• Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

Journalism and tennis truly have some items in typical


May 26, 2023

Editor’s note: “Behind the Byline” introduces you to these who create stories, snap photographs, design and style pages and edit the content material we provide in our print editions and on pressdemocrat.com. We’re extra than journalists. As you will see, we’re also your neighbors with one of a kind backgrounds and experiences who proudly get in touch with Sonoma County house. Currently, we introduce you to sports writer Kienan O’Doherty.

Expanding up in Mill Valley, I was one particular of these little ones that played every single sport below the sun.

Baseball, basketball, soccer. You name it, I played it. Except for football, that is. I was second on the wait list soon after sign-ups and under no circumstances got to don the pads, which to this day I’m quite thankful for.

Like most little ones, I dreamed of getting a specialist athlete. My childhood pals and I would commit hours at Boyle Park, fantasizing of how we would be the subsequent middle infield tandem for the San Francisco Giants. We would practice turning double plays more than and more than once again, just like Wealthy Aurilia, Jeff Kent and Ray Durham would at what is now Oracle Park.

Soon after all, a kid can dream, appropriate?

As years progressed, I gradually realized that I had however one more dream, a need that brings me right here currently.

You see, I’m 75% Irish. That suggests I’m blessed, and often cursed, with the infamous “gift of gab.” I really like a fantastic conversation, however often speak also a lot. It is one particular of the greatest gifts in the globe, if you know how to use it.

That getting mentioned, my dream then turned to getting a play-by-play commentator. I was enamored by it listening Duane Kuiper, Mike Krukow, Jon Miller and Dave Flannery on the every day, reading books by Jim Nantz and Al Michaels (which I nevertheless have, by the way). I would understand any way I could.

I began the broadcasting club in higher college at Stuart Hall, calling all the school’s basketball games by myself. That continued in college, as I named each men’s and women’s soccer, and even some NCAA tournament games. I would nevertheless like to do that once again someday in some capacity.

Even though I did do sports broadcasting, there wasn’t a key for that profession the closest issue we had was journalism. So, I took a likelihood and majored in it regardless of under no circumstances possessing written for a newspaper.

Turns out, it was the very best way to use that present of gab. I usually consider to myself, if you cannot speak about it, create about it.

It was rough beginning out. These collegiate days have been filled with late nights, continual black ink on our newspapers, and low grades (thanks, Paul Kostyu). I attempted and attempted to locate a thing that could relate, but I just couldn’t. Till I did — via tennis.

The sport I began the most recent was the one particular I would play the longest. I started playing tennis at age 12 and played all the way via college. Currently, I attempt to get out as a lot as I can, but my Wilson Blades are a tiny rusty.

So, how the heck do tennis and journalism correlate? In a lot extra strategies than you would consider.

See, writing a sports story is sort of like a tennis point the serve is the lede, and dictates the way the story is going to go, just like the serve dictates the point in tennis.

The serve is also one particular of the most effective shots in a tennis player’s arsenal, as is the lede of a story. You want a thing that sets the tone early and keeps the opponent guessing.

Your footwork and movement is the way in which you create the story, taking the reader via the game as eloquently as attainable.

As you make the point up via your groundstrokes — forehand and backhand — the excitement mounts, sort of like maintaining the reader on the edge of their seat, wanting to see how that stroll-off came about.

With your opponent now deep in the corner, you come to the net for an effortless place away shot. This, like for the story, is the final dagger — the culmination of the adrenaline-filled journey the reader just seasoned.

It is been this believed course of action that has kept me going, from my very first gig at a hyperlocal paper in southeast Ohio (close to our Executive Editor Richard A. Green’s hometown), till now.

Although I’m nevertheless young in my profession, I’ve had the privilege of covering quite a few cool athletic events, from Ohio State football to the Columbus Blue Jackets, to higher college state championships. Athletics is in my blood and it is under no circumstances going to leave.

That, plus that infamous “gift,” is a quite fantastic combo.

Athletics can relate to just about something, you just will need to locate the what and the how. I’m fortunate to have identified mine.

You can attain Employees Writer Kienan O’Doherty at 415-887-8650 or kienan.odoherty@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @kodoherty22.