I’m often asked by readers why I love covering sports, they usually think they know the answer — because it’s fun. But it is so much more than that. It is a joy to cover sports, at least the kind of sports we cover at the Big Bear Grizzly — high school sports and recreational sports. Because, for the most part, these are the athletes who are competing for the love of the sport. And it shows.
I’ve been around sports all my life. As a kid growing up in Southeast Texas, of course we were fanatical Friday Night Lights fans. My first high school football game to attend was when I was still in elementary school. My father took me to see the hometown Thomas Jefferson Yellow Jackets play the Nederland Bulldogs. TJ won that game and would go on to win many more before the school eventually merged with two other schools in Port Arthur to form one big school in the 1990s.
TJ was where Jimmy Johnson (of University of Miami and Dallas Cowboy coaching fame), Austin “Goose” Gonsoulin (who played for the Denver Broncos in the 1960s) and Frank Eidom (all-Southwest Conference running back for Southern Methodist University who was drafted by the Detroit Lions) got their starts. When I went to the school in the early to mid ’70s, I was a member of the Maroon and Gold marching band, so football was still a big thing. My marching band career followed me to Lamar University for a couple of years, too.
So, yes, football is in my blood. I can’t help it. But so, too, is baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, tennis, track and field. I could go on.
So why do I love covering sports? Because sports are microcosms of life itself. What athletes experience on the playing field is the same as what office workers experience at work and families experience at home.
I guess the best way to explain it comes from what I learned in screenwriting classes at UCLA. What made life in general and sports in particular connect like some invisible cosmic link is conflict, and how we respond to conflict. On the playing field, in the classroom, the boardroom and at home.
Sports is life. And that’s what makes covering sports worthwhile.