Braving the elements: Viewpoint from a sports journalist

When it comes to covering sports, deciphering the perfect venue is obviously subjective. Each sport has its creature comforts. And each sport has its noticeable drawbacks.

Football typically comes with a heated press box seat and a sterling view, but is far from the action. Basketball and volleyball, meanwhile, can be enjoyed in the friendly confines of climate-controlled gyms, but those gyms can be stuffy and crowded. That’s also the case of wrestling and weightlifting, but be prepared to be on your toes to catch the non-stop action.

Baseball and softball can be enjoyed with a bag of peanuts from the bleachers, but back support is tough to come by. Meanwhile, swimming, soccer, track and field and tennis can be covered from the sidelines in a comfortable chair brought from home, but the frenetic pace demands the reporter to be organized and focused. Meanwhile, golf and cross country will get the blood flowing and caloric tally reduced because of their dependence on moving from location to location, which can be viewed as both a positive and a negative. Simply put, each is uniquely different.

As for stat keeping, each has its drawbacks.

So what’s my favorite? Although I love America’s pastime and was a former golfer and tennis player in high school, I’d tell you my preferences are always changing. There’s just no perfect answer.

Speaking for Brandon, I think he’d tell you The Arena at Northwest Florida State College is his favorite. It’s warm but never stuffy, stats are provided alongside food and refreshments, and interviews with coaches are intimate and easy to track down.

He’d also probably tell you one of his least favorite is soccer, considering it’s in the winter and the temperatures and wind chill around the pitch are guaranteed to be at least 10 degrees colder than anywhere in town.

Which leads me to this week, which has seen me hitting the soccer beat hard.

I have a special appreciation for soccer, and I probably make for a funny sight on the sidelines. With my beach chair, water jug, laptop bag and notebook in tow and layered to the nines in warm clothing, I make a loud entrance. And I park myself right next to the teams’ benches.

There’s something to be said about being so close to the action, a fly on the wall of a room where strategies are openly discussed, failures are lamented and moments of exuberance have no filter. It’s an intimate viewpoint, one I wouldn’t dare pass up for a heated press box or a seat in my car.

And I think having that option is what I appreciate most. I work in a room full of L-shaped desks, but my true office is the ever-changing sports arena. And with every venue, I’ve come to appreciate the small things. That’s what I’ll remind myself tonight when I’m on the pitch freezing, trying to generate some kind of circulation to my hands. 

By SETH STRINGER | Daily News Published: January 17 14:46, 2014
 

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