Pitching and Pivoting- Updates on my First Feature Article

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A selection of Kelly Roderick’s project “The Stronger” is currently on display in the Ohio Union. (Photo of display taken by Sydney Sundell)

I began this assignment with the intentions to write about Tanner Laczynski, a first-year forward on the men’s hockey team who was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers before even beginning at Ohio State. After doing some research, however, I found that The Lantern had already written a feature on Laczynski, and that his story did not seem to be astronomically different from those of other strong collegiate-level hockey players.

Nearly every day, however, I pass a giant photo of women’s volleyball middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe, which is currently displayed as an art project outside of the Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom in the Ohio Union. A short description of the piece is displayed alongside of the photo, along with a more feminine photo of Sandbothe in a dress, creating an interesting juxtaposition for those passing by.

After reading the description of the project, I am planning on reaching out to the artist, Kelly Roderick, as well as Sandbothe, to learn more about the piece and what it means to each of them. I believe that her further explanation from Roderick on her inspiration for the piece, as well as why she chose Sandbothe as one of her models, could be an interesting addition to this feature.

In switching focuses, I have been pleasantly surprised by the professionalism and promptness of the SIDs. Both of the SIDs I have contacted to request interviews have been very helpful and understanding of time constraints of reporters, which as a first-time sports journalism student, I did not expect.

Sandbothe’s SID quickly informed me that Taylor is already playing professionally abroad after completing her senior season in December, but that I could contact her directly since her eligibility at Ohio State has expired. The SID (Kyle Kuhlman) also noted that he would help me get in contact with her to schedule an interview if emailing did not work, which I appreciate as a student reporter.

Throughout my research, I have found that Taylor was an integral part of her Ohio State team from as early on as her freshman year. She started all games in her first season (2013), ranked 10th in the Big Ten during her second season, recorded the top-five school records for total blocks in her third season, and began her fourth season ranking top 10 in school history.

While I have found a lot of valuable reporting on her impressive career, nowhere have I seen any reports of her thoughts and feelings on feminism, which is why I am eager to explore them. In addition to Sandbothe and Roderick, I will contact Geoff Carlston, head women’s volleyball coach, to collect some further insight into Taylor’s career.

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