Ever wondered how my sportswriting journey began? Probably not. You probably don’t even know who I am. You will one day, though.
Sports and writing have always been two passions of mine (music also belongs in that conversation, but it’s not relative to this), yet somehow I never really considered sportswriting as a profession. When I started college, I was going for Physical Therapy. I was a smart kid in high school, so I was supposed to be a doctor and make a lot of money. PT sounded nice because it was a lot of money for not a lot of work, and I’d get to work with athletes and such. I became interested in it after going through it twice after knee surgeries. Why did I have to have the surgeries? Let’s rewind a bit.
I played football for nine years from middle school to high school. I played pretty much every position on the field with the one exception being the offensive line. I started as a defensive lineman, not playing much else. Then, I upgraded to wide receiver and linebacker. Next, I was thrown in the backfield some as a running back. By the time varsity football came around, I was a quarterback, corner, and safety. I started at quarterback for the 2013 Brookland Bearcats. In fact, my class was the one to start football at Brookland. The first-ever varsity season was my junior year. The class of 2014 was the first to play from seventh grade all the way through. The whole surgery thing is true, as I tore my meniscus twice in my left knee, but had no real relevance to the story. Just a nice segue.
So, on to college. I got accepted into the pre-PT program at Arkansas State and would be automatically accepted into the PT program upon graduation. Only 15 students were accepted into the pre-program each year. I was well on my way.
Until I wasn’t.
I found out, after getting ahead by about a semester, that I hated all of my science classes and excelled in my writing classes. Odd, huh? Despite being three years into my degree, I decided it was time for a change.
Now, I’m a fifth-year senior studying Multimedia Journalism and graduation is…well, not that close. I will be receiving an Associate’s Degree at the end of this semester (Fall 2018), so at least there’s that. My Bachelor’s Degree is underway, but I’m taking my time to get it. Why, you may ask? Que segue.
I am already working on my career. School is very important, but so is experience. I currently work as a staff writer for both RedWolfReport.com and ArkansasVarsity.com, covering Arkansas State athletics and Arkansas high school sports, mainly in Northeast Arkansas. I didn’t just get jobs out of the blue, though. This process has been a long one, full of hard work.
For my Media Writing class, I was required to make a website to host all of my school work (literally just like this one). I decided to use it to write sports stories. I didn’t really have any readers, but it was fun and an easy way to practice sports stories. One day, though, I decided it was time to grow. My website that was a mess of sports, music, assignments, etc. was too crowded for people to take my sports stories seriously. Out of the ashes, SlingShot Sports NEA was born.
I created another blog that was dedicated to sports writing. The site reached its peak during the 2017 high school football season. I would take a pencil, notebook, camera, and homemade business cards to local high school games (and I paid to get in. Gross). I brought a couple friends to help out. We’d keep our own stats that weren’t always super accurate and then interview a player after the game. I’d give them a business card and head out. Self-promotion was the toughest part, but Twitter and Facebook made it easier to get my stories out there. High school football articles got about 200-300 views each. Anything else got anywhere from 30-100 views.
After football season, my focus shifted to college basketball. A lot of my readers and Twitter followers were Razorback fans, so that’s the audience I catered to. I wrote about the Red Wolves some, the Celtics a lot, and high school very rarely. Arkansas Basketball got me a lot of attention, boosting my Twitter following from around 100 to over 600 in a matter of two or three months. Business was booming.
Then, people started to notice me.
Forgotten5.com found me and wanted to “hire” me to write about Arkansas State for them. It was an unpaid position, but it was a huge step forward in my career. The transition from Hogs to Wolves was not met well from either side, but one of my good friends gave me some great advice through it all.
“If people don’t hate you, you’re not doing a very good job. Welcome to the world of sports journalism.”
My stint with F5 didn’t last long. After just seven months, it was time to move up again. A move into the professional world.
Red Wolf Report offered me a paid position to cover Arkansas State. I couldn’t turn it down. My old working title was “aspiring journalist”. This position eliminated that first word that I had worked so hard to drop.
Most recently, I’ve also began working for Arkansas Varsity. The two sites (it and RWR) are owned by Rivals, and run by the same person. My boss asked me if I wanted to help him with both sites, effectively putting me back into the high school realm, where this all started. And now here we are.
This website is a portfolio for my collective sports work, from academics to the professional world. I thought to myself, what better way to launch my site than telling my story?
I’m not one to talk about my personal life much in my professional life, so enjoy this little glimpse into who Chase Gage really is. Those close to me know my story, but I guess it’s time every one else knew too.
I know it’s not too exciting, and if you’ve made it this far, you probably question why you kept reading. It’s the thought that counts.
Thanks for reading, now let’s take this relationship to the next level. Let’s argue sports. Send me your hottest takes on Twitter, @ChaseGage1.
Categories: Blog Posts