Being a sports writer is almost every sports fan's dream, outside of actually being an athlete oneself. By being a sports writer, a person is given the opportunity to see amazing high profile sports events that would usually cost a fortune to watch - think Olympics, the Super Bowl or the NBA Finals. But instead of paying for courtside tickets, you would actually be the one to receive a nice paycheck at the end of the day. Being a witness to these events as well as a reporter for the rest of the world, makes this such a privileged position. It is through your words that the rest of the world would remember a sports story, so there's a degree of permanence. In a way, there's an immortality that comes with being a sports writer, much like how great athletes are immortalized in the media.
The most important skill you have to possess to be an effective sports writer is a genuine interest in sports. This shouldn't just be a pedestrian liking for competition. For it to come across as something genuine, it has to be an obsession to know and understand sports rules and regulations, as well as know the personalities and the organizations that oversee the games. One also has to be a student of sports history to understand the gravity of certain events. How would you otherwise know that Roger Federer broke a record or that Kobe Bryant has fewer rings than Michael Jordan? A good sports writer should have a strange but healthy obsession with all things involving sports and an interest in knowing the tiny details that would make readers keep reading and buying magazines or newspapers.
The lines between sports and entertainment have also become blurred. A good foundation in pop culture could help you make references and allusions that could ground certain alien jargon and unfamiliar personalities. This has been an emerging trend in sports writing today.
The first step in being a sports writer is simply being a good writer. As a student you should pay attention in your English, Literature and Creative Writing classes to refine and improve your grasp of the language. The more you write and the more you get feedback, the better you'll get. Writing for your school paper or applying for an internship or part-time position at the community paper would also make you more familiar with the working environment.
Take a degree in journalism in college, and just take your writing career to new heights. Aside from being a writer for the college paper, you can also apply for positions in sports websites, magazines and newspapers so you could somehow build a name for yourself. Even if your name doesn't get printed, this exposure to the industry movers may help you later on.
Once you graduate, you can apply for a full time position or start your own publishing company or website. New writers are also becoming tech savvy now. Sports websites like ESPN and SI now feature podcasts and video content, making the role of a sports writer even more diverse and exciting.
Sports is an exciting world. But it becomes more exciting because of the people who are at the front line, reporting events as they happen. Sports writing is a high profile career that many clamor for, but not everyone can reach.