Eyes on the prize

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 4, 2005

Tony Kornheiser, Michael Wilbon, Mitch Albom, Bob Ryan.

These may just be names to you, but to me these names represent a goal – a prize that may await at the end of my long journey to become a sportswriter.

These names are some of the most well known sports writers in the business today, a profession I hope to achieve after many classes, internships, odd jobs and seemingly insignificant news events.

They are writers for the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press and the Boston Globe, three of the biggest newspapers in the country.

A freshman year of writing for the student newspaper at N.C. State only increased my drive to write for a newspaper such as these and gave me a glimpse at the kind of experience I will eventually have as a full time writer.

After starting out covering the club sport of Women’s Field Hockey, I eventually moved up and had the privileges of sitting in press row for the N.C. State – Virginia Tech men’s basketball game and covering a pivotal baseball series between the State and Clemson in the press box of Doak Field.

I became the beat writer for the Men’s Tennis team, a talented group of crazy college kids whose impressive start to their season ended in disappointment to rival North Carolina – a fate that many Wolfpack teams seem to suffer, but that’s an issue for another column.

By following these wild guys around I got to know the athletes that comprise the Wolfpack Athletic Department and the devotion they have to what they do. Through the opening of a brand new tennis facility, the introduction of a prized recruiting class, and a 12-0 start to the season to the ACC Tournament, I was there.

The guys and the coach took me in to their tight knit group and let me experience what it was like to be part of a Division 1 athletic team, an experience I will remember throughout my writing career.

I was able to experience the triumph of a Pirate and his swashbuckling crew of cronies as The Pirate Captain, lesser known as Whil Piavis, won Student Body President and received national attention.

For those of you who haven’t heard, The Pirate Captain, an ordinary student at State, dressed up and spoke like a Pirate, complete with fake parrot on his shoulder. This won the attention of the politically apathetic group of Wolfpack students and The Pirate Captain won in a landslide vote.

By covering an event such as this, I was able to see how one person or idea can have such an influence over a group of people and got a taste of what it’s like to cover politics – hidden identities and all.

Sure these events may not seem like much to the general public, but for a wide-eyed freshman at a school of 25,000 odd students, a chance to cover basketball games and student body elections made me down right giddy.

Now I am here writing a column for the News Herald, a year after a summer in which I was just hoping to cover something significant at my new school newspaper.

These are chances that an aspiring writer does not take for granted as he tries to climb up a ladder that many others attempt to scale.

There is plenty of work to be done to become a good writer but still plenty of time left to become one.

And just maybe, I’ll one day host a show on ESPN with the likes of Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.