A question I probably should have considered before I signed on with the Kaimin is how to report on the lack of sports.
I’ve done well, considering the circumstances. Given that all fall sports have been canceled and all clubs and intramural teams are hanging on by a thread. But I feel like I’ve been deprived of the actual sports reporting experience, the same way everyone else has been deprived of their own sports experience.
I’m not writing about Griz wins or Griz losses. You don’t get to read about how coaches feel after a victory. And aside from the reporting aspect, I’m missing out as a fan, the same as anyone else. I’m a sophomore, but it’s my first year here on campus after a stint at community college. And I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I don’t think there’s been a worse year to start the real college experience.
Every Griz sports story we’ve published so far consists of phrases such as “when they can play.” The Griz club baseball team is hoping to compete for a conference championship, when they can play. UM star Beatrix Frissell will be one of the best runners in the Big Sky for UM cross country, when she can run. UM linebacker Jace Lewis will look to prove he deserves that preseason defensive MVP honor he earned, when he can play.
When they can play.
When can they play?
COVID-19 is a very real, very serious pandemic, and sports should undoubtedly take a back seat in times like these. Keeping students safe should be the top priority, and if sports don’t completely ruin that they’re sure as hell not going to help it.
So I get it. We all get it. Everyone misses Griz football. But almost everyone understands that Griz football is not and should not be a priority right now. But more than a couple of times, I’ve asked myself if this was it. Is this the career I’ve been planning for years?
Which, the obvious answer to this question is, no, it’s not. Sports are coming back, responsibly. Basketball is going to start up in about a month. I’ll be able to do the type of reporting I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
But to start out my career in a climate like this is disheartening. Even though things will be back to normal at some point, trying to get a foothold in a currently dead business has been difficult. Much like the athletes who I hope to report on at some point, I’m waiting with baited breath to see what happens next.
Not in the sense of “I can’t find a job,” because I found one, and I love it, but it’s been difficult in the sense of me feeling like I’m not good at this. Week after week of clawing around for stories that have anything to do with sports in general, knowing that whatever I end up writing will almost certainly have the theme of “everything is up in the air,” and the guilty feeling I get telling my editor I have no idea what to write about this week takes a toll.
To feel like that, when you’ve spent years dreaming of an opportunity like this, is damn near crushing. I can’t imagine our athletes feel much different.
I’ve told people the reason I’m studying journalism is because writing is the only thing I’m good at. It’s partly a joke, but mostly not. So when the only thing I’m good at becomes a thing that I’m not very good at, I have to take a step back and evaluate.
Taking that step back usually leads me to think with logic rather than emotions, which usually fuels thoughts like what I previously described. But when I think logically, things don’t seem so bad. I don’t know that I’m not good at this because I’ve barely done it. I should probably give myself some time before I declare that I’m a bust and I’m bad at writing and I should just give up. In short, I’ll cut myself some slack.
Everyone has been affected by this virus. I fully acknowledge that not having stuff to write about is extremely low on the list of bad things stemming from COVID-19. And things will get better. I don’t know when. But I have faith that they will. For all of us. And you know you’ll see me at the next Griz Football game.
More Kaimin sports coverage (even though there are no sports)
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