Making of a Sports Reporter

It had never entered my wheelhouse to be a sports reporter. When I was in the 9th grade, i was given the opportunity to write up the tennis team results for the Midland Daily News. I would go sit at the side of the court and record who played whom, and what the score was. I would then sit at home and try to come up with a new way to describe how they won or loss. There are only so many times one can say beat, won, smashed, triumphed, obliterates, and defeats their opponent. I really did not understand the concepts of sports writing.  At the end of the season, I think it was a mutual agreement that I pursue other endeavors.

Fast forward to the fall of 2016. Robert Howey reaching into his resources of potential reporters, landed on my name. I was probably the last name in the barrel, but he asked anyway.  I knew nothing about how to write up a sports story or what was required.  I bought 3 books on sports writing, and Googled it several times. The more I read, the more confused I became.

The fall brought Andrew Jackson Football in to my arena. Like the rookie, I took the field with a score book and my camera. I failed miserably in my opinion.  It went by so quickly, by brain just would not keep up. I caught about half the plays. I  never want to see my write-up for that AJ vs Aynor game. Lets keep it buried.

I got better, and the game slowed down. I could score and keep a picture or two going with the camera. Robert sent me a template for a football story. I  just plugged in my data, and pumped out the story. I made it through football season.

Then on to basketball. I found basketball writing to be easier because of Ms. Sowell. She kept the score books. I would focus on the action of the game. I again wrote to a template. My writing was passing muster, I suppose. It was featured in both the Lancaster News and Kershaw News Era. Somewhere along the journey I became a sports writer. I will not say I was very good, but good enough.

Spring came and presented a challenge. The Lancaster News does not have individual writers cover the spring sports like the fall sports. Stats and score books are sent to the Lancaster News by the teams.

The Kershaw News Era asked for me to cover baseball and softball for the AJ teams. They typically played at the same times. I would race from one field to the other and try and capture the sense of the game. The scorekeepers were gracious enough to allow me to photograph the books at the end of the game. A fellow photographer would capture the books when I was not there.

I again had to learn how to read the score book, and interpret what was written on them. It is a different language that you have to learn. I did not get it right all the time, as was pointed out to me at least once. A couple of weeks ago during a media tour of the Haile Gold Mine, my editor and I talked about this and he offered me some advice on how to improve my stories. I noticed an improvement immediately.

It has taken me a full year of high school sports to bring me to the point where I will claim the title of sports reporter. Weird as it may be, unlike me early tennis reporting career, I am looking forward to the coming season for AJ.  Like the players, this summer I will be honing my fingers on the keyboards, and reading, and reporting so that I am ready for the opening day of Football.

Thanks for reading Just a Bit More about That-David

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