By Fuad Shalhout
Growing up, I knew there were two things I wanted to do in my life: play sports or write about it. Once I got to high school, I realized the former wasnâ€™t going to happen. I wasnâ€™t big, fast or athletic enough to play. I had the same dream as plenty of other kids have. But my dream of being the next Michael Jordan or Brett Favre was squashed. So, I averted my attention to writing about sports.
Sports has a huge economic and cultural impact in the world. Millions of people are in love with it and many kids look up to athletes as their idols.
I want to be the person that relays information these millions of people are dying to know. I want to be the person these people look to everyday knowing they will get the most objective, honest, straight-to-the-point story about their favorite teams.
Being a journalist is a beautiful thing. I can make people laugh with the words that I write and change the way they think about certain subjects.
Many people say Iâ€™m crazy for trying to become a journalist in todayâ€™s economy. But I donâ€™t think this way. I believe, in my heart, I will become one. I fell in love with it once I went to high school and there is no reason for me to believe I wonâ€™t achieve my goal.
I remember in my senior year in high school, my English teacher told me that they were going to create a school newspaper. Previously, my school didnâ€™t have one and upon hearing the news, I was thrilled. It would be a part of our class assignmentsâ€¦so I decided to write for the sports section. I wrote about all things, whether it was the school basketball team, which I was a part of, or the NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL. I was a laid-back, quiet guy during that time. But when it came to sports, I would go on and on talking about it. And now, I was able to write about it during school? I felt like I was in heaven.
This only confirmed what I already knew; that my love for writing is matched by no one. My English teacher continued to encourage me to become a journalist because she saw the talent I had in me. It was good to know that I had peopleâ€˜s support, although I knew there were still doubters around me.
I want to know the ins and outs of a story. I want to make phone calls, talk to sources and conduct interviews to inform my audience with the most accurate information possible.
A huge motivating factor in me becoming a journalist is that I want to be one of the rare Muslims who become a sports journalist. There arenâ€™t that many out there. I want to try to change this trend and blaze a trail of my own. Having the opportunity to show other Muslims around the world who have the same dreams as me that they can do this would be a huge honor for me.
Itâ€™s already enough of a battle being a Muslim living in todayâ€™s world with so many stereotypes floating around. The battle of getting hired by an organization or publication to write and talk about sports is a battle in itself as well. Think about it: how many Muslims do you see working for the Detroit Free Press, The Los Angeles Times or for ESPN? How many Muslim announcers do you see calling play-by-play during games? How many Muslims do you see interview athletes? The lack of Muslims in the sports business is obvious. Why is it this way? To be honestâ€¦I really donâ€™t have an answer for that. But I do know itâ€™s time to break this trend and Iâ€™m determined to be the one to do it.
I am now the sports editor for my schoolâ€™s paper at Wayne State University and I hold this position with great pride. I try to give the most accurate information about WSUâ€™s sports teams to over 30,000 students and staff. Having the opportunity to talk to so many great players and coaches, and building a terrific relationship with them has been an experience I deeply cherish. I try to let my writers know that I am always available to them for any help they need and I make it clear that I want them to put out the best stories possible.
Journalism is changing due to the increased role of social networking, but one thing that will never change is the way it can connect people to todayâ€™s news.
The passion I have for journalism is so great, that I would write for free. Itâ€™s a job that I would simply love to do. I donâ€™t want to wake up every morning of my life dreading to go to work.
Being a journalist gives you an opportunity to talk to people everyone else wonâ€™t get to talk to.
The journalism industry is highly competitive, but thatâ€™s exactly the way I like it because Iâ€™m a highly competitive person. I embrace all challenges thrown at me and I never back down. In this business, you canâ€™t back down.
When people open the newspaper, or click online to read my writing, I want them to feel like theyâ€™re getting the best possible information out there. I want them to be informed and to want to continue coming back for more.
In journalism, there will always be something new to write about. Becoming a journalist is my ultimate goal and no matter what obstacles are in my way, I will walk right through them because I have faith in Allah and I know I have my familyâ€™s support.
Why would I want to be anything else? To have the opportunity to inform an audience and to experience new adventures everyday seems like a no-brainer career to me.
We are in a strong need of Muslim sports journalists and with the confidence I have in my abilities, I ask, why canâ€™t I become one?