Journalism and tennis really have some items in prevalent

Editor’s note: “Behind the Byline” introduces you to these who create stories, snap photographs, design and style pages and edit the content material we provide in our print editions and on We’re a lot more than journalists. As you will see, we’re also your neighbors with one of a kind backgrounds and experiences who proudly get in touch with Sonoma County residence. These days, we introduce you to sports writer Kienan O’Doherty.

Expanding up in Mill Valley, I was one particular of these youngsters that played every single sport below the sun.

Baseball, basketball, soccer. You name it, I played it. Except for football, that is. I was second on the wait list immediately after sign-ups and by no means got to don the pads, which to this day I’m quite thankful for.

Like most youngsters, I dreamed of getting a expert athlete. My childhood buddies and I would commit hours at Boyle Park, fantasizing of how we would be the subsequent middle infield tandem for the San Francisco Giants. We would practice turning double plays more than and more than once again, just like Wealthy Aurilia, Jeff Kent and Ray Durham would at what is now Oracle Park.

Immediately after all, a kid can dream, suitable?

As years progressed, I gradually realized that I had but yet another dream, a want that brings me right here nowadays.

You see, I’m 75% Irish. That implies I’m blessed, and occasionally cursed, with the infamous “gift of gab.” I appreciate a very good conversation, but occasionally speak as well a lot. It is one particular of the greatest gifts in the planet, if you know how to use it.

That getting stated, my dream then turned to getting a play-by-play commentator. I was enamored by it listening Duane Kuiper, Mike Krukow, Jon Miller and Dave Flannery on the each day, reading books by Jim Nantz and Al Michaels (which I nevertheless have, by the way). I would discover any way I could.

I began the broadcasting club in higher college at Stuart Hall, calling all the school’s basketball games by myself. That continued in college, as I named each men’s and women’s soccer, and even some NCAA tournament games. I would nevertheless like to do that once again someday in some capacity.

Though I did do sports broadcasting, there wasn’t a important for that profession the closest issue we had was journalism. So, I took a opportunity and majored in it regardless of by no means possessing written for a newspaper.

Turns out, it was the very best way to use that present of gab. I normally believe to myself, if you can not speak about it, create about it.

It was rough beginning out. These collegiate days have been filled with late nights, continuous black ink on our newspapers, and low grades (thanks, Paul Kostyu). I attempted and attempted to obtain a thing that could relate, but I just couldn’t. Till I did — by way of tennis.

The sport I began the newest was the one particular I would play the longest. I started playing tennis at age 12 and played all the way by way of college. These days, I attempt to get out as a lot as I can, but my Wilson Blades are a tiny rusty.

So, how the heck do tennis and journalism correlate? In a lot a lot more strategies than you would believe.

See, writing a sports story is sort of like a tennis point the serve is the lede, and dictates the way the story is going to go, just like the serve dictates the point in tennis.

The serve is also one particular of the most strong shots in a tennis player’s arsenal, as is the lede of a story. You want a thing that sets the tone early and keeps the opponent guessing.

Your footwork and movement is the way in which you create the story, taking the reader by way of the game as eloquently as attainable.

As you develop the point up by way of your groundstrokes — forehand and backhand — the excitement mounts, sort of like maintaining the reader on the edge of their seat, wanting to see how that stroll-off came about.

With your opponent now deep in the corner, you come to the net for an uncomplicated place away shot. This, like for the story, is the final dagger — the culmination of the adrenaline-filled journey the reader just seasoned.

It is been this believed approach that has kept me going, from my 1st gig at a hyperlocal paper in southeast Ohio (close to our Executive Editor Richard A. Green’s hometown), till now.

Although I’m nevertheless young in my profession, I’ve had the privilege of covering several cool athletic events, from Ohio State football to the Columbus Blue Jackets, to higher college state championships. Athletics is in my blood and it is by no means going to leave.

That, plus that infamous “gift,” is a quite very good combo.

Athletics can relate to just about something, you just will need to obtain the what and the how. I’m fortunate to have discovered mine.

You can attain Employees Writer Kienan O’Doherty at 415-887-8650 or On Twitter @kodoherty22.

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