Schuckman: Let’s have a ball

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By Matt Schuckman

Let’s have a ball.

Isn’t that what sports are all about anyway?

The joy of playing catch. The freedom to run, fall down, get back up and do it again. The happiness of getting dirty doing something so fun. The elation that comes with every first — first catch, first touchdown, first home run, first 3-pointer, first victory, etc.

With the launch of MuddyRiverSports.com coming August 16, we get to experience one of those firsts ourselves. We want you to experience it with us.

Over the next month, we will showcase what you can expect at MuddyRiverSports.com on a daily basis. We want to celebrate the triumphs of area athletes and highlight the unique stories leading to those ultimate highs.

We plan to have fun doing it, too.

But keep this in mind: This isn’t the toy department.

The first journalism class I enrolled in at the University of Missouri was one of two undergraduates had to pass to gain acceptance to the School of Journalism. One day, the instructor asked what kind of journalist I wanted to become.

My answer? A sports writer.

She rebuked that by saying, “So you want to work for the toy department.”

I reminded her during the broadcast of the 1989 World Series when an earthquake shook and damaged San Francisco’s Candlestick Park the lead announcer, Al Michaels, transitioned from calling play-by-play to delivering the news for hours on end.

When asked how he seamlessly transitioned duties, Michaels responded by saying he was a journalist first and foremost.

“Sports reporters are the same as news reporters,” he was quoted as saying. “We present the story, assess situations and articulate emotions. The same basic principles apply.”

The instructor shook her head in appreciation and never called it the toy department again. She also became one of my most ardent supporters and critiquers during my two years in the School of Journalism. Those lessons stay with me today.

So beyond the joy we want to bring you, you’re going to get the grit that comes with telling emotional stories. We want you to feel invested in a story of overcoming odds, fighting through pain and persevering.

Covering sports allows us to run the full gamut of emotions, and we want you to laugh as much as possible and feel your heartstrings being tugged on occasion.

Hopefully you will find inspiration as much as you find joy in our stories and podcasts.

It’s time to get started.

So let’s have a ball.

Matt Schuckman is the editor of Muddy River Sports, which debuts August 16.

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