New sports writer embraces opportunity to fulfill dream - Camp Lejeune Globe: Sports

New sports writer embraces opportunity to fulfill dream

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Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2019 12:17 pm | Updated: 12:34 pm, Wed May 22, 2019.

From the first sports event I covered for The Globe, which was the Coastal 8 1A/2A Conference Track & Field Championship, I knew that I had big shoes to fill in replacing Matthew Sokol.

“He was the best (reporter) we’ve ever had,” said Lejeune High School athletic director Debra Bryant.

When I asked LHS boys’ track & field coach Bronwyn Schwend what made Sokol such a good sports reporter, she replied, “he worked so hard to give our kids exposure … having someone who reported on our kids and the events that are important really helped pump them up and feel important.”

I jotted down Schwend’s tips on a sticky note: pump kids up. Make them feel important. Ask a lot of questions. Understand your content.

I, too, went to a small high school that got little exposure from local news sources. As a player, anytime I got to talk to a reporter or saw a cameraman at one of my games it was special because I knew how rare it was.

Here’s some more you should know about me: I was born and raised in Wilkesboro, North Carolina in the foothills of the northwestern part of the state, tucked in between Boone and Winston-Salem. Known for its NASCAR roots, chicken farms and bluegrass festival Merlefest, Wilkesboro isn’t much of a hotbed for great athletes, but we had some good teams. I went to Wilkes Central High School and played basketball, football and golf. Our basketball team won three straight Mountain Valley 1A/2A Conference Tournament Championships, and my career ended with back-to-back 20+ win seasons.

On the football field, I was on some great teams, one of which reached the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. My fondest football memory, though, is winning the conference championship game 14-7 on our home field my senior year as I played quarterback on offense and safety on defense. Due to our small numbers, many of our guys played both ways, much like it is at LHS and other small schools.

I got a few calls from Division III football programs about playing defensive back, but basketball had always been my favorite. When I didn’t get recruited for that, I had to make a decision about college. My best friend told me about the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and from the first time we visited I knew it was the right place for me.

While at UNCW, I was a sports writer and copy editor for The Seahawk, UNCW’s student newspaper. I covered the tennis and track & field programs as well as men’s basketball. The highlight of my time at UNCW came in 2017 when I covered the men’s basketball team’s March Madness Appearance in Orlando, Florida against the Virginia Cavaliers. Sitting courtside and getting full press credentials gave me the confidence boost I needed to remind myself that my dream of becoming a sports writer was not out of reach.

Following graduation from UNCW in 2017, I spent nearly two years working at a country club in Wilmington while weighing my options and applying for different writing and media related jobs. Luckily, I got an interview at The Globe with former manager editor, Ken Buday. In the interview, I told him how being a sports writer is what I went to school for and all I’ve ever wanted for a career. Sports are my main passion in life. They were at the center of my universe during adolescence and still are. I also told Mr. Buday that it meant a lot to me to have a job that allowed me to serve the public by providing people with valuable stories they can share and remember for a lifetime.

I have been at The Globe less than a month, but I can already tell that I couldn’t have asked for a better first full-time job as a sports writer. My managing editor, Pat Gruner has been by my side since day one, helping me with whatever questions I have. The Sales Manager, Bobby Stone made me feel welcome in my first days and the Marines at the COMMSTRAT office have been encouraging me and providing constructive criticism as I get adjusted.

Though my time here has not been long, I can already tell that Camp Lejeune is a special place for many reasons. The people around here carry themselves with a sense of pride and respect that is hard to explain because it is not so common in the civilian world. Even the high schoolers I’ve talked to appear more disciplined and mature than the average public school teenagers I remember going to school with. 

My goal as sports writer is to provide the best content I can for the Camp Lejeune community and its surrounding areas. I want to make the Marines proud and I want to make the people in my articles feel like I did a good job of telling their stories. I am dedicated to focusing on sports at Camp Lejeune and in the Jacksonville area while bringing the importance of military, family and national pride to the fore.

If you’d like to contact Calvin about potential stories, feel free to email him at cshomaker@camplegeuneglobe.com.

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