Sports writer took unlikely route to career

By JARED MILLER/Montana State News

Just a scant distance down I-90 midway between Missoula and Seattle sits a birthplace. Not only the birthplace of Washington’s Brian Scott but the place in which a very talented columnist was born. It was important to him that I use that term: columnist. “Not a reporter,” he stressed. And right there is where Scott’s story finds its core. A love for sports and a talent for writing met in the middle ground and that middle ground is where he resides today.

Picture a young boy watching the Seattle Mariners and trying his hardest to replicate the swing of the great Edgar Martinez. Or maybe imagine a college grad from Gonzaga entering the big bad, bad world of radio as an intern “playing the hits and poppin’ the zits,” as he put it. This is Scott. Sports and Washington are ingrained in him. It was the gift of writing, though, that would come later and ultimately define his career arc.

“I worked at a radio station during the early 90s,” Scott explained. “During my tenure there the AM station switched formats from old-school country music to an all sports format.” Bingo. The seeds of Scott’s career had been planted.

However, like any story, a setback usually rears its ugly head. His came in the form of a 12-year HR position. No job should ever be seen as a setback, but for Scott it wasn’t a passion, and it was something that kept him from his own. “I was complaining to a friend of mine about my HR job being a job,” he said.

Somewhere amidst that complaining was when it all happened for Scott though. “I remember in the same conversation ripping on a particular sports writer’s column I had read earlier in the day to my friend.  He then point blanked asked me why I wasn’t the one writing about sports. I told him something along the lines of, ‘yeah, like I’d ever get one of those jobs’.” Then he did.

Scott applied to over a half dozen positions and, much to his surprise, received a few job offers. One such offer was an online blog, NW Sports Beat. Being a website that covers all his favorite teams, Scott took the position and ran with it.

“What drives my passion is my love for the Mariners and (Seattle) Seahawks. I’m in the fortunate role that takes advantage of that fact as a columnist, and not a reporter,” he said. There it was again; not a reporter. According to Scott, the reporter merely reports “just the facts, ma’am.” That of course is not his style, however.

“As a columnist you get to report but give a spin of your own at the same time and I know I enjoy that role more,” he said.

It does seem rather fitting that he stressed this point. Scott’s creativity and gift for implementing that into his own writing was something he never let wither away even under 12 years at an HR job. It was something that started at a young age with him and he held onto it for dear life. It only makes sense that he reminds us that his job allows that creativity to thrive.

Even in the world of sports journalism, though, Scott ran into some snags.

“I also have had times where I had to cover the Sonics and UW football and I hate NBA basketball personally and Go Cougs!” (Washington’s own state university rivalry).

Maybe having to cover a sports team one doesn’t necessarily like isn’t exactly problem No. 1 on most people’s list. To Scott however, it was significant. Again, though, he used his creativity to find a way through this too.

“What I wound up doing when it was not my favorite sport or team to cover is spending time with people who love those teams,” he said. “Listening to them on a regular basis and hearing their passions gave me the footing I needed to speak to them effectively as a journalist.”

Here was that creativity popping up again. The man wouldn’t let anything stand in the way of his drive to become a reputable columnist.

It was perhaps his parting words though that sum him up most perfectly. “Being a good writer is just as much about your ability to listen as it is to write.” Outwardly, of course, Scott was speaking to the craft of writing. But that right there is Scott. To listen is to open the door to some sort of creativity that can be applied to writing.

Scott is clearly a listener. He listened to himself as young boy falling in love with sports and he listened to his friend who prompted him into the world of sports media. Had he not listened, he may be still be putting in hours at that HR job. Maybe he’s be somewhere else entirely. Odds are, though, Brian Scott would not be the columnist he is today.

– edited by Rania Ampntel Chafint

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