Sports Stalking

A “passionate” reporter

by Published: Nov 6, 2013

As a sports writer, I’m given the oppor­tu­nity to learn the inside scoop on Ferris State sports, but at what cost?

For two years now, I’ve been fol­low­ing Bulldogs’ sports almost reli­giously because I’m empow­ered with the task of relay­ing news back to the fan. At what point, though, do I become a bor­der­line stalker who both­ers play­ers and coaches for infor­ma­tion? I’ve made a con­scious effort to step back and ask myself, what I am really get­ting into?

I love sports. This is why I wanted to become a sports writer. It could also have to do with the fact I’m not cut out for the col­le­giate level or because my fresh­man fif­teen has lin­gered for a few years.

Now that I have turned my hobby of writ­ing into a hope­fully bright future as a jour­nal­ist, I’ve started to see why this is a unique pro­fes­sion. As I scour YouTube, I dis­cover videos of head coaches throw­ing water bot­tles at side­line reporters and the ever-terrifying press con­fer­ence breakdown.

Through this I can see why many peo­ple absolutely hate jour­nal­ists. We bug our inter­vie­wee to the point of a men­tal col­lapse and keep dig­ging to get the dirt on what­ever it is we are cov­er­ing, regard­less of the consequences.

For the longest time I thought I was dif­fer­ent; I believed the gaz­ing fake smiles and “Nice to see you, but I loathe you” faces I have encoun­tered on the job were all in good spirit. I real­ize now there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed, and maybe wait­ing out­side Tony Annese’s house for a “quick” inter­view is one of them.

It still holds true how the atti­tude relayed by a team deter­mines the type of press cov­er­age they receive and the chal­leng­ing ques­tions asso­ci­ated with the envi­ron­ment. This doesn’t mean the rela­tion­ship between a team and a reporter has to be tat­tered; rather, it should strengthen the respect between the two parties.

I hope one day play­ers, coaches, fans and sports reporters can rejoice in our love of sports and sing Queen songs while gorg­ing on chicken wings. However, the bar­rier between writ­ers and teams exists for a rea­son. Despite peek­ing through the win­dow of oppor­tu­nity to get our next story, we need to be aware of what can hap­pen to us.

Down the road, it would be ideal for sports jour­nal­ists to work in a world free of head coach freak-outs and lim­ited “no com­ment” dead ends, but maybe this is just wish­ful think­ing. Many peo­ple fail to see that jour­nal­ists are (for the most part) very pro­fes­sional and take con­trol of their chal­leng­ing career choice, as do I.

Here’s to the sports jour­nal­ist; may your writ­ing adven­tures be safe and may your recorder bat­ter­ies stay alive.