The first lesson for the sports course on News U provides the student with an introduction into the work of a sportswriter before, during, and after they cover their assignment. One of my favorite things that it pointed out in the first line of the introduction is the separation between fan and reporter.
Last winter, Major League Baseball held front office meetings in downtown Milwaukee. While on a run, I decided to stop by and tweet at sportswriter Marc Carig, who at the time was working the New York Yankees beat for the Newark Star Ledger, to see if he would like to meet for a few minutes.
He came out to talk and one of the best pieces of advice he gave me was to let go of the fanhood and be open to other opportunities that come your way. He grew up rooting for the Oakland Athletics, but has worked the beat for the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, and currently the New York Mets. Baseball is a sport that can take a toll on a writer through traveling, observing games, and the daily routine. When you get the professional level as a writer, he said that it just gets old to you and you stop caring about just one team. The quotes and advice of other sportswriters in the News U module will be taken note of, but it will always be Carig's advice that will stay in my head forever.
Over time, I have focused on possibly pursuing a career as a track and field analyst or reporter. That is more of a sport where the journalist is not rooting for a particular athlete, but for the best story to come from a race. The section of the News U module that shows the value of covering a World Series game or a local event, correlates to track and field perfectly, because you can get a great story from an unknown high school.
Stories can go beyond just the running. The best example is Meghan Vogel and her story of helping an injured opposing runner cross the finish line before her. The sportsmanship that takes place in that event outweighs reporting the results and winners.
I have become a run junkie by staying up to date on races and athletes from the high school level through the professional level. I earned a perfect score the track and field quiz on News U's quiz section and also answered all questions correctly in the baseball quiz. There is still work to be done on football and a tad of focus on basketball, before I can go around and call myself a sports guru.