That one time I tried to be a sports reporter
If you know me at all, you know the thing I know the least about is sports.
I somehow managed, in four years on my college’s newspaper, to stay as far away from it as possible. I wrote one story that appeared in the Sports section, and it was a feature on a coach. My eyes would glaze over, my ears somehow shut when the sports reporters and editors in the newsroom would begin talking about something that happened over the weekend, on some court/field somewhere.
And watching sports? Well, the only sports I can even pretend to care about are Wild hockey and Twins baseball (and a little bit of Creighton basketball, because how could I avoid it?), and even those ones I have little knowledge about what’s technically going on.
But yet there I was, in a cold, cramped, press box, reporting on a high school soccer game.
I ended up there as a sort of freelancing opportunity that I came upon, one that terrified me to death. But, when I was asked to go, (with an experienced sports reporter with me, mind you) I took a chance and went for it.
Why? Well for starters, I was unemployed, so I had a lot of free time. Also, it was paid, so I wasn’t about to turn that down (did I mention I was unemployed?). Finally, I really did think it would be a great opportunity to grow my repertoire as a reporter (besides, how hard could it be?)
That line, right above this one, was the one I would regret thinking the minute I got there. Sure, high school sports may not be that confusing to someone with a general knowledge of athletics, but I have slim to none. I *tried* many sports as a youngin, (standing in the middle of the soccer field in my jersey picking dandelions for my mom counts, right?), but the only one that ever stuck was dance, and that’s pretty self explanatory.
So there I sat. Overwhelmed, confused, lost.
I had to keep track of goals … and a slue of other things that I can’t even name right now, since I actually don’t know the terms for them, while watching the game and preparing a story. We tweeted, we posted during the game, we were busy, we had to have an update up right at the end of the game, with a game story shortly after that.
When the evening was said and done, I cried. I’m not kidding, it was four of the most stressful hours of my life.
All of you sports reporters are probably laughing at this, but lemme tell ya, when you don’t understand something in the first place, trying to talk and write about it is near impossible. Thankfully, I had a very very very patient trainer, and tried not to let on too much how confused I actually was.
Here’s the thing though: I would do it again. Well, okay, I probably wouldn’t attempt to be a sports reporter again with zip to zero training, but I would try something new. I put myself out there, tried to learn about something I knew very little about, and really took advantage of my time of unemployment and somewhat unplanned time to freelance. Even though it was difficult, all you unemployed grads, or anyone looking to learn something new, go for it. Why not? You have nothing to lose.
(Well, except maybe your dignity, but I promise, that’s only temporary.)
Did you do something like this? Tweet at me, @jlbungert