June 25, 2020

SJI Bootcamp offers much-needed reprieve

Nick Alvarez

I’ve spent too much time on Twitter the last few weeks. The country watched the police murder a black man. Then cities burned. I’ve seen people I look up to in journalism assaulted while doing the work they love. I’d be lying if I said tracking the news hasn’t been demoralizing. Then the Sports Journalism Institute bootcamp started, and it’s gotten a little better each day. I’ve heard from industry leaders. I’ve practiced deadline writing from a 15-year-old game and most importantly, I’ve seen faces that looked like mine. Michael Wilbon talked to me about sourcing and earning trust within a locker room. Soraya McDonald gave me a writing technique that I can’t wait to try out. A late-night Zoom call with classmates led to a pop-in from Mirin Fader. I’ve experienced the torture of a sports check — a pop quiz and SJI staple — repeatedly. On Thursday, the class talked about Drew Brees’ comments on kneeling for the anthem and his apology. It wasn’t a toxic back-and-forth on patriotism. It was a healthy discussion on forgiving others and expecting more from community leaders. It’s refreshing to have a reason to get out of sweatpants. It feels great to be around a group that’s motivating and supportive. The week has been memorable for so many reasons and I can’t wait to see how it concludes.

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