Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Photos and Stories

One of the definite perks of living in the District is having the National Mall to run beside or stroll through the Lincoln Memorial or the Washington Monument. 

Women get a day at the Tour de France? This is kind of a big deal. 

No Americans wore yellow from the 2014 route from Leeds, England to Paris, France. But Tejay van Garderen and Company give US cycling fans something more than just hope.

It's pretty sweet covering the "minor sports." I'm pretty sure golfers, especially the ladies on the LPGA Tour, are some of the more intelligent and interesting personalities in sport. 

I'd never heard the Secretary of U.S. Soccer's defense Tim Howard speak before asking him a few questions on the phone. It was quick, but a great conversation. Afterwards I wrote my fastest article ever for USA Today. 25 minutes after I hung up the phone I had the story of how the US National Team goalkeeper would be working the microphone on the English Premier League... in between playing for Everton in the English Premier League. 

Catch up with potential Team USA Paralympic members of Rio here. I really hope I did their story justice. 

Next stop, more tennis. Got a couple articles in the can for lead-in to the U.S. Open. The ATP and WTA circuit is also back in the nation's capitol for the Citi Open. I wonder where I will be?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

From Le Tour to World Team Tennis

Red solo cups and cake in July, that must mean...
Federal City on a hot summer Fourth of July day.

The Nations Capitol really gets into Independence Day.
A long afternoon grilling and games gave way to watching
the fireworks show atop the roof of a row house with about
6o others.

The view from the Gannett Media - USA Today campus in
Virginia where I work when not tracking down stories on foot.
It's an incredible building to work from, but getting out here
is a challenge. I ride my bike the 40 miles roundtrip, and it
doesn't take much longer than it would on the Metro.

My favorite stories this week centered around tennis. I even
had a phone interview with Billie Jean King, then met her
again two days later at a tennis match on the George
Washington U campus. Martina Hingis put on a clinic in
how to play while I was there.

A couple stories from last week if you're interested:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Five Pictures, Five Stories

El Salvador fans heading to the Redskins Stadium here in
the District of Columbia for a pre-WC friendly with Spain
With the beginning of this summer I began a new adventure - working as a journalist for USA Today. For pretty much every day for over a decade I read the sports section at USA Today. Now I'm behind the scenes, finding story angles and tracking down sources. My first published article both in print and online was tracking down the best soccer cities in the USA. The title: Where is Soccer City, USA?

After some soccer articles and a couple tennis articles, I headed out to the Congressional Country Club to help cover the National PGA Tour Tournament in Bethesda, Maryland. I guess this neighborhood is where the old-money horse aficionados of the DC Metro homesteaded. Rolling out here the first time my colleague Reid Cherner pointed out a house. It once was the home of Mike Tyson. Go figure. Anyways, the press corps was abuzz because Tiger Woods announced his return to the PGA Tour after three months away to rehab from back surgery.

My first article took a bend on the normal Tiger is back narrative. I told it more through the eyes of one of golf's best players, the Englishman Justin Rose. I thought Rose was the man to beat. Man, he made me look good. Vegas, I hear you calling. You can read my article here: Justin Rose ready for Tiger Woods

I made it back out to the Tournament for the final round on Sunday. I wanted to follow Erik Compton, a double heart transplant survivor who two weeks ago finished second in the U.S. Open on Pinehurst No.2. In my article I say Erik Compton is the best story in golf.  And I got to watch Justin Rose come behind, take the lead, put a ball in the water on 18, then win in a playoff. Good stuff in the rolling hills of Bethesda.

Sandwiched amongst the two country club days, I got an assignment to cover the NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson heading to the White House to visit with President Obama. I didn't know I'd ever walk through the doors of 1600 Pennsylvania again after my last Olympic team Presidential visit! Working behind the scenes, its pretty easy to pick up on who the stand-up guys in sports are. I bet you'll pick up on what I think about Jimmie Johnson if you read Obama calls Jimmie Johnson the 'Michael Jordan of NASCAR.'

Between all this excitement I also got to attend the Associated Press Sports Editors convention in Crystal City, Virginia. Here we could take courses from the best in the business of sportswriting, all trying to learn from each other. The highlights were John McCain dropping by for a few words, and the course on what sport sections are innovating and trying to do to better cover the NFL. With the League dominating coverage a few bright minds are out there trying to innovate and better bring stories that people want to hear.

This week I've been working on a little insider's guide to the Tour de France, and writing a little copy on sabermetrics in soccer. When interviewing cyclists, so many said I had to talk to the Dutch rider Marianne Vos. She's an Olympic road champion and a three-discipline world champion in road, cyclocross, and velodrome cycling. Her competitors also hold her in the upmost regard. You can hear from Marianne and more in Four Can't Miss Stages at the Tour de France.

I hope you get to enjoy Independence Day. To the best Fourth yet.