As soon as I heard that Grant Wahl and Jeff Pearlman would be joining our class, I knew I could expect some fascinating anecdotes and beneficial advice. Not that I’ve ever had a negative experience with any of the many writers that I have had the opportunity to interact with before, but I already knew these are two guys who really stand out from the crowd.
Wahl is fully ingrained in the world of soccer, which I not only appreciate as a big fan of the sport, but because its media horde is so much different – at least in America – than the more traditional sports, like football, basketball and baseball. Instead of the usual never-ending congregation of writers and personalities that come with the other aforementioned sports, every soccer media type in the United States knows every other soccer media type in the United States – or at least that’s the way it seems to me – because it’s really a pretty small group. Chances are you’re not fighting 10 other guys for the same story.
Pearlman, on the other hand, is in his own world. I don’t say that as a bad thing; in fact, I admire it. Especially for a sportswriter, the path he has taken has been a bit unusual to say the least. I think I would be hard-pressed to find another prominent journalist who left a big-time job at Sports Illustrated to go do something completely different, which he did when he left for Newsday. But from my previous interactions with him through Skype (and reading his blog), he’s not one to follow norms. That’s why he will do a story from an angle no one else will.