Sunday, March 20, 2011

Entering the circle

I'm entering a new phase in my working life.

For almost six years, I have been on the desk working nights and weekends, putting out a daily newspaper. Now, I have a new job title:

Softball writer.

I don't know much about softball. I could compare it to baseball, but there are distinct differences between the sports. For one, baseball pitchers throw on a mound. Softball pitchers throw from the circle, which is on a flat surface. I just realized that this week.

I'm going to my first softball game Tuesday, a nonconference matchup between two of the area's best teams. I'm not writing much about it, maybe eight inches or so, but it's still nerve-wracking. Will my writing suck? Will I say something stupid to the coaches? Will I even understand what's happening? I shadowed one of our writers at a basketball game during the winter. I tried to keep score and follow the action, but afterward, I felt as if I had never seen a basketball game before. You have to develop new eyes for the game when you're a reporter.

Luckily, I haven't been intimidated when talking to coaches over the phone. I think taking prep calls on busy Friday and Saturday nights rids you of your fear. And when I have had questions about terms or rules of the game, coaches have been pretty good about not making me feel like a dumbass, even if I'm beating myself up internally.

I'm writing a season preview to run at the end of March, so I'm reading up on the area's recent softball history and taking copious notes from interviewing coaches, all while trying to learn what this sport is about. I think my main problem is time management. I could spend my weekend calling coaches and still not feel as if I've done enough. I need to force myself to spend time away from work. After all, I'm going to be plenty immersed in it this spring.