Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Opinion

February 2, 2013

Sports is Greek to news writer

GLASGOW — There is a phrase I say that often evokes a giggle from my co-workers, and that is, “I don’t speak sports.”

If you know me, you totally understand what I mean when I say it. If you don’t know me, then let me explain.

Sports has its own vocabulary. It’s own language. It is just like any other profession. Athletes and coaches use words during the course of their workday that others typically don’t use, unless they are standing around the water cooler talking about some athletic event.

For instance, such words that pertain specifically to football are touchdown, pass, offense, field goal and first down.

While I know what a touchdown is and what it means to pass the ball to another player, I couldn’t explain what a first down is.

The primary reason why I don’t “speak sports” is because I’ve never had much of an interest in sports.

I didn’t grow up in a family of sports enthusiasts. None of my friends growing up were athletes, however, I did have a childhood friend who attempted to teach me how to play catch.

She invited me over to her house for a play date. Not once did she mention that we might play catch.

 We rode our bicycles, watched television and lip synced to songs on the radio, all of which were fun. But then she said she wanted to play catch; something I’d never done.

I agreed to participate, but I was a little nervous. Each time she tossed the ball to me I put the glove in front of my face and squeezed my eyes shut.

As you would guess, I didn’t catch the ball very much. My friend tried to help me out by giving me some advice, which was, “Don’t close your eyes!”

I couldn’t do it. Every time she tossed me the ball my eyes would automatically close. I was afraid of being hit in the face by the ball and breaking my glasses.

When I made the decision to become a reporter, I never imagined that I would ever be called upon to write about athletic events. Since I had no real interest in sports, it made perfect sense to me that I would never have to write about a sporting event. Boy, was I wrong.

For six years I worked at a weekly newspaper, where I was the only reporter. That meant I attended all city council and fiscal court meetings, typed all of the obituaries, weddings, engagements and took many photos; some of which were of basketball, football, baseball and softball games.

I took the photos, but I could not describe what was taking place in the photo caption because I don’t “speak sports.” All I could do was list the names of the players in the photos.

I took photos of a golf match once while working at the weekly newspaper and attempted to write a story about the event. It was a huge mistake.

I interviewed the coach after the match on the phone.

She kept using words like birdie and eagle. I had no idea what she meant.

She picked up on it pretty quickly and offered to write the article for me. Although I can’t remember exactly what I said in response to her offer, because this happened several years ago, but I believe it was something along the lines of, “Thank you, Jesus!”

Due to my lack of knowledge about sports, I probably won’t be watching the Super Bowl on Sunday. I can’t even tell you where the game is being played, or which teams are playing.

If I do happen to flip over to the channel that is airing the game [and I don’t know which one that is], it will only be to watch the commercials.

I admit I have a problem speaking sports and I’m willing to accept help. I think I can handle standing up in front of a crowd and saying, “Hi, my name is Gina. I don’t speak sports.”

Gina Kinslow is a staff writer for the Glasgow Daily Times. She can be contacted by e-mail at gkinslow@glasgowdailytimes.com.

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