If you're a fan of sports, then chances are you've experienced watching a game (or two) on live television. You'd grab your go-to snacks or drinks and cheer for your favorite athletes in the comfort of your own home. Obviously, since you aren't at the exact venue where the event is taking place, you rely on commentators and courtside reporters to help you understand the game better. But aside from all the analysis, competition, and energy that this line of work can bring, have you ever wondered what it's like to be that face in front of a camera?
Cosmopolitan Philippines reached out to Ayie Tinsay, a TV host, sports anchor, and courtside reporter for the Philippine Volleyball League (PVL). Keep reading to know more about her experience as she shares her career journey in the sports community.
How did you become a courtside reporter for PVL?
Ayie: "I was recommended by a good friend of mine who was already a sports anchor back in college. Given that I was taking journalism as my main track for my Communication course, I immediately went for it. I was blessed enough to be given such a gripping venture at a young age so I did not have any hesitations in applying for something so thrilling! Favorably, I've covered three conferences so far since 2019."
What's your daily routine as a courtside reporter?
A: "I wake up at 5:00 a.m., prepare my oatmeal, sit by my veranda, and get ready right away for work. My tasks include studying game stats, rewatching matches, researching about teams and their players, and organizing content to feature for the following games— be it a personal athlete profile, a huddle report, or a recent major news incident about a team. People don't often see what's behind the scenes, but as a reporter, I [have] to establish a relationship with players by creating a healthy and safe space for them to open up to me. I regularly knocked on their virtual doors for their personal and training updates and would be glad with every fruitful conversation and interview. Getting to know them on a more personal level naturally led me to be mindfully respectful and courteous as I can. Knowing that they are sparing some of their precious time, I feel that it is my duty to make good reports out of the information I gathered to share with their beloved supporters."
People don't often see what's behind the scenes, but as a reporter, I [have] to establish a relationship with players by creating a healthy and safe space for them to open up to me.
What are the biggest changes and challenges you faced in your job, especially with the ongoing pandemic?
A: "[Given that we were required to stay] in a sports bubble way up in Ilocos Norte, I had to maximize my work in such a limited environment given the provided safety precautions and restrictions. More than it [being] physically taxing to cover for ten teams and [reporting] for two to three games a day, it was mentally challenging to keep up with an independent work routine while being away from loved ones. I also lived with an extra amount of fear creeping inside my head as I worked outdoors given the current pandemic. What gave me a monumental dose of strength was when I witnessed the zealous commitment and sacrifices our production crew and volleyball players embodied the entire season. They played and still managed to have genuine smiles on their faces as they loved what they were doing. Since everyone around me was so inspiring, even when the days seemed longer, I had more courage and strength to keep on going and to deliver hulking news to the fans who weren't there with us. Every day I felt like I had to do better, not just for myself but also for the people who were working with me."
What do you love most about your job?
A: "One crucial reminder from my boss that really stuck in my head was that our main role as courtside reporters is to bring color into the black and white images of the athletes who people perceive as merely professional players. These players tend to live in the pressure of what the world expects them to be as they are put on a pedestal every day. We are given both the opportunity and the responsibility to bask in the humane side of sports where we display who they are, outside of being just an athlete. These players have their own loved ones; own sources of inspiration; and own dreams, passions, and startling stories to tell outside of sports. Amazingly, I get to be the person to deliver these to the people who celebrate the sports culture with us. In fact, we're one of the main pillars in keeping the sports community connected and alive."
We are given both the opportunity and the responsibility to bask in the humane side of sports where we display who they are, outside of being just an athlete.
What's something you wish more people knew about your job?
A: "It takes a lot of discipline, determination, and vigor as you have to work under different kinds of pressure—it could be social, mental, and/or physical. No matter how heavy the workload is, you have to deliver. Just like other jobs, we're bound to do more than what is written on the paper. We have to manifest good energy during the games while using modern technology to amplify our connection with our audience since sports news is not going to be solely on TV anymore. I have to connect and engage with the fans through the digital social media landscape and this is one of the most fun elements in my work!"
Any advice for aspiring courtside reporters?
A: "One day, you're in a school uniform and you're practicing a random TV spiel with a brush in your hand in front of the mirror. The next thing you know, you're on a stage with thousands of people cheering for their idols, and despite the loud drums banging in the background, you can only feel your strong pulse as you will be reporting in five. Close your eyes for a few seconds, say a short prayer, and believe in your gutsy self for you now have the chance to bring color into the television screens of many. Drink lots of water. Eat what you're craving. Sleep before midnight. Put on your best lipstick, draw out your best eyeliner, and treasure the people around you. No matter how long your journey takes and no matter how tedious it will be, it's going to be beautiful because it will be no one else's but your own."
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