Dr. J. got the ball near the top of the key, took a dribble and went airborne after he glided past the free throw line. This was going to be another signature dunk, or so it seemed. Erving is about to reach the peak of his leap, Then, Dan Roundfield of the Hawks enters the picture. Roundfield, an All-Star in his day, “skies” and blocks the Doctor’s shot. The entire sequence unfolded right before me as I peered through the viewfinder of my trusty Pentax.
There was one problem. I didn’t get the shot, and it was all because I was so wrapped up in the action that I froze and failed to click the shutter. That showed me that I wasn’t ready to cover sports at the highest levels – yet. More than anything, it was apparent I was still too much in awe of my surroundings. The awe factor vanished after I covered a few more pro games. Once that happened, I was able to get the shots I wanted, and it helped my writing too.
So, for the sake of objectivity and for the sake of performing your best, the sports journalist is best served by keeping the “fan within” on a tight leash.
Craig T. Greenlee is a seasoned sports writer/editor/photographer who earned B.A. and M.A degrees in journalism from Marshall University. Magazines/journals: sports editor, UPSCALE Magazine; former correspondent, Black Issues In Higher Education. Newspapers: sports editor, Winston-Salem Chronicle (NC). Started out as copy editor/layout artist with News & Record sports (NC). Joined writing staff later on (primary beats: community/college sports, arena football).