Ben Baby Speaks On Importance Of Storytelling

April 1, 2020

ESPN reporter Ben Baby gave a presentation discussing the importance of narratives in sports writing.

Many of the attendees were student-athletes, who were intrigued by the workshop name.

“I’m excited to learn about sports writing because it seems really interesting,” senior golfer Sydney Love said. 

Baby started his presentation with one of his favorite stories about a man who worked in oil and gas, fought in one boxing match and became a champion. The story behind the boxer is what caught Baby’s attention, which reaffirms Baby’s point that narratives are important in sports.

Baby continued on with stories that humanize players. When watching sports on a screen it’s easy to forget that the players are people too, but their narratives show that relatable, human side of them.

He also recommended that when players play poorly they should talk to the media to explain themselves. It’s easy for the public to get mad at an athlete, but they are slower to get angry when they see how the player is disappointed in how they played too.

Baby also discussed how everyone has many sides to them, and often only one side is portrayed in the media.

“I don’t like being viewed as just a writer, and athletes don’t like being viewed as just athletes; that’s why telling all sides of a story, especially in sports writing, is so important,” Baby said.

Another one of Baby’s points was narratives are what make you feel invested in a sport or an athlete.

“I don’t care about the cheer as a sport, but the storytelling in the documentary Cheer made me care,” said Baby.

“I thought the presentation was really interesting and I liked learning about narratives in sports writing,” senior Ashley Nelson said.

Beyond just learning about sports writing, the main takeaway for most from the presentation was how narratives give meaning to sports.

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