Diary of… a sports writer

Alex Gruber is a junior communications studies major. As a sports writer, Alex has learned to use his knowledge and love of sports to create well thought-out, informative articles. When he is not writing, Alex enjoys watching soccer and rooting for his favorite team, FC Barcelona. Alex is also the news and sports program director for NSU’s Shark United Television.

Sports have always been an integral part of my life. One of the pictures in my room is of me at my first baseball game, way back in 1995, just after my 4th birthday. One of my parents’ favorite stories to tell is of watching game six of the 1986 World Series with some friends as the New York Mets made their heroic comeback against the Boston Red Sox. Luckily, they’re Mets fans.

When I transferred to NSU after leaving Georgia Tech, I knew I would be leaving behind the top-level college football experience that I had loved so much over my three years there. But I also knew that I would be taking a huge step by changing my major so drastically, from chemical engineering to communication studies.

Really, my plan is to go into broadcasting. Watching all the sports that I do, I’ve grown to love sportscasters like Steve Goldstein and Rich Waltz for the Panthers and Marlins, and the great Ian Darke and Martin Tyler for all my football (soccer) needs. This brings me to my newfound career in journalism.

Back in June, I was plodding around social media and got to reading a football blog started by a friend of mine called “Counter-Attacking Football”. The content was not only interesting, but was very well written. I got to thinking I could do something like this, when suddenly, I got my chance.

This friend put out a “casting call” of sorts on Twitter. He wanted to add some new writers to the fold, and I was looking for an outlet for my knowledge of the “beautiful game”. So, I contacted him and he had me write up a sample piece. I received a great review and was promptly added to the team.

I jumped right into the fold, putting out an article or two a week based on my availability and comfort level with things that were going on. After a while, I felt really confident with it, and I’d been getting complimented quite a bit by my peers, friends and family.

Looking to broaden my horizons, I applied for and was accepted to an internship program at a popular sports website, Bleacher Report, for which several Counter-Attacking Football’s authors already wrote. I’ve read the Bleacher Report for many years and I have a lot of respect for it.

The internship program was not quite what I expected it to be. Interns are asked to publish an article a day for three days, and do it early in the day, so that it maximizes viewership and so that the higher-ups can put it in places where it will be recognized.

Not only that, but we’re asked to spend one three-hour-long session in a group chat, during which a program director assigns the group a series of pieces to complete. These tended to be much shorter, but they were still stressful due to the time constraints.

This timing aspect was beginning to wear on me. The program kicked off in January, as classes at NSU got back up and running. Not to mention the jobs I hold at NSU’s TV station, SUTV, and at IKEA, which take up a lot of my spare time.

But out of the blue a couple weeks ago, I was handed a great opportunity when I was nominated for a promotion to featured columnist. Not only does the position come with that fancy-sounding title, but it gets me better placement on the site. It’s designed so I work one-on-one with an editor, and I can put out articles on my own schedule. Plus, I can get press passes, exclusive interviews and an inside track to possible future paid employment. Not bad for three months.

As I mentioned before, the whole reason I decided to go into the communication studies major at NSU is because I want to be a sports broadcaster, either as an anchor for a show like “SportsCenter” or as a play-by-play guy like Waltz or Tyler. But now I’ve done so much writing and will be continuing down a path that could lead me to employment in this field. It’s hard to say what the future holds.

Wherever I end up, I know I’ll be grateful to have experienced all that I have as a sports writer, since it’s something I love to do. Sports are something that so many people enjoy, and I take satisfaction in sharing my knowledge with the world.

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