Sports Journalism Institute

Helping women and minorities get into newsrooms since 1993

Sports check? More like reality check

Ron Thomas is an esteemed journalist and the director of Morehouse College’s Journalism and Sports Program. He was the Morehouse College Professor of the Year in 2017 and also the winner of an NABJ legacy award. And we have him to thank for our beloved sports checks. When SJI began in 1993, Leon Carter spoke to people who ran journalism workshops to see what worked. Thomas told Carter that he gave a daily quiz because “it kept young journalists on their toes.” Thus, the daily sports check was born. “It keeps students on their toes and makes them think in a different way and be quicker on their feet,” Carter said. “Students dreaded it—and the more they did, the more I loved it.” When Carter told us to take out a sheet of paper that first day of class, I hadn’t felt that panicked since my ninth grade math class, when my teacher asked us calculus questions on the first day. Some answers I didn’t know, and I choked on a few I did know. The “1” I got on the first sports check at ASU made me want to hop on a flight back home. I’ve had that feeling since my last week of college, when I realized everything was about to change. No more familiar routine, no more being a college student on summer vacation. And the change began with the 15 questions on that sports check. It made me realize that as my life changes, I need to adapt–time to embrace what comes next and put forth the effort needed to succeed in the workforce. And let’s be honest, can working be that much scarier than hearing a booming voice saying, “QUESTION 1?”
–Liz Finny