Let’s just get this out of the way with: Yes, I’m from California. No, I don’t surf.
I grew up in a town just east of Oakland in the San Francisco Bay Area — a mecca for sports since I was born. From Barry Bonds setting records in the early 2000s, to the Giants winning three titles in five years, to seeing one of the greatest dynasties in the history of the NBA with the Warriors the past few years, sports have always been a big part of my life.
I mean, I learned how to read and write by tracing MLB rosters when I was two or three years old. I even remember my preschool teacher telling my parents that I had to be more well-rounded; that I had to take up more interests than just sports.
And technically, I did become more well-rounded. Instead of just playing tee-ball, I took up football, basketball, golf, rugby, soccer, ping pong (I dare anyone to take me on in a friendly match) and just about any other sport you can think of. Never tried gymnastics or figure skating, though; I don’t think my “husky” frame would’ve held up too well in those endeavors.
Although my dream of becoming an MLB superstar vanished in high school (I couldn’t hit a curveball worth a lick), I knew I had to keep sports in my life in some capacity. I figured journalism would suit me well, considering I always had some weird story to tell my friends at the lunch table. Might as well get paid for doing that sort of thing, right?
After enjoying my time writing for my high school newspaper, I decided to move halfway across the country to study sports journalism at the University of Missouri. Through stints practicing radio, television and print journalism, I found my passion amid a high school softball game. While taking notes, post-game interviewing and writing up my first game story, I fell in love with the writing side of sports journalism and knew I wanted to pursue this any way I could.
And as if I needed any more of a sign this was what I wanted to do, the team I was covering ended up throwing a no-hitter that game. Not a bad way to start this whole sports writing thing.
Since then, I’ve covered almost every sport imaginable at the high school level; wrote about the Missouri football, basketball and baseball teams; and even spent a summer in St. Louis as the Cardinals beat writer for a radio station.
During the few years I’ve spent pursuing this passion of mine, I’ve realized how important of a job sports writing is. It’s nothing heroic like being a doctor or a general in the Army, but I get the chance to tell a community’s stories, which is so cool to me. Stories are what live on throughout a town’s history; and a good one can bring someone so much joy.
I’ve had multiple occurrences of parents telling me my story on their child made them tear up and that it’s something they’ll never forget. It’s moments like those that make all this worth it. It’s moments like those that made me realize just how important my job is.
I’m not just here to summarize games, preview a team’s season or anything like that. Sure, that’s part of it; but I’m here to tell important stories within a community so the people within it can feel more closely-connected. And that’s exactly what I aim to do here in Michigan City and La Porte County. I’m ecstatic to immerse myself in the Northwest Indiana community, and I can’t wait to get this thing rolling.
Michigan City, I’m coming for you. Let’s go! Follow me on Twitter @jack_parodi to hop along for the ride. Should be a fun one.