In this career, a journalist many times needs to be a jack of all trades with a basic understanding of a dozen or more fields in order to be able to get the importance of a story across to readers.
In my job I’ve had to cover everything from the weather to urban planning and development, sometimes even in the same day. That said, there are some topics I simply do not feel I have the expertise to cover, and sports is one of those topics.
But last month, I was the reporter chosen to cover the annual All-Texomaland Banquet that honored more than 300 of the region’s best student athletes in nearly a dozen sports. While I am flattered by the faith my editors placed in me, I partly felt like a fish out of water.
Of all the topics I’ve written about, sports is the one that has most evaded me. While I can get a basic understanding of the inner workings of the city I cover, and a multitude of nuanced subjects within it, I could never wrap my head around sports. As a kid, it wasn’t something that I followed extensively and as an adult I have jokingly referred to all forms of athletic competition collectively as “sportsball” as a sign of this lack of knowledge.
When I was told that Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee would be the guest speaker for the event, I had to do some research on him for context — the thing I feel I am missing when I have written in the past on this topic.
What helped me get past this hurdle, pun not intended, was changing the way I viewed the story itself. While the story was about athletes playing sports I know nothing about, I changed my focus from the sport and to the athletes themselves. While I may not have an understanding of the topic, my sources ultimately have that expertise that goes deeper than mine.
Ultimately, the story became less about the sports and more about the people who play them. That is a story I felt comfortable writing.
Happy birthday Saturday to Janie Bice, Branden Brown and Billy Charles Lubbers of Sherman; Arnella Rhodes of Denison; Larry Gressett of Dorchester; Jackie Ryon Cosper of McKinney; Randell Russell; Ray Ferman of Luella; and John McEwen of Ponder.
Happy anniversary Saturday to Kimberly and Phillip Wright of Arlington, 29 years; and Shona and Keisha Taylor of Denison.