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Sun, Dec 21, 2014

Being sports reporter still a dream job

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Being a sports reporter is a dream job for me.

It’s something I have wanted to do since I was a child.

When I cover the various sporting events around the Rutherford County area each week, usually I have a press pass that I wear around my neck to let people know I’m a reporter.

About 85 percent of the time, most of them are very welcoming.

On the other hand, others act as if sports reporters just sit up in the press box and watch the game like a fan. But we are not like regular fans, we can not cheer or support either team in any way, or we will be thrown out and have our press pass taken away for the rest of the season.

I feel like some fans, do not realize all of the work that goes into the job.

Here is a typical week for me and the work that goes into covering a sporting event.

Say I’m going to cover a MTSU football game on Saturday.

In preparation for the game, I’ll look at how the Blue Raiders have played throughout the season and how they prepared for this week’s opponent.

Usually, Monday I go back and look at the stats and notes from the previous week’s game.

Also, the Sun Belt office, and the two schools also send out a notes package, which details the action during the past weekend.

I also get a chance to look at the stats and compare the teams.

It is really important if say the Blue Raiders are going to face a conference opponent like Louisiana-Monroe on Oct. 6.

Also, there is a coaches’ teleconference each Monday, when the various reporters that cover the SBC on a regular basis get a chance to ask each of the coaches questions over the phone.

The following day, the focus turns to the Blue Raiders as head coach Rick Stockstill and a couple of MTSU players take the podium for the weekly press conference with area media.

This is the best opportunity for us to ask them about the upcoming game, because interview opportunities are limited later in the week.

It can be nerve-racking depending on how MTSU’s game went the previous week. Sometimes its hard to guess what mood everyone will be in.

The next couple of days are usually reserved for more research, which is one of my favorite things about the job.

You get a chance to dig deeper for any tidbit that could be useful during the game.

Also, you are watching for breaking news, like if a key player gets injured or suspended for breaking team rules. Most of the time, I’m also putting together a preview article or feature story for the Thursday issue.

When game day is finally here, it is the start of a long day.

The old adage is “First one here, last one to leave” applies in this case. Most of us get to the stadium about two hours before kickoff.

Once the game starts, we are busy watching for any details on the field like if a key player is on the sidelines getting tended to for an injury.

Also, we are looking for any trends taking place during the game.

At halftime, this is usually the time, we start typing our stories since most of us are on a tight deadline.

Once the game is over, the real work begins.

First we receive the post-game stats and head into the room for a press conference that happens after a NCAA-mandated, 10-minute cooling-off period.

On some nights, the players and coaches wish they could have more time or not do it at all, because of their performances.

After that is over, most fans have already left the stadium, but we are busy finishing our stories. Some of us do not get done until maybe an hour or more after the final whistle.

Finally, we start all over for the next week’s action.

This is a real-world description of our job and how it works. It’s more than just watching sports for enjoyment.

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David Hunter, Sports, Voices
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