Sunday, December 2, 2012

The sports writer

Back-to-back MVP Nico Salva, Jeric Teng and Kiefer Ravena in action at the recently concluded UAAP Season 75 Championship. Photo courtesy of UAAP website. No intention of copyright infringement.

I don’t know how it begun. I just found myself sitting in a middle of a packed stadium with swirling colors of banners, drums banging relentlessly in what seemed like some tribal ritual. There I was, watching the clock, clutching my notepad bearing scribbles of numbers and familiar surnames as I let the game progresses in front.  It just happened. Now people are commenting on how I turned myself into a sports writer and I don’t why but there’s that twinge of pride whenever I hear people say that.

I was a not really a sports fan although I’m a huge worshipper of basketball. Of course it’s never enough to be able to write reports or articles about it. Last season of UAAP was a huge test for me. For one, I did not cover the game from the beginning and I only entered during the semi-finals. Second, I’m not very familiar with the play – like the teams, players, and coaches – primarily because I came from a school which is not part of the league. I’ve heard of and knew about Kiefer Ravena, but I couldn’t tell you then his average score per game, or who are the “Ateneo Big 3” which I think are important because they’re all part of what you’ll write about.

In less than a month, I managed to get along. Maybe it’s because of my love for basketball that made me learn that quick. But I also did the Azkals, and if not articles, I also did broadcast scripts for Wimbledon and the US Open and of course, boxing.

I’m not really that clueless when it comes to sports coverage. In fact, part of my internship went for the government’s radio station dedicated to sports. The SEA Games, PBA and the former PBL are among those of which I was part of the coverage then. While I enjoyed the experience, I didn’t imagine I would do it for a career. And yet here I am.

Being a sports writer gives me a whole new kind of satisfaction in my life as a journalist. Ultimately, it’s as stressful as sitting in a whole day legislative or judicial hearing or translating a court resolution into something that ordinary people would be able to grasp. But it’s something that I really love. And I love doing politics and justice beat as well, but doing sports to me is the same as being paid to travel around the world or getting to wear all those expensive clothes with the only requirement of reporting how the experience went. That’s sports writing to me. The adrenaline, the excessive machismo, and even all the troubles coming with it – I love them all.

One time, a friend asked me if I’m doing this to prove something. Now, to be honest, that’s another thing. I’m gay, but my officemates and colleagues, if not clueless, at least, are not privy to my sexuality. Although I hate to be prejudice about all these, but do you think the editors would gamble on an inexperienced like me to cover a basketball game knowing that I’m gay? I think not. That’s why I also find it liberating, thinking that I’m breaking their pre-conceived way of thinking while hoping that someday I will be able to prove they’re wrong.

Everyone knows I love a good challenge. This one is. Writing down your stats (for example in basketball: points, assists, rebounds, free throws, turnovers etc. because I want everything to be coming from my hands, thank you very much) while staying focus on the game and jotting down your own analysis and other things to remind you on the article you are about to write later – all these are only a slab of your stressors. Oh, and did I mention the deadline? But then again, nothing beats the thought of doing what you’re passionate about and what you really love. I don’t know where will this bring me, but I’ll take my chances. Who knows what will happen next?

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