Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The behind the scenes look

Today is a treat for all of you because I am going to get a little more personal in this week’s sports blog. Although, now that I think about it, maybe that will turn some of you away but I hope it won’t as I discuss the secrets behind the dugout. With my internship for the summer at the Daily Herald, I had the pleasure last Saturday of shadowing the White Sox reporter (the pleasure was following a professional sports reporter, not because of the White Sox, except that it was actually a lot easier reporting on a team I wasn’t a fan of.) Any who, I thought I would talk about my experiences and explain to you why I love and want to report on sports so badly.

So after the journey to the big city and surprisingly not getting lost, I walked into the media entrance at U.S. Cellular Field. There, I was able to see the 2005 World Series trophy and get my press pass. There I met the Daily Herald reporter and we quickly (and I was unprepared) walked into the clubhouse, then to the dugout where Ozzie Guillen was sitting comfortably talking to reporters. I was just awed at first with where I was, what I was doing and who was sitting right by me but then my curiosity reporting skills kicked and I was honestly interested in what they were talking about. After having the pleasure of talking to Ozzie on and off the record (he is a funny guy, something I was not expecting. One reason I love sports: reporters probably talked to Ozzie for 10 minutes off the record just about baseball. Love it) we made our way to the press box. This was exceptionally cool because it is filled with all these reporters, and despite everyone kind of being rivals (all searching for that breaking news story) everyone was very friendly, if not actually friends. I then followed the reporter down to the clubhouse (note: never call it a locker room, not that I did but players really don’t like it according to Mr. Reporter) and had the honor of interviewing Paul Konerko. Despite my hatred for the White Sox for more then one reason, Konerko was a very nice man who was extremely polite and surprisingly soft spoken.

That was it for my encounters with the players and coaches, which is another of the reasons why I love sports. Clearly most athletes play sports because they love the game, but they also respect and want to do well for their fans. Which, I think, is one of the reasons they put up with reporters, they have to, we are the direct outlet to the fans. Although professional athletes can be stuck up, snobby, rich, greedy, and just annoyingly awful, some are actual nice human beings and I think all of them want their story to be told. Which is great for any reporter, plus they really love the game they play (well most of them, sometimes I wonder if athletes really do it just do it for the money: cough, NBA, cough.) As I discussed with the other reporters, we decided hockey players are still the most down to earth, reporter friendly guys (although with their salaries raising that could change.)

Anyways, after my interviews, I made my way to the press box and wrote my story. I felt so professional, it was in that instant that I felt so comfortable with what I was doing, I knew it was what I want to do with the rest of my life. Now getting to this point of making this my actual career is another story, but knowing what you want is always a huge accomplishment. So essentially what I’m getting at is that this was a great experience but all the same, behind the scenes is actually not that exciting. Yes, it’s cool to be in the dugout and the clubhouse, but this taught me that athletes are just people and there is no need to be nervous around them (or maybe I just felt that because I am not a Sox fan so it didn’t matter to me that much who I was talking to.) So, even though not all of you can be cool reporters like me, all that really matters is making sure your team wins.

With that I give you some side notes.
1. So sad about Olin Kreutz and Brad Maynard of the Bears who did not get picked up for another season. I could care less about Greg Olsen. I’m really just super sad about Maynard considering he played for the Bears for 10 seasons, plus he was good! Stupid front office, obsessed with money.
2. Baseball is getting really awesome right now, the prime time baseball season. Like games at this point are even more crucial, while players are fighting for those last stats (I vote Sabathia for the Cy Young award mainly because he’s an ex-Indian) and I’m crossing my fingers Cleveland can trump Detroit and make the playoffs. I’m over the Cubs, just done caring (although they have won 3 in a row so far which is a hug accomplishment for them). I am totally in Indian mode now!
3.  Big Ten Media Day was last Thursday and Friday and all I can say is I am so ready for tailgating and football. Looking forward to this season and what it has to offer for the Illini (please let us just be contenders!) It’s always a mystery with these guys, why is a fabulous question.

With that I say… Live long and prosper.

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