Associate Sports Writer
Ever since my freshman year, I’ve been covering Millersville football for The Snapper, our campus newspaper.
I came to Millersville with the notion of becoming the football writer. I remember my first meeting with Ryan, the sports editor during my freshman year. My first year at Millersville, the football team would win only once a year and was a team that no one really wanted to cover. My high school did not have a winning team either. Therefore, I was used to writing about losing football. Looking back, I saw my opportunity to be known for something at Millersville.
I was coming off two years of covering my high school, Avon Grove, for EasternPAFootball.com. That internship taught me the basics of sports reporting in the 21st century–source attribution, communicating with my editor and uploading articles on content portals.
However, my four years of reporting has not only given me more resources to work with, but also taught me the basics of interviewing and source attribution.
I also learned how to maintain professional relationships from interviewing Coach Greg Breitbach. I just want say thank you to Coach Breitbach for the time you’ve given me and the opportunity to cover you and the football team.
Coach Breitbach has the university community in his heart. He shows dedication for the Marauder football program from his tone to his words. To me, he is the coach that will revive Marauder football. I’ve reported about many close games and truly feel that at some point, a close game against the West Chesters and Californias of the PSAC will go his way. He is the essence of “trusting the process.” I truly enjoyed interviewing him over the years. I wish him well and hope he continues to build his legacy here at Millersville.
People have always asked me, “Brenden, do you get nervous when you interview people,” and normally, I would say, “not really, just anticipation.” However, there was one game in particular when I had a different answer.
The first game I ever covered for The Snapper was a 46-44 loss to Livingstone at home on a Thursday night. Millersville was up 44-26 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Livingstone would score three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Given the circumstances of that football game, I was nervous. Here I am as a freshman looking to make a mark on the campus, who is about to approach a head coach, who I’m sure did not want to talk to a student reporter after his team blew a large lead.
Writing about Millersville football also taught me how to use resources from the athletic communication department. Back in high school, I would ask my journalism teacher, who was the public-address announcer and the scorekeeper about yardage, and players who scored. Colleges are truly more equipped to handle sports reporters. At the time, these resources were things I thought I would never get my hands on or have access to.
The most essential asset that I used over my four years at Millersville, were two graduate assistants who worked in the athletic communication department. They printed out the stat sheets that I would use when explaining stats. Crucially, they escorted me to the locker room and the sideline after the games to interview players and Coach Breitbach.
As I grew at Millersville, so did the football program. As I rose up the ranks, so did Millersville’s win total. Millersville went from one win to two wins after my sophomore year. They ended that season on a two-game win streak. The momentum continued into the 2016 season, my junior year, when they won their season opener at home.
Covering football at Millersville made me feel exclusive, famous, and prominent on campus. Covering football is my most significant contribution to The Snapper in the sports section. It allowed me to build friendships. This semester, I had class with Kevin Wiggins, the record-setting wide receiver. I knew him from interviewing him a few times a season. However, having classes with him helped me get insight and build a friendship with him.
My social network on campus grew to include not only football players, but all athletes. The beat reporting experience has also allowed me to take on another sport that I would cover on a consistent basis. Last semester, I started covering women’s lacrosse games. I began covering them due to knowing some of the girls on the team, and from my confidence that I gained from covering football.
The one thing that I’ve really felt during my four years has been gratitude from both Coach Breitbach and the players. Typically, people only want to follow teams that win. However, I saw something in the football team that many others don’t see. I saw a team that was taking its first steps to becoming a competitive team. Coach Breitbach stated that there were building blocks this season. Like the new dormitories, building blocks have been laid for a foundation of a renaissance for the football program.
Truly, covering Millersville football was a win-win for both myself and The Snapper sports editor. I gave the sports section at the snapper consistency. By my junior year, everyone knew that I would be covering football. It was automatic. Everyone amongst The Snapper staff knew I was the one who wrote about football. The consistency that I gave by writing about football allowed me to move up.
When my sports editor at The Snapper announced his candidacy for editor-in-chief, he nominated me to become associate sports editor. He has since been elected as editor-in-chief, and I will take over as the next sports editor, opening the door for more invaluable sports coverages.