A recap of my first year as Assistant Sports Editor
In my first year at Concordia University, I got out of my comfort zone more than ever before, and I was determined to keep the ball rolling during the 2020–21 academic year.
When I found out last summer that I would be the Assistant Sports Editor at The Concordian, I was happy, but simultaneously worried, because I had no clue how sports would be operating down the line during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I have always kept tabs on professional sports leagues, but I was thrilled to get an opportunity to bring a similar level of enthusiasm to collegiate sports prior to the pandemic in the form of Concordia Stinger profiles, game recaps, interviews with coaches, and much more.
Leading up to the opening weeks of school, I spent weeks mentally preparing myself for the challenges ahead, like how a kid playing basketball alone in the backyard might envision game scenarios and buzzer-beaters in immaculate detail. But when the spotlight was on, and it was time to produce the stories I had mentally built up, I was stumped for ideas.
Suddenly, there was “nothing” to write about.
Everyone on the publication staff helped me at some point — but none more than Alec Brideau, The Concordian’s Sports Editor. He pointed someone like me, a deer in the headlights for most of the year, in the right direction on a near-daily basis. When I had questions, be it about life or work, he was responsive, supportive, and friendly.
After a couple of weeks of trial and error, things started to settle down as I slowly but surely got habitual with the pitching, writing, and editing routines. Stories were becoming easier to come by, and I was relying less on the default pitches that pertained to collegiate and professional sports.
What was at first a bitter notion became a blessing over time — I eventually took immense pride in writing stories on businesses and people that would never have gotten sports media attention in a normal year.
I embraced the idea of branching out to include Esports, and I am grateful to The Concordian’s staff for having an open mind to the idea. In writing about the lives of streamers and covering international Esports tournaments, I realized how enormous the gaming industry is and how much room it has to grow.
Talking to business owners that were struck hard by the pandemic was a sobering process that often left me grateful for the little things. Meanwhile, covering the more fortunate businesses that are benefiting from these exceptional times was enlightening for me as an emerging sportswriter.
One of the many things I learned through two years in J-school is that the world is full of worthwhile stories and interesting people to write about. During my time with The Concordian, I realized that finding stories is an acquired taste that develops through experience and impartiality.
To the entire editorial and management staff that helped turn my raw ideas into full-fledged stories, words cannot express how grateful I truly am for the guidance. I only regret the fact we never got the chance to meet in person.
Brideau was a magnificent mentor that balanced everything to a tee. He kept me coordinated and held me accountable during a hectic year.
In hindsight, I could not have asked for a better overall learning experience, and I look forward to what lies ahead.
Graphic by Lily Cowper