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Editor’s note: “Behind the Byline” introduces you to these who create stories, snap photographs, design and style pages and edit the content material we provide in our print editions and on We’re far more than journalists. As you will see, we’re also your neighbors with special backgrounds and experiences who proudly contact Sonoma County household. Currently, we introduce you to sports writer Kienan O’Doherty.

Increasing up in Mill Valley, I was one particular of these youngsters that played every single sport below the sun.

Baseball, basketball, soccer. You name it, I played it. Except for football, that is. I was second on the wait list right after sign-ups and by no means got to don the pads, which to this day I’m quite thankful for.

Like most youngsters, I dreamed of getting a specialist athlete. My childhood close friends and I would commit hours at Boyle Park, fantasizing of how we would be the subsequent middle infield tandem for the San Francisco Giants. We would practice turning double plays more than and more than once more, just like Wealthy Aurilia, Jeff Kent and Ray Durham would at what is now Oracle Park.

Just after all, a kid can dream, suitable?

As years progressed, I gradually realized that I had but yet another dream, a want that brings me right here nowadays.

You see, I’m 75% Irish. That implies I’m blessed, and at times cursed, with the infamous “gift of gab.” I appreciate a fantastic conversation, but at times speak as well considerably. It is one particular of the greatest gifts in the globe, if you know how to use it.

That getting stated, my dream then turned to getting a play-by-play commentator. I was enamored by it listening Duane Kuiper, Mike Krukow, Jon Miller and Dave Flannery on the each day, reading books by Jim Nantz and Al Michaels (which I nonetheless have, by the way). I would study any way I could.

I began the broadcasting club in higher college at Stuart Hall, calling all the school’s basketball games by myself. That continued in college, as I named each men’s and women’s soccer, and even some NCAA tournament games. I would nonetheless like to do that once more someday in some capacity.

When I did do sports broadcasting, there wasn’t a significant for that profession the closest point we had was journalism. So, I took a likelihood and majored in it in spite of by no means possessing written for a newspaper.

Turns out, it was the most effective way to use that present of gab. I usually consider to myself, if you cannot speak about it, create about it.

It was rough beginning out. These collegiate days have been filled with late nights, continuous black ink on our newspapers, and low grades (thanks, Paul Kostyu). I attempted and attempted to uncover a thing that could relate, but I just couldn’t. Till I did — via tennis.

The sport I began the newest was the one particular I would play the longest. I started playing tennis at age 12 and played all the way via college. Currently, I attempt to get out as considerably as I can, but my Wilson Blades are a small rusty.

So, how the heck do tennis and journalism correlate? In a lot far more techniques than you would consider.

See, writing a sports story is sort of like a tennis point the serve is the lede, and dictates the way the story is going to go, just like the serve dictates the point in tennis.

The serve is also one particular of the most potent shots in a tennis player’s arsenal, as is the lede of a story. You want a thing that sets the tone early and keeps the opponent guessing.

Your footwork and movement is the way in which you create the story, taking the reader via the game as eloquently as feasible.

As you create the point up via your groundstrokes — forehand and backhand — the excitement mounts, sort of like maintaining the reader on the edge of their seat, wanting to see how that stroll-off came about.

With your opponent now deep in the corner, you come to the net for an effortless place away shot. This, like for the story, is the final dagger — the culmination of the adrenaline-filled journey the reader just skilled.

It is been this believed approach that has kept me going, from my 1st gig at a hyperlocal paper in southeast Ohio (close to our Executive Editor Richard A. Green’s hometown), till now.

Even though I’m nonetheless young in my profession, I’ve had the privilege of covering several cool athletic events, from Ohio State football to the Columbus Blue Jackets, to higher college state championships. Athletics is in my blood and it is by no means going to leave.

That, plus that infamous “gift,” is a quite fantastic combo.

Athletics can relate to just about something, you just need to have to uncover the what and the how. I’m fortunate to have identified mine.

You can attain Employees Writer Kienan O’Doherty at 415-887-8650 or On Twitter @kodoherty22.

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