Now that we have the history lessons out of the way, let’s get personal. I have always been attracted to sports of every sort and the daily newspaper was young David’s portal into the never-ending flood of stories and reports in the sporting world. Our copy of the newspaper was usually delivered around 5:30 am and if it was on the driveway before my dad left for work, he would toss it up near the front door. If not, I had to run to the end of the cement to get the precious plastic-paper-wrapped news bundle.
SPORTS was the first section I turned to every day to read about my beloved Royals and Chiefs. Being a Royals’ fan wasn’t easy when I was a child but I religiously kept up with the players and coaches as the season went along. I would check the rest of the league too; our paper had a glorious page that contained nothing but Major League Baseball box scores. At one point in time I knew which player lead each team in batting average across the entire league!
This is where I was introduced to my favorite journalist of all time. Each Sunday I would eagerly scan the front of the sports section until I found the familiar picture of his bald head. Joe Posnanski captured my imagination in a way that none ever had and held my attention from the beginning of his articles all the way to end. I encourage you to follow this link and read some of his work when you have the chance. He is an amazing writer who never disappoints his readers.
It was the human stories in every sport that captured my attention. I thrive on finding a reason to root for a player: new to the majors, overcoming a health problem, recent death in the family, hardships in his younger life, all of these and more give me a desire to connect and cheer for their success. Thanks to the newspaper I found these stories early in my life and those inky pages sparked a lifelong desire to find the next sports story.
Next week we'll look at the other sections of the newspaper and a second important journalist figure who shaped my taste for excellent writing!
- written by David Baral, illustrated by Ryan Klein, 2018