The Real Poop
You eat, sleep, and breathe sports. Your friends marvel at your vast knowledge of obscure statistical trivia. There isn't a square inch of your bedroom wall space that isn't covered by some autographed jersey or framed rookie baseball card. You can even appreciate soccer—sort of. Nobody appreciates all those fake injuries.
Unfortunately, this sports knowledge never translated into raw sporting ability in your case. Maybe fastest forty-yard dash time just says "pass, I guess" on the coach's scoring card, and your vertical is barely higher than a fire hydrant. What if you're just lucky that you don't just topple over every time you try to walk?
How do you get a sports job with all that knowledge and complete lack of ability? That depends—can you say interesting things when you open your mouth?
Welcome to sportscasting, where you get the totally necessary job of describing to people exactly what's happening—or what just happened—right in front of their eyes. You'll get to talk about sports all day every day, meet an incredible amount of famous celebrities, and average $80,000 a year while doing it (source).
It takes a passion like yours to pursue a career in sportscasting. However, a love of sports is only one aspect of what it takes to be successful in this business. You're also a performer and television personality—you've got to be camera-friendly, you can't have any semblance of shyness or timidity, and you must be able to speak with a self-assured and natural ease.
When it comes to interviewing, you need to cultivate a deft touch with your guests. You need to find the balance between asking the hard-hitting questions that fans want to hear and also keeping the interview fun and entertaining. If your interviewees end the conversation halfway through and try to dropkick you on the way out, you're not doing it right...although that would probably be some awesome television.
In this line of work you'll often find yourself with little time to prepare for a segment, so you'll have to be quick on your feet—the amateurs and pros are separated by the ability to improvise while still sounding intelligent and informed about a breaking story.
There's a lot of prep work you'll have to do before your face lights up everyone's television. You'll have to research like the dickens and know bunches of otherwise useless facts—facts that'll probably change after tonight's game. Make-up and hairstyling will want to see you in the chair before you go on. You'll often be on the move, conducting interviews and traveling cross-country to report on sporting events.
And remember: most athletes are tall, so they have longer strides than normal. You'll have to move fast to keep up.
If you've watched a sport on NBC in the last few decades, you've probably seen Bob Costas. He's been a sportscaster for the Peacock since the '80s. If you're an aspiring sportscaster, we're guessing you already knew that.
He got his start doing a lot of play-by-play announcing and continued with in-studio coverage of big events, like the Olympics and the NFL games. He never played sports professionally (not really surprising, considering he's always looked like someone's dad), but instead got a degree in communications.
He now broadcasts every major sporting event and makes millions of dollars a year to do it. You may not make that much...but hey, it's possible.
As you can see, our friend Mr. Costas knew both sports and his field of communications. Without a solid background like that, you might start referring to the field as the pitch and touchdowns as scoring divesies.
Regardless, it'll take a lot of luck and catching the right breaks to become a professional sportscaster. But so does winning a big game, and that's never stopped any athlete before. So why should it stop you?