On Nov. 19, during the Sharks vs. Philadelphia game, the team hosted its second consecutive High School Writers Day for aspiring journalists in the Bay Area. Established to provide insight to students interested in a career in sports journalism, High School Writers Day gives participants the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a sports reporter. This year, eight students were chosen to participate from a pool of nearly two dozen applicants. In the end, Gunn High School (Palo Alto) junior Adrienne Nguyen was selected as the winner. Below is her essay.
If you would like more information about High School Writers Day, please contact Jeff Cafuir at firstname.lastname@example.org
SAN JOSE SHARKS HIGH SCHOOL WRITERS DAY:
MY NIGHT AS A PROFESSIONAL SPORTS REPORTER
By Adrienne Nguyen (Gunn High School-Palo Alto)
I’m afraid of heights—I somehow forgot until recently. As I nervously inched my way across the catwalk, I glanced at the ice over 100 feet below. The bouts of fear that overcame me while in the rafters of the Shark Tank were worth the experience I had acquired that night.
As an enthusiast of journalism and sports, I was privileged to participate in the High School Sports Writers Day program hosted by the San Jose Sharks. The event merged my interests and allowed me to experience the daily life of a professional sports writer.
After introductions among the other seven participating journalists and Fan Development Coordinator Jeff Cafuir, we enjoyed a meal in the pressroom, bustling with writers, photographers, game commentators and news reporters. To make the little conversation between the other journalists and professionals more awkward during dinner, we were being filmed by a camera crew for an upcoming episode of “Shark Byte.” The recording proceeded through the night, as the other student journalists and I attempted to contain our excitement and maintain our poise.
As members of the media, we were provided with packets briefing the game with information and news, team and player statistics.
Following dinner, we entered a conference room in the Sharks office, where we had the privilege of meeting the Sharks beat writer from the San Francisco Chronicle, Ross McKeon. He discussed the highlights of his journalism career and how he proceeded to become a beat writer. McKeon spoke about the importance of the media and offered tips about developing a personal writing style. He explained the responsibilities of his profession and provided us with motivation to delve into journalism.
The night continued with a tour of the lower levels of the HP Pavilion, including the locker rooms and Sharks office. Cafuir offered us an opportunity to observe the Sharks warm up from the ice level, immediately behind the goal. The pucks collided with the plexiglass at incredible speeds, aimed at goalie Vesa Toskala. The view was spectacular, as our anticipation and excitement grew minutes before the start of the game.
Cafuir proceeded to lead us to our seats in the press box, far up in the rafters. We sat among professional media reporters, opposing team scouts and executives and Sharks staff members. I quickly settled down and prepared myself to watch the San Jose Sharks vs. Philadelphia Flyers match. Filled with brawls and continuous action, the game ended with a 6-1 win for the Sharks.
Immediately following the game, we conducted a post game interview with defenseman Kyle McLaren. Our questions ranged from his prospects entering the game and his hopes for the future.
I was quickly immersed into a life of a socialite. I soon had learned the powers of my media pass—access into the upper and lower levels, the locker rooms, complimentary beverages and hot dogs. I had been showered with warmth and amiability from my peers and professionals.
However, as the night came to an end, I realized a truth of journalism. Although I assumed a life of luxury and glamour for a sports writer, the profession is difficult. McKeon mentioned that he travels to each Sharks game and often struggles to reach deadlines. Despite this, I still aspire to be a writer, realizing the amazing people I would encounter daily. This event allowed me to develop my passions into what hopefully will become my future as a journalist.
I was balancing on the thin walkway, approximately three feet wide. Yet, at the end of the night, I walked across confidently, hot dog and recorder in hand, with aspirations for the future, solidified in my mind.