Reporter brings lessons learned in sports to news coverage: Time for a change

Voices of the Clarion

Posted: Sunday, September 03, 2006

Change is a good thing. At least I’m hoping change is a good thing.

Starting this week, my job description here at the Clarion will change from sports reporter to news reporter. There are a lot of reasons for me to make the switch — more time with my family on the weekends, a better schedule with young children just starting school, no more sore back and bleacher butt, I get to attend games and just be a fan for a change, and the list goes on — but what it comes down to is that after 10 years covering all levels of athletic competition, I’m ready to tackle something a little different.

During the past seven years at the Clarion, I’ve had the privilege of watching athletes here on the peninsula do some incredible things, from winning state championships to overcoming adversity just to finish a competition. One of the definitions of news is ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, and you don’t have to visit too many sporting venues to find, under that definition, a newsworthy event.

The main reason sports writers get started on this beat is a love and appreciation for what athletics, at their best, have to offer, and a realization that relying solely on our athletic abilities won’t keep us involved for very long. And though I’ll be retiring my sports media pass, the best things that sport has to offer — those life lessons your high school coach preached about but you never understood until after your athletic career was done — will stick with me. To steal a quote from a recent postgame interview with a local coach, we’re in this to become better people.

Sports has been a big part of my life for a long time, from running track and playing soccer in high school and college to coaching a high school team before moving to Alaska. For me, the life lessons of athletic participation have come in the form of life habits, behaviors that have been embedded through constant repetition.

Through sports, I’ve learned about work ethic. I’ve learned about playing to the whistle and running through the finish — in other words, never giving up until the job is done. I’ve learned how to work with other people, and how to lead. I hope these habits are still being passed on, from coach to athlete, here on the peninsula.

I’ve appreciated the opportunity to cover the Kenai Peninsula’s athletes over the past seven years. I’ve appreciated the coaches who are just as willing to talk after a tough loss as they are after a big win. I’ve appreciated the athletes who are willing to go beyond the cliche and give thoughtful, insightful answers — even if it means bulletin board material for the opponents — to my questions. I’ve appreciated the scorekeepers who have taken the time to check and double-check their scorebooks, dotting the i’s, crossing the t’s and making sure everything adds up, and I’ve appreciated the athletic directors and event coordinators who have done their best to get us the information we need.

The best journalism is about people, and I’ve appreciated the efforts of all the athletes who have had the courage to go out and do their best year in and year out. I hope my words have captured a little bit of what sports have meant to you.

And I hope that somewhere down the line, you’ll look back and think about how your participation in sports has made you a better person. I know I do.

Will Morrow is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion. He can be reached by e-mail at will.morrow@peninsulaclarion.com.



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