Growing up I was always into sports. Playing them, watching them but, most of all, talking about them.
I remember in my younger days watching “College Gameday” with Lee Corso and always looking forward to waking up at 9 a.m. to hear him and his crew’s predictions on the upcoming college football games.
To me, that’s where the real fun was.
Growing up, for most of my elementary and middle school years, I had dreams and aspirations of being on “SportsCenter” and talking about the day’s highlights.
But like time, change in myself — and my interests — was always inevitable. I was still just a young boy, learning new things about myself each and every day. Being on “SportsCenter,” being an anchor on set, wasn’t for me.
What was for me, though, was still being involved in sports somehow and someway.
It was the summer of my freshman year in high school.
I was at a new school, a new place — something far different than I was accustomed to before. I had joined the football team and spoken to the coach. I had to attend summer practices, which meant morning drives to and from the football field on the campus.
My uncle, Michael, offered to drive me to practice on some mornings, since my parents were at work. On those drives I discovered a new interest: sports talk radio. He listened to “Mike & Mike” on the drive there, and I found it interesting.
Hearing long, thought out criticisms on certain things in the world of sports and listening to interviews with coaches, players and other analysts gave me an insight that I found exciting.
And even better? I didn’t have to be on T.V. with the world seeing my every move — and by extension, my every mistake.
On radio it was just my voice — a place I thought I could master. Who knows, maybe I still can?
But just like the time and interests changed once, they changed again.
I was never an English nut, but I didn’t mind writing. And, after some time, I grew a love for reading websites like Grantland. Reading the occasional Bill Simmons mailbag was a must after some time, and hearing thought provoking breakdowns of basketball from Zach Lowe was fun to me.
Reading long-form writing and watching sports at the same time, was the absolute perfect mixture.
And after much thought, I finally knew what I wanted to do — I wanted to write about sports.
My love for sports, and knowing I wanted to be a sports writer in my high school years shortly before college meant a budding love for journalism too.
I started to read pieces on politics, tech, business, among others and gained a respect for the people who had the jobs of going out there and reporting on these things. I wanted to do it too.
Fast forward to 2015 when I got my first start at the Daily Lobo.
At the time, I knew what I wanted. I was interviewed by the then-news editor, David Lynch, scared out of my mind. He had asked if I knew what an inverted pyramid was — and, of course, I didn’t. I was clueless outside of wanting to fulfill my hopes and aspirations of maybe becoming a sports journalist.
And even though I knew nothing, he hired me.
I didn’t start on the sports desk, but rather on the news desk. Starting off with something even more foreign than sports helped me in the end. Through that process, I learned how to write for a newspaper, I learned how to interview people and I learned how to be timely.
With those tools, I soon moved to the sports desk.
I wasn’t assigned the big sports at first — instead I started with covering the UNM ski team. Doing that humbled me, though. Again, I learned new things that I would later apply to the skill set I have now.
In 2016, I started on the women’s basketball beat. With that, I had more stories to write, more interviews to do and, at the same time, had to be timely. That meant putting in more work. It was hard, but eventually I adapted.
After the women’s basketball season, I had an even bigger task: covering baseball. That meant, in essence, a story every day. That, in itself, I admit was — and still is — a challenge. But it’s one I embrace.
Fast forward to 2018, and I’m still writing for the sports desk at the Lobo.
I still cover women’s basketball and baseball, though I now assist in men’s basketball coverage as well.
I no longer look at my work with as much frustration. And through the process of working on something I love, realized that this is something I want to — and can — do for the rest of my life.
Writing about sports? I love it. And at this point, I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving it.
Working with athletes, coaches, as well as my editors at the newspaper is something that humbles me every day, and at the same time, puts a smile on my face.
I can’t lie, though. I still have a lot to learn about sports writing — and just about being a journalist in general. But it’s something that, in the end, I know I love.
Matthew Narvaiz is a senior sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.