Christian's Sports Beat: Filling the space

Essential reporting in volatile times.

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Charleston Gazette-Mail sportswriter Ryan Pritt interviews former Hurricane High School and now Marshall University softball standout Katie Adams. Courtesy photo

It just isn’t supposed to be like this, and I’m referring to the amount of media coverage for sports fans right now.

About this time of the year, we all should be reading about our favorite baseball team and other local sporting events, such as the state track and field championship, which we all know didn’t happen due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So, with the sports world basically coming to a halt, what is a sports reporter suppose to be doing during this crazy time?

To get a little insight on this matter, I reached out to Ryan Pritt, a sports scribe for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and got his feelings on basically having the plug pulled on him and his colleagues.

“As a sports writer,” he said, “it was pretty scary at first. It’s a lot like other professions, where you look at what you do and it’s getting altered drastically. Like I said, it’s scary. Being a sports reporter is what I do — cover games, interview athletes and tell their stories, and that’s a big part of my job that’s missing right now and I can’t wait to get back to some normalcy.”

Pritt was actually covering a girls’ basketball game at the state tournament back in March when the sports world came to a screeching halt.

Needless to say, every sports fan is probably craving for the normalcy that Pritt referred to. I mean, Pritt is missing out on covering the girls’ state softball tournament, a true love of his being primarily a high school sports reporter, and, well, that was a gut shot to him.

“Yeah, that one hurt quite a bit, because where I cover, the Kanawha County teams were loaded going into the season, and I was really looking forward to covering some of the best softball players in the region. I mean, girls softball in the area and across the state probably have more players moving onto college competition than any other high school sport in West Virginia. It’s just a shame that it didn’t happen, but that is true for every student-athlete that lost their high school senior year of competition.”

The situation of practicing for high school student athletes had to be addressed by the WVSSAC recently, and coaches in every sport are figuring out what guidelines pertain to their sport and how they are going to proceed moving forward with their teams.

Even though there isn’t any competition taking place, Pritt and other sports reporters still have space to fill for the paper’s readers. I posed that question to Pritt about how he was coming up with topics during this crazy time.

“The good thing about my job is getting to know people through the events I cover, and during slow times, like this, you lean on those relationships with the people that you have met and hope they will feed you (me) some story ideas,” Pritt said. “Hey, every reporter is always open to tips and suggestions for stories, and that is what has been happening since the plug was pulled back in March.”

It seems the new normal these days is for professionals like Pritt to work from home whenever possible. For Pritt, he hasn’t been in the office for almost two months, filing all his stories from his Poca home, while hoping the fishing gets a little better out his back door on the Kanawha River.

I know all of the various officials are doing their best to get things back in line again for young student athletes like yours truly right now and I can’t wait. I also can’t wait to start reading about and watching live sports.

I, like everyone else, just have to be patient, but, boy, is it tough.

Christian Deiss of Scott Depot is a student at Hurricane High School.

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