Get to know sports writer Matt Schoch: For some reason, he left the Virgin Islands to come back here
Editor's note: As coronavirus sweeps the globe, shutting down so many entertainment options including sports, we thought this would be a good opportunity for you to get to know a little bit about us. Up today: sports writer Matt Schoch, who can be followed on Twitter @Matt_Schoch_.
►1. First off, I’m just a lowly freelancer for the News, but you’ve probably seen my byline plenty in the last two years. Thanks to my trusting bosses and a lack of adequate staffing, I’ve gotten my hands dirty with all the major Detroit and Michigan sports teams over the past couple years — literally my dream come true.
►2. It was an early realization that I wanted to work in sports, as real jobs seemed dull and difficult. I won a citywide “When I Grow Up” speech contest in fourth grade detailing my hopes of becoming a sports broadcaster like Ernie Harwell. I couldn’t repeat that title in fifth grade with my speech that outlined my new hope of being a sports writer like Mitch Albom.
►3. I know I’m not supposed to talk about the other newspaper, but Albom’s Fab Five is still my favorite book, heightening my teenage curiosities into contemporary culture, basketball and sports writing — interests that stuck. I’ll pick it up again during social distancing.
►4. My folks still live in my childhood home in Royal Oak, where I was raised as the youngest of three boys.
►5. My junior high (Churchill) was shut down shortly after I passed through, and my high school (Kimball) was consolidated with Dondero into Royal Oak High School shortly after I graduated. I suppose that’s a common story around here.
►6. We won league titles in soccer and basketball at KHS despite my presence on those teams.
►7. As a class officer, I’m now helping to organize our 20-year high school reunion, which would be next year, if next year happens. Kids, don’t be a class officer.
►8. At Central Michigan in 2002, when given a choice of which sport I wanted to cover for campus newspaper Central Michigan Life, I chose Mike DeBord’s 4-8 football team over men’s basketball. Chris Kaman and the ’02-03 Chippewas are still the most recent CMU team to make the NCAA Tournament, where they advanced by beating Creighton, then lost to Duke.
►9. Like News sports colleagues Tony Paul and Daren Tomhave, I’m part of the Jim Whymer sports writer tree from the Times Herald in Port Huron, working four years in the Blue Water Area after college.
►10. My next move was to southwest Missouri and the Ozarks, where I spent some of my favorite times. The cultural variety of the places I’ve lived has shaped my worldview and hopefully made me more empathetic.
►11. I then spent three years living in paradise on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Yes, there are days I wonder why I left, thanks for asking.
►12. My parents once rented "Major League," screened it, and decided their sons were too young to watch it. It’s now my favorite sports movie.
►13. The thrill of my career was covering the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro (where I also met John Niyo). There I covered Virgin Islands swimmers and runners, American fencers and race-walkers, and Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. And yes, Ryan Lochte made all of us Americans feel a little less safe after his night out.
►14. Despite being out of his age demographic, I love Bruce Springsteen and have seen The Boss live five times. One day I’ll visit Asbury Park.
►15. My career has taken me down some unexpected paths: I host a daily podcast about the Pistons in which I try to make them sound interesting, and I also was a casino blackjack dealer for a short time while living in Chicago.