Proving ground

In my first week back in Columbia, I’ve essentially split my time at two places. The Missourian offices (now, affectionately, “the office”) and the Mizzou Rec Center. When I wasn’t in the office, I spent all week playing pick-up basketball at the rec and I’d like to draw out an analogy between basketball and what I’d like to accomplish at the Missourian.

There’s always a core group of guys (and gals t00) that play pick-up at the rec, and you end up playing with a lot of the same kids throughout the course of the semester. So it’s crucial in these first two or three weeks of basketball to make a good impression on the folks you’ll be playing with all year (keep in mind, these are the guys who don’t have a problem giving you the silent treatment after they see you miss five open layups in an afternoon).

To get the playing time you and Iverson deserve, you've gotta make the few minutes you get count.

So to get the playing time you and Iverson deserve, you’ve gotta make what few minutes you do get in the first weeks really count and you have to stand out—or in pick-up basketball’s case, not stand out as the guy with two left feet.

That’s the same kind of approach I’ve taken to my time at the Missourian.

Last week I made it a point to be a stand out reporter, not afraid to take on a story or speak up about an idea. I wanted my name to be thrown around the newsroom by my editors and my colleagues, and I wanted to see my byline in print and online.

It takes a certain kind attitude to face the sink-or-swim reporting class like this, but it’s the same attitude you need on the basketball court.

The beginning of the semester is when everyone has the most opportunities, before people have set teams or go-to players—or editors have go-to writers—so now is the time to take that open jumper or pick up that big, scary story. The first two weeks are the best time to take chances and give yourself a reputation as a real player, on and off the court.

I got the most validating e-mail Saturday afternoon from Google, who wanted to congratulate me on my effort last week with a simple Google Alert: my name has shown up in four new Google search results this week—my four Missourian bylines.

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