By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
After spending some time last Monday morning at the Write on Sports camp at Goshen College the future of journalism appears to be in good hands.
A total of 10 middle school students from the Goshen area were exposed to the blending of a love of sports and a love of journalism.
It was very impressive to someone with 20-plus years in the business to see youngsters of that age expressing an interest in the business.
It was equally impressive to see the number pretty evenly divided between boys and girls.
Write on Sports originated in New Jersey in 2005 under the guidance of Byron Yake, a former national sports editor with the Associated Press and a 1961 GC graduate.
Goshen College Professor of Communications Duane Stoltzfus invited me to the camp for the purpose of conducting a mock interview with former Goshen High School and current Bethel College standout softball pitcher Natalie Newell.
As any good sports writer would do during the slower summer months I decided to turn the opportunity into a story and show the youngsters how an interview turns into the printed words that appear in the paper.
Newell’s story ran on Friday.
One of the questions Stoltzfus put to the two of us before we went in to meet with the kids was how many times Natalie and I had talked before. Neither one of us could come up with an exact number other than to say it was numerous times.
One thing I shared with the kids is that Natalie has been one of the easiest and one of the nicest athletes it has been my privilege to cover.
Natalie has set numerous records at GHS and is in the process of setting more at Bethel yet she remains the same humble youngster I remember in her early days at GHS.
Once the interview with Newell concluded the two of us were sent to separate parts of the room and the youngsters had the opportunity to come and ask us questions.
And as far as the questions they came up with some really made you think.
One future journalist inquired if I could interview any athlete who would it be?
The first thing I told her was that is a tough question.
After sifting through a number of possibilities my final choice was Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary.
I have always admired Singletary both for the way he played the game of football for the Chicago Bears and for never being afraid to showcase his Christian faith.
Singletary was the very first speaker at the Community Leaders Prayer Breakfast in Elkhart that it has been my privilege to cover many times over the years. Hearing his testimony and writing a story about it was great, but the chance to sit down with “Samurai Mike” for an interview would be a dream come true.
Another future sports reporter wanted to know the most interesting place I had ever covered an event.
Obviously as a Bears Notre Dame fan those locations popped into my head while pondering an answer before settling on the basketball area at New Castle High School.
The gym at New Castle seats 9.314 and is one of the few you enter at the top and walk down to the floor. The only other high school I can remember being like that is at NorthWood.
My answer to the question also included the information that sports history is one of my interests and being in the New Castle gym related to that as Kent Benson and Steve Alford, who both went on to star at Indiana University, had played there.
It was a unique experience for me being on the other side of the questions. Normally I’m the one asking the questions rather than the one trying to answer them.
The camp also included a field trip to Notre Dame where the youngsters got the chance to tour the digital media suite, the press box along with interviewing two Irish football players, a women’s basketball player and long-time basketball announcer Jack Nolan.
Another field trip was to Coveleski Stadium in South Bend for a Silver Hawks game.
Stoltzfus is already planning on the camp again for next summer.
Based on my experience the first one was fantastic and next year’s should be even better.