I quickly developed independence, and with that, a I gained a boost of confidence. I joined student senate right away since I participated in student council in high school, and thanks to my organizational skills, I was asked to be vice president by spring semester of my freshman year, a position I would hold for multiple administrations.
Like many of you, life has provided its challenges.
I lost my mom, Patricia, to cancer when I was a senior in high school. She passed away three months after she was diagnosed. Pat was one of the kindest people I will ever know. She rarely complained and was always willing to help. Sometimes I wonder how my life will be different if she was still here. On Mother’s Day 2020, I dedicated this article to my mom.
When I was 24, my dad had a stroke. As the oldest child, I was forced to make a sudden decision; whether we should keep him on life support, or say goodbye. We weren’t aware of an established health care directive, so I had to go with my gut. He died May 1, 2011. It was an experience that ripped members of my family apart.
These were tough experiences to live through, especially as a young adult.
Learning to adapt
When I was 28, I was diagnosed with epilepsy after two frightening seizures occurred when I was working. I was out in public and others thought I had showed up to work drunk. My coworker knew something was wrong, so she temporarily removed me from the situation. After my condition didn’t improve, she decided to bring me to the hospital. It was in the car, along the highway, that I had my first grand mal seizure. My coworker was driving and she pulled over. A nurse saw her frantically get out of the car and they both helped me until the ambulance arrived.
There was no history of epilepsy in my family, so the diagnosis came as a surprise. That quickly forced me become more in-tune with my well-being. You can read more about my journey with epilepsy here.
Every day, I keep my head up high, my attitude in check, and keep moving forward. It’s what my parents would have wanted.
What I decided to do instead of teaching
I received my degree in Elementary Education in 2008, a year that was not great for landing a job. So life took me in another direction.
I spent nearly nine years working as a television producer for Twin Cities Live, a lifestyle show at the ABC-TV station here in Minneapolis. It was a lot of fun. Every day was something new. I was able to produce multiple weddings, including one in Mexico. I also executed multiple trips with viewers, including a two week cruise of the Mediterranean, where we were able to meet the Barbary macaques of Gibraltar.
I had no experience in television producing. But thanks to the well-rounded education I received at college, the activities I was involved with at Gustavus, and the people I met along the way, I received a boost. I also had started working part-time at the TV station when I was in college as an promotions staffer, and quickly got to know all of my coworkers. You never know where the next opportunity will come from.
In addition to my current full-time job, I freelance as a magazine writer and work as an adjudicator for Guinness World Records. The Minneapolis Star Tribune followed me to a record attempt and wrote a feature article on me in 2019. My favorite record I have witnessed is the largest cheese board/platter in Madison, Wisconsin. It weighed in at 4,437 pounds.
Thanks to my jobs, I have talked in front of crowds big and small over the years and have a microphone in my hand often, hence the name of this website, Give Me The Mike.
I’m a go, go, go kind of guy. My Google Calendar is well laid out so I maximize time. Sitting still doesn’t feel right. I always want to help and discover.
There are days I look back at what I’ve accomplished since I said goodbye to my parents. So much has changed. The boy who wanted to be a 5th grade teacher is not in a classroom. I took a completely different direction I could not have predicted. There are days I wish I could share the triumphs and challenges with Mom and Dad. Fortunately, I have an amazing network of people who cheer me on.
In 2018, my college alma mater, Gustavus, awarded me their First Decade Award, an honor given to one male and one female from each graduating class. It was humbling even to be nominated. I graduated in a class of about 650, and there are incredible people who I’m able to call classmates and friends. I was able to speak in a hall full of alumni about how my life has really been unpredictable.
Every time I face adversity, a door has opened, providing an amazing opportunity to grow.
What you will find on Give Me The Mike
This website is a collection of what I have experienced in my life. I hope it showcases my love for where I live.
It also is a hub for a passion of mine, sharing survey results. Ever since I was the editor of my middle school newspaper, I have surveyed classmates, television viewers, friends, and others to create lists. For some reason, I really love top 5 lists. I always like to know what people vote as “the best”.
Today, it results in my Best of Minnesota Guides. From the best coffee shops to the 5 best pizzerias, I put a call out for votes and showcase the best businesses in the North Star State. View a full roundup of my Best of Minnesota Guides here.
I am a Minnesota State Fair fanatic. With the exception of 2020, when the Great Minnesota Get Together was cancelled, I have attended the State Fair every year since 1990. I worked for the State Fair for 15 years, too, so I know a lot about getting around. Every year, I publish a list of my 10 favorite State Fair foods. I’m also really proud of this article about what Minnesota State Fair staff love to eat. Make sure you check back at the end of August for my State Fair coverage.
The most-clicked page on my website each year is my Minnesota Holiday Lights Display Guide. The 2020 edition, powered by Sam’s Christmas Village & Light Tour, saw over 275,000 clicks and is the number one Google results for “mn holiday lights”. I started the Guide in 2017 after I noticed that there weren’t many lists featuring those displaying lights over the holidays. The last Guide featured 180 homeowners and drive-thru displays across the state.
Give Me The Mike combines the best of Minnesota with traveling advice. I made traveling a priority in my life years ago, but only recently came to discover how much I enjoy travel writing. My travel articles are catered to the LGBT community (I truly came ‘out’ in 2011), but all are invited to click around.
Plenty more to come
After living in downtown Minneapolis for years, I just purchased my first home in the suburbs! I am already posting lots of homeowner questions on my Facebook page and would love your advice.
I would love to see you more! Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Or you’ll find a contact form at the bottom of this page if you want to say hello. And don’t forget to subscribe so you receive my latest posts in your inbox.
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