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Is there a negative stigma to covering high school sports?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by FS90, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. PaperDoll

    PaperDoll Well-Known Member

    I love what I do: sharing stories. I don't like my job much.
  2. Jon Mitchell

    Jon Mitchell New Member

    One coworker of mine from a while back said it well: "Big Time" is where you are. That means that where you are and what you're covering is the most important place in the world because, to those people you're covering, it is. Heck, I've been lucky enough to break national news covering high school football.

    You can also develop some pretty strong relationships with the people you cover who, if they go far, can actually be a resource for you later in your career. I covered a girl by the name of Cody Pfau, who was the first girl in Colorado to win a first-round state wrestling tournament match against a boy. Just this week, she made the U.S. national women's wrestling team. Other kids I've covered have gone on to become coaches or professional athletes. Another kid I wrote about lost his mother to cancer and his dad to suicide — and I won an award for that story.

    Just keep positive about what you're doing, because what you're doing, as long as you're doing it right, is damn important to someone.
    Doc Holliday and jr/shotglass like this.
  3. Tweener

    Tweener Well-Known Member

    I love the flexibility of my job (working my own hours and often from home), and I still enjoy the grind and of course the writing. But I absolutely see myself eventually getting to a point where I'll have to give some of those things up and switch careers to make more money. I hope by then I'll have done just about everything I ever wanted in this line of work.
  4. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    I was very lucky. Because I worked for an undermanned daily, I got to do the big events AND I did preps. I remember some of the great stories I got from high school events and the great moments (a freezing cold football playoff night and I had to wait to interview the star quarterback because the sweat from his buzzcut had frozen the helmet to his head) more than many stories I wrote from Super Bowls, Final Fours, and Olympics. So I guess my message is, news is where you find it. It's the most important game in the world because it's the one you are at.
    Batman likes this.
  5. dirtybird

    dirtybird Well-Known Member

    Out of curiosity, what is this sports writing job with the flexibility?
  6. Tweener

    Tweener Well-Known Member

    It's feature writing instead of beat writing. I misspoke about being able to work my own hours. Should've said "flexible" hours.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  7. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    The older I get, the harder I try to avoid all discussions of anyone’s occupations. It doesn’t define you unless you let it. The next time you meet a stranger, see how long you can go before the topic turns to what each of you does for a living. Asking someone what their job is and what “level” they’re at is almost as lazy as taking about the weather. Better to just stick to the interesting topics like politics, religion and sports...
  8. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    When my kids are out of the house and I get my Friday nights back, I'd love to string h.s. football for someone. I never think "I'd like to write the third sidebar again on an NFL Sunday."
    SnarkShark, HanSenSE and jr/shotglass like this.
  9. Bamadog

    Bamadog Well-Known Member

    When I was a wee pup, I harbored dreams of moving up to a Division I-A beat somewhere. But I never was able to secure one of those jobs and I stayed in the preps realm at smaller newspapers before I made desk editor at a smaller metro. After spending two years on the desk, I was so glad to go back to a small town daily again and do a little of everything.

    They say life is what you make it and I have no regrets about covering preps. I enjoyed it immensely. There are no oily PR people acting as a screen between you, the coaches and the athletes. There are so many great, award-winning stories waiting to be written in preps that it's like a diamond mine. I have life-long friendships from coaches and parents from my days covering preps. The coaches and athletes are usually glad to see you on the sidelines or in the dugout. I can't count how many times a parent or a coach or an athlete called or came up to me to tell me how much something I wrote about a tiny period in their lives had such great meaning to them. I never forgot that the compliments showed that what we do as prep writers was read and appreciated.

    I saw the pure joy of competition and the agony of defeat from athletes, most of whom weren't going to earn an athletic scholarship. The Friday Night Lights meant something to me that I've never recaptured since. Being a witness to epic games that are likely still the subject of barbershop conversation years later is something that I treasure.

    Now I cover government and I enjoy digging for clues with public records requests and working my sources, but there's a tiny part of me that misses the thrill of covering high school football, cranking out a story in 30 minutes, putting together the section as SE and breathing a sigh of relief as the presses roll.

    Now covering youth sports, that is really small time. After spending several summers in Florida covering youth baseball, you'd rather dig ditches for a living. Preps is not a bad gig. Covering 9-year-old snot noses playing baseball in the 95-degree heat is pure torture that should be banned by the Geneva Conventions. I'd rather be waterboarded than cover youth sports again.
    Batman, busch and SFIND like this.
  10. slc10

    slc10 Member

    During my time writing sports, I covered a number of people who would go on to play professionally.
    Among those people were Calvin Johnson, Dexter Fowler, Jason Heyward, Cam Bedrosian (son of 1987 Cy Young winner Steve), Eric Berry, Alec Ogletree, Buster Posey and on and on.
    That was a thrill.

    I also covered a lot of other kids who are doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers and would also serve their country.

    I miss not being able to do it but I have good memories.
    Old Time Hockey and HanSenSE like this.
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