The Original Retro Brand Interview: 5 Questions with Freelance Sportswriter extaordinaire, Elliott J. Smith
It's probably a safe bet to say the majority of folks lucky enough to be employed these days, don't love their jobs. That's why my interview today with sportswriter Elliott J. Smith is so refreshing. This guy really loves his job.
Andy: Traveling the country to various major sporting events and then getting to write about them. What's not to love? How'd you get into the business?
Elliott: Yes, it definitely is a lot of fun. Like a lot of young kids, I loved sports and knew that I wanted to be either a sportscaster or a sportswriter "when I grew up." I took a pretty traditional path in that I worked on my school papers in middle and High School as an editor, and then chose a college with a strong journalism program in Northwestern. After I graduated, I worked for a small paper in Odessa, Texas - home of Friday Night Lights - and that was pretty eye opening to see over 30,000 people attend a High School football game! From there, I moved on to work for a medium sized paper in Olympia, Washington where I regularly covered the Seattle Seahawks, Mariners and Washington schools. Eventually I picked up enough contacts wherein I was able to set out on my own as a freelancer.
Andy: You've definitely paid your dues. As a freelancer, do you find it difficult to break out from the rest of the pack? It just seems like there are a billion bloggers and the like out there.
Elliott: On the contrary, today provides a variety of ways to get your voice out there. Anybody who has a true passion and works really hard can stake their claim. In the blogosphere, I think your best bet is to pick that passion and stick to it. If you love the MMA, or MLS, or Premier League Soccer is your thing, then write about that and make the niche yours. If you know your stuff and persist, you should be fine. As I noted earlier, I've been fortunate to have picked up a good roster of clients that call on me regularly to cover various events from the NBA Draft for the Washington Times, to the Orioles or Nationals for Major League Baseball. I should also point out that freelancing is different then being a day to day sportswriter. It gives you much more freedom, and opens you up to a much broader platform to cover.
Andy: While I'm sure you probably had a good time covering the NBA Draft, I'm also pretty sure you've covered a few more events that were a bit more memorable. Can you talk about a few of your favorites?
Elliott: There have been several, but being a student during Northwestern's Rose Bowl run when they played USC in 1995 has got to be the tops. Working for the school paper that entire dream season that kept bringing us huge upsets over Notre Dame, Michigan & Penn State culminating with the near upset of the Trojans in Pasadena, was simply an amazing experience (the Wildcats were perennial losers and 3-7 in 1994 before pulling a worst to first type scenario with a 10-2 post in '95). Almost on par was covering the Seattle Mariners in 2001 when they tied a Major League record with 116 wins. They just won and won and won! It was incredible to cover the team with the entire city caught up in the momentum on a daily basis all season long.
Andy: I was pulling for your Cats in that Rose Bowl - they nearly pulled it off! Let's talk about a few more of your favorite experiences like when you wear Original Retro Brand shirts. What do you like about our apparel?
Elliott: Finding cool Northwestern gear is almost impossible, so when I saw Original Retro Brand had that covered, I was all over it. I'm also a big NHL fan, and love your old Colorado Rockies and Pens gear. Having worked in Seattle for a time, naturally seeing your Seattle Rainiers shirt brought a smile to my face as well. Basically the logo's on your shirts are what I love to wear and when I do, I often get asked "Where'd you get that shirt from?" People are impressed by them.
We're glad that Elliott found the cool he was looking for in Original Retro Brand, and want to thank him for sharing a little bit of his sports writing passion and experience with us today. There is plenty more of where this came from, and you can find it by visiting elliottjsmith.com
This post was posted in Baseball, College, Celebrities in Retro Brand, NHL, Interviews and was tagged with 1995 Rose Bowl, Elliott J. Smith, Friday Night Lights, NBA Draft for the Washington Times, Premier League Soccer