Lovejoy Scholarship Winner: Student aspires to follow Becker’s example
by Tim Devaney
It was really steamy in the locker room when Bob Becker waddled through the shower and sat down next to Joe Namath.
By the way, Bob was naked.
But that was the only way he could get the story.
Namath, a Hall of Fame quarterback, was devastated after a big loss, so he sat weeping in the shower for hours after the game. Bob waited until everyone else left, stripped and went in.
He could have been fired, maybe even jailed.
“What the (heck) are you doing here?” Namath barked at Bob when he saw him pop a squat on the floor.
Bob explained, and fortunately, they both laughed it off. Then they chatted for a while, and Bob got the story.
Not many reporters would have the guts to do that today. But then again, not many reports have the courage Bob had during his nearly 30 years as sports editor at The Grand Rapids Press.
I’ve learned a thing or two from Bob about courage. I don’t plan to strip naked and take a shower with Joe Namath next time I cover a football game, but I do plan to pave my own path with Bob’s footprints.
Footprints that taught me to do whatever it takes to get the story. Footprints that taught me to be bold. Footprints that taught me to trust myself more than the consensus opinion. And footprints that taught me the best move isn’t always the popular move.
I’ve been following Bob’s footprints to the “X” that marks the spot for two years, picking up pieces of treasured wisdom along the way.
And you won’t find anyone as passionate about sports writing as me. God touched my heart with a joy for writing I can’t explain, and I only hope you can taste my enthusiasm.
I live for this.
I live to break news. I live to paint features. I live to inject passion into my columns. And I live to be the best.
God’s given me the energy to sprint this marathon and I plan to win.
This determination is wedged inside my soul and it’s driving my efforts each day. It pushes me to go the extra mile, dare deadlines, discover ground-breaking stories and write emotional columns and jaw-dropping features.
I’m just now unwrapping God’s gift, and I haven’t fully discovered what’s inside yet. But I have a hunch it involves newspapers, and I’m excited to see how it plays out.
I’d love to write for USA Today or ESPN.com within the next 10 years and become a leading voice for sports writers in America. And it would also be exciting to write for a newspaper with regional significance to me, such as the Detroit Free Press or Boston Globe.
Journalism is still important in this nation. I believe people still want good reading, and as long as we keep it fresh, they’ll continue to read.
The newspaper is the friend people wake up with at the breakfast table. We’re the friend who delivers the bad news and comforts them while they cry. And we’re the friend who offers hope and sprinkles a little fun into each day.
We can make people laugh. What’s better than that? I love it when people start laughing so hard they can’t stop. In difficult economic times like these people need to let loose sometimes. And that’s what I provided in my “Need a side-bump?” story.
We can also share joy. That’s what I attempted in my “Katey Kingsbury Returns” column. The car accident tore apart the campus and the community felt it all – grief, shock, fear. And upon her return, I hoped to add joy to that list of emotions and spark campus-wide celebration.
I’m only one person, one journalist, one sports writer. But I’ll do everything in my power to be the best I can be for Christ’s Kingdom. And I believe He’s blessed me with the talents to do just that.
Tim Devaney is sports editor of The Herald and the winner of the inaugural $1,000 Elijah P. Lovejoy Journalism Scholarship & Commentary Writing Contest. The award is named after a pastor and newspaper editor who opposed slavery in the mid-1800s in the United States and was eventually shot and killed for his abolitionist