Friday, February 5, 2010

Real Sports real to me

It’s rare that news people become the news. But when it happens it’s a powerful thing.

In a recent edition of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel this is exactly what happened.

Last year (2009), the temporary shelter at the Dallas Cowboys’ training facility in Valley Ranch collapsed paralyzing one member of the staff and injuring about a dozen more. This news hit home for me.

I interned at NBC-5 in Dallas back in 2006 and to covered the Dallas Cowboys a few times at the old stadium and at their Valley Ranch training facility where the incident occurred.

The WFAA photographer who captured the crash at the facility last year, Arnold Payne, I had meet several times. He was always helpful and even though I was an intern he took the time to help me out and push me in the right directions—even though we were at competing stations.

When I saw the breaking news back in May 2009, all of a sudden, the news became real for me. Hearing Arnold talk about what he was shooting was as if he was talking directly to me.

“I looked up and low and behold, the lights were swinging,” Payne told Real Sports. “The lights that are there to illuminate the practice facility were just swinging back and forth like on a swing.”

I thought to myself at the time that I was standing in the same spot while covering the Cowboys. It was scary.

“It was like a scene out Raiders of the Lost Ark man,” Payne said on the show. “I was running and I dare look behind me because that big ball was coming and stuff was falling.”

Seeing Arnold again on Real Sports was sobering. He seemed just as passionate as he did back in May 2009. Frank Deford from Sports Illustrated reported the piece that revisited the incident. This was a great example of follow-up and Deford is a great writer and interviewer and added a lot to the piece.

This is the type of journalism I hope to one day be a part of. Telling great stories no matter if they are in sports or news. And this piece—and the show in general—proves that good stories can be told just about anywhere.

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