Journalism, Ohio University

One of those games

The view out WLWT's station window, overlooking Cincinnati.

I watched Ohio’s win against Michigan from my couch tonight, clutching onto my phone for dear life and staring at my TV as if the game’s outcome depended on it. To my left, my dad did the same. On my right, my brother carried on about how he was going to rub the victory in his friends’ faces come school on Monday, as the vast majority of his friends here are Wolverines fans.

My inner sportswriter would feel some sort of void if I didn’t write something up tonight, even though it obviously wasn’t my responsibility to cover the game in any respect. So here I sit, carving out an indent in the same spot of my couch, taking in the second half of another NCAA game, my eyes drooping and the rest of my family tucked away in their rooms for the night.

Tonight’s game was an awesome one that I know I will tell stories about for years to come. There’s no doubt it’ll be one of those “Dude, you remember freshman year when…” type of things. And that’s pretty cool.

As it turns out, I have had a lot of those moments this year. Since I left home this summer, I’ve experienced more than I could have ever imagined.

Just through my “work”, I’ve done more in 20 weeks than I thought I’d be able to do in my whole freshman year — if I was lucky.

Running through the stories I’ve written during the last two quarters, I’ve covered a meningitis breakout, club sports scandal, high school football playoff games, a bowl game victory, a double-overtime thriller, a jersey retirement, a bunch of stuff about money, the largest sports festival in the world and the beginning of the end of a coaching era.

I saw a tweet this morning from one of the Ohio administrators, which said something to the tune of “Days like these are why I work in sports.” Even though I was hundreds miles away, I couldn’t agree more.

It’s the breath that you hold for what seems like forever while glancing back and forth between the shot and game clocks with the game on the line, the antsy pacing during timeouts and the texts you exchange with friends breaking down the game in retrospect that make days like these so great. You can go through the cycle over and over, but every once in a while something — a moment, feeling or emotion — will pull you back in.

That’s one of the great things about sports. It’s one of the reasons that people will always value them so much. In turn, it’s a primary reason why I love what I do. It’s simple (and doesn’t directly apply to this situation because I wasn’t covering the game, but was watching it as a fan), but I “work” while (potentially) thousands of people watch what I’m breaking down.

Not bad, eh?

As much as I love what I do, I’m going to devote a couple months this summer to taking a step aside and trying something else. I’ve been covering sports since before I had a driver’s license, so yesterday I made the decision that I’m going to venture out into the scary world of news instead of taking a sports internship.

Starting in June, I’ll be working for WLWT, NBC’s local affiliate in Cincinnati. My job description is that I don’t have one, plain and simple. I’ll be doing everything from reporting news packages for its website to running through wire content, shooting photo slideshows and seeing how people on the TV side of the business do things.

I didn’t have more than a couple questions during my visit to the station Thursday, simply because I don’t have an outlined role specific enough upon which I had any questions to ask.

The scary (and equally exciting) part about the job is that I’ll really be on my own this time. I said that about coming to college, but I realized that was kind of my own creation and that every kid was just as starry-eyed as I was when their parents waved goodbye back in September.

When I back out of my driveway in a couple days — I don’t exactly know when, because if Ohio makes it to St. Louis, I’m finding a way to get there — I don’t know when I’ll be pulling back in. It might be a really long time.

It’s going to be fun. And I have a lot to look forward to before I set my sights on Cincy. But for now, I’m going to put away my laptop and check out the rest of another NCAA upset. The future can come beckoning in the morning, or something.

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My name is Jim Ryan, and I'm a breaking news reporter for The Oregonian and OregonLive in Portland. I'm an Ohio University graduate from Gaylord, Michigan.

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