You Can Never Keep Me Away From Sports

The passion is still present when I’m not on the sidelines

Jordan Pagkalinawan
The Press Box

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Photo by Tim Hart on Unsplash

Dear young, aspiring sportswriter,

I’ve just finished writing my third article in two days — two about my NBA mock draft and one about trade rumors. It comes on the second day of my five-day quarantine.

You read that right. I’m writing about sports while sick with you-know-what.

A lot of people would tell me to rest and take it easy, and I truly appreciate their concern and advice. But I’m not one to rest, and if I do, it’s usually not for long periods of time. My mom can’t stand being idle, and that trait clearly passed onto me, her youngest (my dad and brother have found a good balance, and we have not). While cooped up in my room, I’ve found plenty of time to write about and watch basketball. There’s really nothing like sitting down for a meal while taking in the sights and sounds of the playoffs through a screen.

Aside from my love for basketball, I also grew into a baseball fan as well. I was slated to commentate my high school baseball team’s second-round playoff game…before COVID hit me like an out-of-the-park home run. It probably would have been my last high school broadcast as well. A four-year career spanning 18 varsity basketball games and, this year, a mix of baseball and volleyball matches. All ended too soon.

That one was — and still is — a tough pill to swallow.

Still, however, I was able to watch our team play in the postseason (albeit through the livestream), and they won 5–4 thanks to a walk-off single RBI. The announcer who filled in for me was also fantastic, and he was a freshman!

I still couldn’t help but think what I could’ve done if I was out there. How I would’ve called that walk-off, what I would’ve said in my final signoff. But alas, I have to deal with the reality that I’m stuck in my bedroom for the rest of the week. I was *this* close to emailing our club moderator and asking if I could co-commentate via Zoom. If other sports announcers did it for a year, then I could’ve handled it for a day.

That just goes to show that you can’t keep me away from sports, which I obsess over and could (and sometimes do) write about for hours. Of course, I consider myself versatile enough to handle other topics (news, feature, etc.), but there’s something about sports and sportswriting that makes me come back to it every single time.

From my time as a varsity basketball beat writer and announcer to hosting an NBA podcast to writing countless words about basketball, sports has been cemented in me for several years now, and it’s led me to make incredible connections. I met my friend and fellow Medium writer Rex Kaplan when our schools’ varsity basketball teams played each other. When I was writing about high school hoops, I wrote about players who are now excelling at the post-graduate and collegiate levels and met alumni who are either playing professionally overseas or part of major sports agencies (one is now an Executive Assistant at Klutch Sports). It’s been amazing to see where sports journalism has brought me and exciting to find out where it will continue to lead me in the years to come.

So, the biggest lesson you should take away from all of this is, if you’re passionate about something, go after it, and if there are tedious steps you have to take to get there, excel at those and, as the Sixers say, “Trust the Process.” I wasn’t recognized for my efforts as a beat writer and broadcaster because I sat around doing nothing. I recognized the goal I wanted and worked towards it. I excelled in those tedious steps. Writing articles here is also a small step on my path towards a larger journey and a larger goal, but I’m here honing in on that craft every week, balancing it out with academics and extracurriculars. You certainly won’t catch me with a “DNP-Senioritis”.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s 11:45 right now, and just as athletes need their sleep, the people who write about them need some, too.

Be well,

Jordan.

Thanks for reading! Here are two other TPB stories you may enjoy:

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Jordan Pagkalinawan
The Press Box

Top Writer in NBA & Sports. Student journalist & podcaster. Socials manager at PerThirtySix, editor for Last Word on Hoops, & writer for YRMedia. Emerson ’26.