Jake Appleman '06 writes about sports, mainly basketball and soccer, on a freelance basis for such publications as The New York Times, NBA.com, and SLAM Magazine. He covers professional games, interviews players, and files anything ranging from a 2,000-word feature profile to a game story on deadline.
During my freshman and sophomore years, I covered the Kenyon football team for the campus newspaper (The Collegian). It was amazing to walk up to The Collegian booth at the student fair and just sign up to cover the football team as a freshman. That just can't happen at a big school. My editor at The Collegian, Jay Helmer '04, was very helpful in allowing me to begin the process of finding my voice. My work at The Collegian helped me land a Cleveland Cavaliers correspondent gig with SLAM Magazine, as my sophomore year at Kenyon coincided with LeBron James's rookie season and my mentor at SLAM Magazine, Ryan Jones, had written LeBron's high school biography.
Any Spanish class with Clara Román-Odio, my advisor, had an effect on me. She challenged me to bring a unique point of view to class on a consistent basis. Since I was a Spanish major and studied abroad in Madrid, I like to think of the three months I later spent in Madrid during the 2011 NBA lockout as a sports-writing graduate school of sorts. I covered European soccer and basketball and got to focus on my Spanish again.
The space to learn another language, to think and write critically in a nurturing environment, and to grow up, is all I could have asked for from an undergraduate institution. I definitely got all of that from Kenyon.
No matter how hard I push myself—and I've worked extremely hard at this—there's a level of enjoyment to writing about exciting games and sensational athletes that can't be beat. I'm writing this sentence on an Acela train right now, en route to an assignment, as Delaware flies by out the window.
It's pretty impossible to pick one. Courtside at LeBron's playoff debut surrounded by 20,000 screaming Clevelanders in black "Witness" T-shirts; watching a small Spanish soccer club remain in first place for the only time in its 102-year existence; watching the sunlight beam in to the oldest Division I college basketball gym in America. They all just blend together into an alphabet soup that reads: you are extremely lucky.
I work on screenplays, TV pilots, and short stories. I'm very much a work in progress as far as those mediums are concerned—and Hollywood is a needle-in-a-haystack industry—but I find writing fiction enjoyable and well worth my spare time.