SAP journalism program serves up great experiences

March 1, 2011 — by Lauren Kuan

The highlights of being a professional sportswriter are mind-blowing: terrific seats at the greatest sporting events, access to athletes and an opportunity to be paid just by talking about sports. Of course, there is far more to the profession, but I got a taste of just how rewarding the job can be when I participated in the SAP Open tennis tournament at San Jose’s HP Pavilion on Feb. 9, as part of the High School Writers Day.

The day started with a tour of the pavilion where we were able to see the announcing booth and press suites. We were then seated in the tennis press box, located about 10 yards from the action on the court. The match featured Croatian Ivo Karlovic and American Ryan Sweeting.

As the match progressed, I hastily jotted down notes on my notebook, which gave me insight on how hectic a journalist’s work can really be. My head shifted left and right continuously until one of the players strategically hit a winner. I was secretly rooting for Karlovic because he was the underdog, due to his recent Achilles heel injury.

Every time Karlovic hit an ace, I would quietly cheer while still keeping my composure as a professional journalist. The match was close as each player won his service game, but Karlovic was finally able to shut Sweeting down with his strong first serves that reached up to 135 miles per hour. Gaining a total of 19 aces throughout the match, Karlovic came out victorious, winning 6-4, 6-4.

As we 20 aspiring journalists continued our day, we participated in a press conference with the match winner Ivo Karlovic. I asked Ivo what his usual morning regime is before a crucial match, and he answered back jokingly that “eating Frosted Flakes cereal” was the key to success.

When I stood up to congratulate Karlovic on his win and thank him for his time to answer my questions, I took a step back as he towered me with his 6 foot 10 stature, making him the tallest man in professional tennis. After joking around with Karlovic about tennis, I realized the true importance of connecting and forming relationships with such athletes.

Afterwards, we had a panel discussion with SAP Open directors and professional sports journalists and photographers. I learned about the challenges and rewards of each role in the sports world and gained an appreciation for the work they do in the background.

The SAP Open High School Writers Day was a great experience for both my tennis and journalism personalities as I got to sit down with San Jose Mercury News writer John Ryan and discuss sports media along with being able to interview pro tennis player Ivo Karlovic. I have learned that there is a lot more behind sports journalism than I once took for granted when I was the one being interviewed. The SAP Open High School Writers Day was a truly unforgettable and enjoyable experience that I am so thankful to have been able to have participated in. What a match for me!

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