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Storytelling Is Not Dead: Interview 11 – Scott King

Please check out my previous Storytelling posts here.  And my 365 Reviews here.

Welcome to interview eleven!  After my interview with Matt Byrne, I promised you more sports storytelling, and it’s my pleasure to bring you an interview today with Scott King.  Scott is the Chicago Blackhawks Correspondent for NHL.com and a Blackhawks insider for WGN Radio.  He’s also an entertainment writer for Forbes and contributes to Chicago Magazine.

I’ve known Scott for a good chunk of years now.  I met him through my buddy Ryan Budds, and we’ve crossed paths a good number of times since, including nerding out over comics as we waited to meet Stan Lee in Chicago!  I was excited to interview Scott…he has a very cool job!  So, let’s get crackin’!

Me: I have been a fan of hockey since the 90s.  That Blackhawks team was fantastic.  No one was beating me at NHL on my Genesis!  What is it about hockey that creates interesting stories?

SK: First of all, it’s the speed.  It’s the fastest game to watch in the world.  Also, everybody knows how hard it is to ice skate… They’re basically playing two sports.  On top of all that, maybe not as much now compared to back then, but a fight can break out at any time.  So it’s like three sports in one I guess.  Also, a nice-looking goal is beautiful to watch.

Me: I asked my buddy Matt this question, so I’m curious to see what you have to say.  This is the best sports city in the world.  Which of Chicago’s teams has the best storied past and why?

SK: I think I might be biased, but I don’t care.  I’ve truthfully been around the Blackhawks organization a lot the past several years, and grew up hearing about the days of Mikita and Hull.  It’s all kind of ironed into my brain.  Of course, you can talk about the ’85 Bears, what the Bulls did here is one of the greatest accomplishments in sports ever, the last two Chicago World Series wins were pretty epic, but once I heard there was a guy who figured out how to curve the blade of his stick (Mikita) so he could shoot pucks harder at the goalies who weren’t wearing helmets back then and then everybody else started doing it, I was hooked.

You throw in that 90s team with Roenick, Belfour and Chelios, later watch them achieve the unachievable in the salary cap era a few years ago, and don’t forget the best logo and jersey in all of sports, there’s just no beating that for me.  It will always be the Chicago Blackhawks.

Me: That’s hard to argue with, Scott.  Like I said, I LOVED that 90s team.  One of the things that I love about sports is the individual stories of the players.  In your experiences, what player do you think has the coolest story?

SK: Andrew Shaw.  He’s five-foot-nothing, was never supposed to make it to the NHL but he played harder than everybody every shift until he got his chance then he ran away with it.  In the 2013 Stanley Cup Final he: scored a goal with his shin pads, got knocked out by a puck, came to and finished the game and overwhelmingly won a fight.  A two-time Stanley Cup champion that played a huge part in both championships that everybody wrote off his whole life.  One of the toughest, most determined and entertaining pro athletes I’ve ever seen.

Me: And how does storytelling shape what you do in front of the camera and when you prepare for the job?

SK: TV is tough.  A lot easier when you learn to relax and remind yourself that everybody stinks sometimes, so who cares.  But you have to know how long the segment is and don’t just talk or just listen if you’re on with somebody else.  You might have to help others tell the story.  For TV, radio, podcast, and writing I’d say preparation is the key.  Be current with what you’re expected to know or be an expert in.  Think about what interests you, your audience will probably be interested in the same thing or you can make it interesting for them.

Me: I love the idea of being an expert an in what you are supposed to know.  What other advice would you give a young journalist looking to break into the sports field?

SK: Give yourself time.  Listen for a while.  Read who you enjoy reading, watch who you think does a good job.  Watch everything they do.  How they interview players, when they listen, when they take notes… Don’t be too hard on yourself. Whenever you hear “no” about an opportunity you want, it literally means nothing.  If there’s creative criticism to go along with it, great.  Get better.  If there’s not, there will be another opportunity, or you’ll create one.

More great advice from cool people that I’ve met along the way!  I want to thank Scott for his time.  That was another fun one!  The take away today has to be…give yourself time and listen for a while.  Life is a marathon, right?  Slow it down sometimes.

Check out the rest of my interview series here, and keep coming back for new content!  I appreciate you for reading.

Happy Storytelling!

Eric

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