The Three Reasons I Would Bomb Out of Any Profession, but Sports Journalism

June 25, 2012 | Andrew Tomlinson

There is no easy way to state why I became a journalist, but it is easy to see I am successful. Over the last four years I have covered the Washington Capitals of the NHL, American University Basketball, the Washington Mystics and my own favorite teams in Detroit. While that is what makes me qualified as a journalist, it isn’t what qualifies me as a member of your sports media.

Hailing from Detroit, Michigan with a love of almost every major sport and a casual, like Jeremy Guthrie soft toss casual, interest in basketball, it is easy to see how I became a sports journalist. The path from Political Science major to one time Washington Capitals beat reporter, columnist and Sports Editor is not one easily explained.

My passion and love of sports is what fuels the flame inside of me to continue to move towards perfection, improve myself and ultimately continue on this tough career path. My passion is only one part of why I know I will be a successful media personality. To explain the others, it might be easier to tell you the three reasons why I would bomb out in any other profession.

Reason 3 is, because in the real world, it is never acceptable to be like Terry Tate.

Most of you know the YouTube clips of the office linebacker Terry Tate who moves into the office environment and tells his coworkers how to recycle and fill up coffee with the intensity of Ray Lewis in the playoffs. Often times, this is how I operate, especially if I am fired up about what I am working on.

Sometimes in the news room you have to bring the lumber like Terrell Suggs off the edge. Journalism is a tough business and you have to have an edge. Whether it is with words, or photos or on air you have to bring an intensity and the passion. In the journalism world, passion creates great content, in the other world it creates office problems.

I never played organized sports in high school or college, but the truth is journalism is what my competitive sports is. I don’t play around and I bring my best game everyday. In an office, a high level of intensity is the fastest way to make someone hate working with you.

In journalism, a high intensity person is someone who understands what is at stake and really believes in what they are doing. As a writer I have learned overtime to stand behind my opinions and not hide them because like Terry Tate, if you don’t lay the pain you can’t play the game.

Reason two is because it is a little creepy to ask your new client about their personal lives the first time you meet them.

I should have figured out I was meant to be a journalist earlier in my life. The phrase “curiosity killed the cat” was not one I feared as a child. Sure I got people to tell me a lot of things, but at the same time I imagine it annoyed the heck out of my parents. After all, there is no dumb questions in life, but there certainly are annoying ones.

Sports journalism is so much fun because you get to ask about anything and everything. Sure, how a pitcher was on the mound is important, but it isn’t out of the realm of reality to ask what their parents taught them growing up. It is all apart of learning about your subject because every tidbit of information you can pry out of someone is another piece to the puzzle of that person.

In the private, non-journalism world, asking a client anything personal, or asking too many questions, is a recipe for absolute disaster. What can I say though, I love to ask questions and am never afraid to keep asking them until I have the answer I need.
Lost in today’s sports world is the art of asking the question, but to me the question is the most important part of journalism.

I have a hard time watching a game and not making a mental list of questions I would ask after the game to a coach or player, even if I am not covering it. To not ask a question is failing your reader/listener and I will always will always ask the questions Baltimore wants the answers to.

Reason one is because I was told I couldn’t do it and I feed off of it.

Ask me one thing anyone should know about me and I will immediately explain how I am “ultra-competitive,” as you probably guess from reason three. It isn’t just the desire to win either, it is the fact there is no other option to me. Even the most casual ultimate frisbee or pickup football games become the Super Bowl to me. It is what makes me such a successful and driven person and one who will always be the best journalist I can possibly be.

When I discovered I could succeed in journalism, I immediately set out on a course to prove every teacher wrong. Through most of my schooling I was told I was a bad writer. Clearly, as I hope I have shown, I am incredibly far from a bad writer.

Sometimes I want to find them and just say, “look at me now.” I’ve been published on the front page of, linked to by, run a successful website with two other people and am now in the running to be Baltimore’s next media super star.

Maybe I should applaud those doubters, as I wouldn’t be there without them. I even embrace the new ones I meet everyday and feed off of them to keep me striving to improve. Baltimore is a town that does not take anything from anyone, I am the same way and it is why you’ll love me as your next sports media personality.