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Saturday, June 23 News

Reporting where everybody knows your name / Aaron Johnson

It isn’t any secret that growing up in Connecticut and becoming a reporter was always a dream of mine. As a kid, I’d watch Yankee games with my brothers before going back and writing up a story - not my best work - about the game for my parents to read.

I mean that was the definition of fun.

I looked up to sports journalists like Mike Lupica, Michael Wilbon, and Stuart Scott hoping to one day get an opportunity to do what they did. Being able to cover sports really is a blessing.

But the best part, outside of the student-athletes that I’m able to come in contact with on a nearly daily basis, is being able to see things from the opposite side of the glass.

As a kid, getting the Connecticut Post sports section was a treat every morning. Trust me, the higher ups aren’t paying me to say this stuff.

And getting a chance to read Chris Elsberry’s column was a treat - again, no compensation for this, not even from Elsberry, I promise.

But as an athlete in Fairfield County, I remember wanting to see my own name in the paper and I saved the clips of the times I actually was.

It’s funny when I interview student-athletes now, because I see that same glow and excitement that I used to have in them.

Even with the star athletes that have done the postgame tango with a reporter or two. There is always a sense of pure joy.

Take Staples’ girls basketball player Arianna Gerig, after the Wreckers season had just come to an abrupt end in the Class LL state tournament.

Gerig, who led the Staples effort with 27 points, was walking out of the school with her mother. Obviously, upset at the turn out of the game.

But after running her down - showing off my own set of wheels - for a postgame interview, a smile that lit up the hallways came right across her face.

Whatever pain that came from the loss seemed to be gone, even if only for that brief exchange with a now-exhausted journalist.

That is what makes this job one of the best, it may not have the glitz and glamour of the Division-I level or the professional ranks.

But there is an innocent and sense of joy that gets lost in the weeds with those other guys, covering high school sports can be a pure form of the sport.

It’s seen on the faces of the student-athletes that take to the courts, fields, and ice.

There is raw emotions. There is raw love of the game. And for a journalist, there is no better interaction.

ajohnson@hearstmedia

ct.com; Twitter: @aronJohnson_

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