Brutally Honest: My turn as a sports writer

Denny Patterson, Senior Editor

After reading that headline, many of you are probably thinking: “Denny as a sports writer? Does he know anything about sports?” Honestly, no. I know absolutely nothing about sports.

It’s all about the interest factor, and sports just aren’t one of mine. They don’t capture my attention. I rarely go to games and the desire to participate just isn’t there. Please do not automatically assume that I am bashing sports because I am uninterested, I’m just not a diehard fan as opposed to others. This is equivalent to those who dislike going to the theatre.

Now, there are a select few I occasionally play, such as volleyball and tennis. But when it comes to basketball, football or any physical contact sport – you can count me out. Heck, I can’t even throw a football to save my life.

So why am I writing about sports? Throughout my five semesters here at Millikin, I have written for every section in the Decaturian – except sports. So, a select few thought it would be a grand idea for me to write a Millikin sports story before I graduate in December. Mind you, I have only covered one sports story in my lifetime and that was back in high school about the golf team. Let’s just say it wasn’t my best work.

Hoping not to repeat the past, numerous questions were running through my mind on how I could develop a well written sports story. How could I cover a game/event if I didn’t understand any of the jargon or strategies?  As usual, I was jumping ahead of myself – one of my major flaws. It didn’t click in my mind that there are numerous other possibilities to go about. Why not write a sports related news story? There is more than just the game.

My advisor, Dr. Scott Lambert, informed me about the basketball team participating in various community service projects. Not only were the players learning the value of teamwork, but they are impacting the lives of others. Now that’s a story I could do.

After interviewing head coach Matt Nadelhoffer and a couple of players, I felt good about this assignment. He understood that I am not use to sports reporting and was nice enough to break it down into terms I understood. Overall, it was actually fun.

Lambert was right – this experience was worthwhile. It made me realize how closed-minded I am when it comes to sports. The fact that I didn’t want to give this a chance honestly makes me feel embarrassed. Throughout my life, I have dealt with numerous closed-minded people who usually make assumptions when they find out I’m gay. Well, the tables have turned. I was making negative assumptions about sports. Players and coaches are intimidating meat heads; they go out of their way to positively influence others.

Now that I really think about it, Millikin truly does have an outstanding athletic program. Like Nadelhoffer said, he wants others to emulate his team. I think it’s time to attend a sporting event and cheer on my athletic friends.