by Akeem Glaspie
Somewhere between my time riding in a speedboat while covering the practice of a high school rowing team and almost being trampled by the Detroit Lions’ all-pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson, my desire to be a sports writer was reaffirmed.
Before I became a Chips Quinn Scholar this summer, I was a recent college graduate, working mornings at a local gym and writing freelance for a local paper at night. I enjoyed covering games for the paper, but the routine was becoming stale. I was searching for something bigger but had no idea where that opportunity might lie.
Then I got a call from Glenn Gilbert, executive editor at The Oakland Press in Pontiac, Mich., and learned I would be spending the next three months working as an intern in the sports department.
Even upon arriving in Michigan, I was skeptical. I expected to spend the summer answering phones or getting coffee for the more important writers at the paper.
But from day one the people at The Oakland Press treated me like a regular member of the staff, and I was quickly thrown into the same flow as the full-time writers. After covering a couple of high school games, I got my first big assignment: covering the Detroit Lions rookie minicamp.
As a lifelong sports fan, having the chance to cover a professional sporting event was something I only dreamed of. Seeing players I’d watched on TV and read about throughout their college careers was mind-blowing.
While I was awestruck and trying to hold back my giddy smiles, I remembered I had a job to do. I got the interviews I needed and was pleased with the story I produced.
I also got to cover two other professional sports teams in Detroit, the Pistons and Tigers, while learning the tricks of the trade from the beat writers. By observing them and asking questions, I learned much about the daily grind of a sports beat. And I loved every minute of it.
Interviewing Detroit legends such as Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter and Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups is something I will never forget.
Even covering high school sports and getting thank-you emails from parents was gratifying.
This summer helped me realize that I’m capable of being a great journalist, and I hope to have a long, successful career in the field.
Akeem Glaspie is a sports reporter for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Mass. He was a Summer 2013 Chips Quinn Scholar for The Oakland Press in Pontiac, Mich. A graduate of Southern Illinois University, Glaspie was a freelance writer covering sports for the Kane Country (Ill.) Chronicle. In college, he worked in the sports information department of the SIU Athletic Department and was a sports writer in 2011 and 2012 for the Daily Egyptian, the school paper.