My experience covering sports at The Collegian has been invaluable. I’ve tackled sports I loved, and ones I had no idea I would ever enjoy. I even ventured into the dark and scary world of sports administration.
Fresno State’s athletic department has undergone so much turnover this past semester. There was coach Rodney Terry’s departure from the men’s basketball team, followed by Justin Hutson’s hiring, Steve Robertello’s first full semester as interim athletic director, the decision to shelve the Bulldog Stadium renovation, to name a few.
I’ve been at the center of all of that. I’ve been forced to ask tough questions. I’ve been forced to grow thicker skin. These events have made me more knowledgeable on collegiate sports, in general, but, more importantly, have reminded me how much more I have left to learn.
I’ve stumbled over my words, asked stupid questions and have even missed out on interviews entirely, but my staff and advisers never made me feel like my work was not worthwhile.
Co-workers like Vanessa Romo and Jorge Rodriguez make the sports section all the more enjoyable. Romo helped continue to grow my voice within the print medium as my editor. Rodriguez, on the other hand, helped me find a voice in audio.
Recording The Collegian SportsCast with Rodriguez was the venture I had the most fun with this semester. The podcast did not have the production value of the ones produced by some of my favorite publications (ESPN and The Ringer, to name two). But it was space of unadulterated fun where I could just shoot away my hottest takes on both collegiate and professional sports with a friend. They didn’t always land so well (I picked Toronto over Cleveland, too).
I never imagined I’d find myself on a podcast. I felt afraid to step forward, give an opinion and end up being wrong. I toyed with the idea of it but never completely followed through. But when Rodriguez pushed me to do so, I never looked back.
One of the most rewarding parts of the sports environment at The Collegian is just how open to hearing ideas our editor was. Romo was constantly looking for ideas for columns or analysis. As writers, we did not always deliver, but the door was always open.
My experience here at The Collegian excites me for the future, and it also reminded me of how important a sportswriter’s job truly is. We open a door that would otherwise be closed. The public gets a look into the administration, and it is through jobs like this that the athletics department is held accountable.
I learned all of this while working for a student-run publication. So with that in mind, there’s no telling how much I still have left to go as I venture into the professional world of sports journalism. It is a scary world. Some of my favorite writers have been laid off from some of my favorite publications. But it is experiences like the many I had at this student paper that keep my drive for this profession alive and well.