The Hamels’ Watch

The Sportswriter’s Game

It all began at NYIT back in 1988 when I was a freshman ready to learn and become the next Red Smith. NYIT taught me the importance of hard work, the ability to communicate clearly, concisely and not to give up on my dream of being a sportswriter.

When I was a young teenager, my late Grandmother put together a scrapbook of sports articles and told me that “you can do this.” I read the articles with great interest and the idea came into my mind of writing a better story – my own story. Today I have my own scrapbook of 500-plus authored articles, my own book Game Notes: A Collection of Sports Stories, contributed to the book Baseball Stories for the Soul (which is enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame) and my own baseball radio show.

Without the backing of NYIT and the Communication Arts department, my path to a sportswriting career would have been more difficult to achieve and less gratifying. The NYIT faculty of Bernie Bard, John Hanc and Dr. Edward Guiliano were influential in shaping my career and path of becoming a writer. I also looked to the professionals in the industry like Ira Berkow from The New York Times, John Harper from the New York Daily News and Pat Calabria from Newsday. If anything, they all made me a better writer and offered words of encouragement.

To achieve all this takes hard work and dedication. I labor over a laptop hammering out stories like a thoroughbred waiting to leave the gates at Belmont Park. My hands dance over the keyboard like a pitcher throwing a consistent fastball throughout a baseball game. I continue to write, rewrite and write again until my story is perfect.

Why?

Because if you´re a writer this is what the whole writing game is about. You must write, read and not give up. As a writer, you must stay in the game and perfect your craft. Like a batter perfecting their swing during batting practice, you must do the same and not let anyone stand in your way. Seek out the advice of the NYIT faculty, your favorite writer or even a grandparent, and let them read and critique your work. From their suggestions, apply it to your next story and continue to achieve your dream. At a young age, I had the same dream and was able to fulfill it with the help of many at NYIT and my family.

Never give up on your dream and as Ira Berkow said to me as a young struggling writer, “Keep trying. Try not to get discouraged. Like most other things, the harder one works at writing, the better one gets. As Red Smith once told me to keep the faith, I pass that on to you.”

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