Town Crier: Teaching Journalism Through Sports

MONTCLARION: April 23, 2010

The more time passes, the younger I get. Last week I wrote about returning to college (with my daughter at the University of Georgia). Well, since then, I’ve been back to high school.

I was one of 40 speakers at Bishop O’Dowd’s annual Career Day Seminar, recently. “If you’re looking to make big money, some day, you’re in the wrong room,” I told the kids right off the bat. “The trial lawyer is down the hall.”

But I held their interest – mostly by talking about travel and sports journalism – not hard news coverage. I showed them the video I promoted in an article on spring skiing a few weeks ago. “This is what I do for a living,” I said as they watched snow skiers trying to jump freezing ponds of slush in their swimwear.  “It’s a story that needs to be told,” I said seriously, “and you could be the next generation to tell it.”

In the grand scheme of things, sports may seem kind of trivial. Tell that to someone who lived through the Great Depression and remembers Sea Biscuit. The tougher the times – the more we take solace in sports.  The students may not understand this now – but someday they’ll get it.

Star pupil: The most popular guy at Bishop O’Dowd, from what I could tell, was a strawberry blond named Albie. The kids were all clamoring for his attention – and why not? Albie’s good looking and has a knock-out smile – for a dog.

“Three years ago, this mutt showed up at the guard gate, all scraggly,” says director of finance Steve DePetris, who adopted Albie after trying unsuccessfully to find his owner. He’s become the school mascot, of sorts, even though O’Dowd’s real mascot is a fire-breathing dragon. But wait – Albie can play that part too. He has a little dragon costume he puts on when he wants to show school spirit.

It just goes to show – even a dog has dreams.

Albie and students at Bishop O'Dowd

E-mail bag: Speaking of my column on dorm life with my daughter, reader Jeannie Dupont weighs in with a story about the night she spent in her daughter’s dorm room at the University of Puget Sound. She was doing her best to stay under the radar, but the fire alarm went off in the middle of the night and she found herself out on the lawn, in her pajamas, with hundreds of sleepy-eyed students. Murphy’s Law strikes again…

Crime story: As if we’re not already being robbed at the gas pump…a reader relates how her friend had her purse stolen, not long ago, at the Chevron Station in Montclair. She was pumping gas and was aware of a motorist nearby – but it wasn’t until she pulled away that she realized her purse was gone. It had been snatched from the back seat, while she was distracted. Talk about a crime of opportunity. I’ll be locking my doors when I pump gas from now on.

Speaking of theft – Crooks are still stealing copper wire, despite efforts to make it tougher to recycle this material. Last week, copper wire was stripped from six street lights on Moraga Road. Most of these thefts happen at night and if you see suspicious activity, call Oakland Police at 911 from a landline or 777-3211 from your cell phone.

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-273-9418, by email at or on the web at


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s