Famed Sportswriter Visits Canton Library
On October 7, 2015, at 7pm, sports fans and aspiring journalists found themselves in the Community Room of the Canton Public Library, eager to hear the acclaimed, retired Boston Globe sportswriter take the podium to talk about his new book, Scribe.
Bob Ryan, born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, began his career as a Boston Globe intern sportswriter in 1968, after graduating from Boston College. He had been introduced to the world of sports when he was a young boy, his parents playing a prominent role in developing his love for sports, and had served as the sports editor for his high school paper. Ryan described to the audience how the title of his book had come from the high school football coach giving him the nickname “scribe”.
Before writing his first book, Ryan debated on whether or not to go through with it. After seeing many sportswriters and journalists go down that path and not gaining much success from it. In an interview after the talk, Ryan was able to answer questions in an interview, one about the motivation to proceed with writing the book. However, when Ryan was approached by literary agent Andrew Blauner, telling him to write the book, Ryan decided to go through with the plan.
“That’s all I needed,” explains Ryan. “Because of his professional stature,
I thought, ‘well, he knows what he’s talking about,if he thinks that this is a possibility, then it is a good idea.’”
Ryan then went on to publish his first book, Wait Till I Make the Show: Baseball in the Minor Leagues in 1974, and now, over 40 years later, he has come out with his 12th book, Scribe.
During the presentation, the recent Red Smith Award winner described the process of writing the book. Ryan explained how he wanted to make the book more enthusiastic than books written by other journalists, but wanted to find a common ground between personal and business-related experiences.
After 44 years writing for the Boston Globe, covering 11 Olympics, and becoming a pivotal sportswriter, Ryan decided to retire at age 60 in 2012. Since retirement, Ryan has continued to be an influence in the world of sports writing, but explained that writing now compared to writing in the 1980’s poses great differences.
“There are so many differences, and they all come down to accessibility,” explains Ryan. “It’s not as easy to get things done. The keyword is access. It was once very easy; people were open, and now it's guarded. It’s much more tedious to get things done, and as a consequence, not as fun to do the job.”
As an experienced sportswriter and journalist, Ryan also was able to give advice and guidance to aspiring journalists.
“If reading isn’t a passion, total, everyday, then you’re in the wrong business, because reading comes before writing, and from reading comes writing.”
As described by Ryan, he field of sport writing isn’t a very easy field to have a career in, with most topics being controversial. Ryan described that in order to excel in the field, or any career, you must be prepared for any challenges you may face.
“Be prepared,” Ryan begins, “and take steps to get ready because you do not ever know when a big opportunity will come or how it will manifest itself, and if you find out that you blew it because you weren’t prepared, and there were things you could’ve done and it’s your own fault, it’s a very terrible feeling.”
After a book signing and taking a few more questions from his many fans who had attended his talk, the audience was able to leave Canton Public Library with not only new information about sportswriting and Bob Ryan’s new book, but a new view on the diverse world of journalism, and a new insight on what went into creating “Scribe”, through Bob Ryan’s intriguing presentation.