Sports Journalism Institute

Helping women and minorities get into newsrooms since 1993

Sports checks bring together SJI class

I had been warned about Mr. Carter’s notorious sports checks before arriving in Phoenix for my week in the Sports Journalism Institute, but nothing could prepare me for the adversity that the test brought. It was the first day, and Mr. Carter was explaining what a sports check was – a quiz that would test our ability to stay up to date with important news – yet before I knew it, he was telling us to get out a sheet of paper. “Ah crap,” I said to myself. Soon Mr. Carter was belting out questions in his booming voice, and each one humbled me more than the last. “How could you not know that, Jer,” I thought to myself. And soon it was over. Most of my test was either blank or incorrect. I got a whopping 3 out of 15 questions right. However, it was ok because I noticed my classmates had the same embarrassed look on their faces. It felt like we all collectively had our “Welcome to the real-world” moment, and because of that, we bonded. That night at dinner, we all had the next sports check on our minds. But instead of trying to conceive ways to gain an advantage over each other, we shared information, we laughed about our shortcomings, and we realized we were all in this together. After dinner, Mr. Carter gave us another sports check. But this time it was fun, and the class collectively did better. Not good, but better. It was an exciting way to end the first night, but it was a reminder that when we finally finish this week, we’ll finish it together.
— J.L. Kirven