Luke Treat

Following the center stripes

In reflections on July 3, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Finding that twinkle in the deepest of pupils can be the most daunting adventure of your life. It is also one of the most liberating, and most important of your life. Now, I’ve always been a passionate person. My mountain of downfalls include my acute bluntness, obscure humor, impatience, a cynical/nausea view of most society, among a steep of other things. Where am I going with this? Preferably the concluding paragraph, here’s my point: in the proverbial efforts in honing in on that scared question of purpose, I have found direction. Direction where I can use my flaws as my strengths and channel them into my passion.

More after the jump…

I had my doubts , (just as anyone might) about traveling thousands of miles away and immersing myself in a month-long intensive sports journalism program. Not only would the tuition be steep, I’d be moving to Boston, knowing no one and taking a big chance on program none of my professor from Missouri State had no prior knowledge. But I followed my gut and packed my bags for Boston. (Cue “Boston” by Augustana)

But don’t think I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. (albeit, I am only 21 years old… who knows what they want to do at such an age?) I definitely had the dream of being a sports journalist. It’s a dream. It’s a goal to justify my parent’s wounded checkbooks for my college tuition. I have a passion for writing, for entertaining, but before those, I have a passion for sports.

I had been in contact with the director for the Sports Institute (the program in Boston) for a couple of months in preparation for departing the Ozark Mountains. A simple subject header and a few lines of sentences can hardly amount to any feel for a person. I wouldn’t discover, what it is, I was getting myself into until my first time in the Boston University television studio.

Very recently before I had made up mind about the Institute, I had received a promising internship with a local paper in Springfield (Fair City News), doing voice overs (V/O’s). Not only would I doing the V/O’s for previous stories, but I’d also get the opportunity to write my own.Who knew the Ozark Mountains had gold? But now, I’m risking losing my internship if I choose to go to Boston. Again, I followed my gut and my passion. (I’m learning I have a very passionate gut. Take that as you will)

Frank Shorr was the man I’d been in contact with in the months leading up the Institute. He’d been in television for three decades and nabbed eight Emmy’s. This was all impressive for me and the six other students attending the program but it quickly left our minds when the five-foot eight-inch-something, slender man with salt and pepper hair began barking out unfamiliar broadcast jargon  in that first day in the BU television studio. Saying that we were frustrated wouldn’t accurately describe the scene in any way, shape, or form — more like panicked passengers on a quickly sinking ship. Frank and I would soon be knocking skulls.

Broadcast Journalism is my discipline of study at MSU, thus, I’m very familiar with such terms as SOT’s, packages, O/C. 2-shot, etc… But so far in my course of study I’ve had minimal camera time;( Almost no experience as I’d soon discover at the Institute.) prerequisites and transferring can be likened to a synonym for a female dog. Part of the intrigue of the program was the amount of time spent in front of the camera. It had to pay off, right? This wasn’t the lone intrigue in the Institute, however. I would be emerged in multimedia (blogging, photography, video and photo editing) and print (something I had little experience in but was thirsty to learn more.) Could I learn all of this at MSU? I’m confident I could. But like I said — I’m not a patient person.

Frank and I are actually a lot alike, and I respect him for snuffing out our personality differences problem. Truth is, it wasn’t so much personality differences as it was lack of communication. He was the professor. I was the student. He was the director. I was the anchor. (Did I mention I struggle with patience?)

Frank threw us in the fire with not much instruction at all. That’s the art of his craft and the mystery behind the Sports Institute. I’ve learned more in less than 30 days than I would in a full semester. ( Don’t believe me? Look at the progression in both of my SportsNight newscasts.) And I don’t think I would have learned as much as I have if my professors (which were all top-notch, by the way.) would have held my hand and walked me around the Boston Public Gardens of sports journalism. They had to throw us to the wolves for us to figure out what works and to acquire their plentitude of information in such a small time window. If they would have held my hand, I would have probably left Boston wanting a refund of my tuition.

One month ago today, I left for Boston with a hunch and too many questions for even a journalist. How refreshing it feels to have a start — even without knowing the destination. (One of my favorite writers, Jack London, once wrote that adventure is the core of a man’s spirit. That “destination” will sure be a sweet adventure.) I’ve followed my passion, listened to my gut, exposed my heart, learned what it is to be vulnerable, and turned a few of my flaws into strengths. I still have a long highway in front of me leading off into the horizon — I’m going to take it one yellow-colored-center-stripe at a time.

And that’s saying something coming from an impatient man.


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