Friday, August 4, 2017

Zeigler Sports: Past, Present and Future

Photo and Story by Erica Pieschke

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A love for sports can develop in many different ways. Peyton Zeigler got a taste of sports starting the day she was born.

Zeigler's dad was a sports coach and he raised her to be a sports fanatic. She grew up playing a number of sports, from basketball to lacrosse to soccer to volleyball. 

“I think that my favorite is the one that I’m watching at the moment," Zeigler said. "Whatever is in season, so right now my favorite sport is baseball. August comes up and college football will be my favorite, you know it just kind of cycles through."

Zeigler is now a graduate student attending S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University as a Broadcast and Digital Journalism major and focusing on Sports Communications  She said she hopes this adventure will lead her to a career she will always love. 

Q & A with Peyton Zeigler

Q: When did your love of sports begin?
A: My love of sports began, I want to say since I was born. My dad has been a coach since well before I was born. During high school, he coached little league and everything, so he just raised me to love sports. Or he raised me around sports and then just being around it so much, I learned to love it.

Q: Did you grow up playing sports?
A: Yeah, I played a ton of random things. I did mostly basketball, softball, volleyball. I played lacrosse for a year, I’ve done cross country and track. Soccer, you know everyone plays soccer when they’re in second grade, so had to do the standard soccer in second grade. I think those are it, but you know, I didn’t play collegiately, it just stopped in high school. I didn’t really want to go to college and play anywhere. Not that I was any good enough to play anywhere, but I loved playing high school sports.

Q: Which would be your favorite sport and why?
A: You know to play, probably basketball. I just have more knowledge of the sport. I think I shoot pretty well and I have a good base knowledge. With my dad being a coach, I have that kind of perspective of doing well in drills, or learning drills and what not. To watch, I love major league baseball. In Oregon, we don’t have a lot of, or we don’t have any professional teams so you’re forced to go outside of the state to have your favorite team. And even then, it’s not anywhere close so watching it on TV I loved watching baseball on TV. But I also love basketball and football. I think that my favorite is the one that I’m watching at the moment. Whatever is in season, so right now my favorite sport is baseball. August comes up and college football will be my favorite, you know it just kind of cycles through. I get on those highs of mid-season.

Q: What brought you out to Newhouse?
A: I was looking at graduate schools. My mom has her bachelor’s degree and my dad is getting his bachelor’s degree right now so I don’t really have anyone that has their masters so I just thought masters is the next step. You know, you go to high school, you go to undergrads, you get your masters. And I thought, what kind of colleges do I want to do? I got my journalism degree, I thought well I want to do sports journalism, let’s look at sports journalism programs that are great. So, I looked here, Northwestern, and Boston University. And Northwestern kind of screwed up my application, they didn’t really give me a fair shot which really sucked. Shake my fist at them. But then I got accepted into Syracuse and I thought it’s such an amazing school. You know having Newhouse on your resume doesn’t hurt anything and I know that I’m going to learn the most from this school. So, I didn’t even finish my application to Boston University, I just accepted right away here. You know having a sports communication emphasis is huge, because in Oregon you don’t have that.  It’s very broad, it’s very big. Big picture journalism type of things, you’re learning how to write, you’re learning how to shoot video and take pictures. There is not a whole lot of specialized, you can do those in clubs, but within classes they want you to stay away from the things you like. They want you to broaden your horizons. And I’m thinking ok well I’ve don’t that for four years and now I want to concentrate. I want to learn how to write for sports, I want to learn how to write for broadcast for sports, I want to learn how to cover things, how to interview athletes because that’s so different from just reporting on news or asking you know the police what happened. Because you can’t just ask those questions to athletes, you can’t just say what happened because they’re going to say, I hit a homerun. And then they are going to look at you like you’re an idiot, so I really wanted it to be tailored to sports journalism and sports communication.

Q: So, coming out of this program, what would your dream job be?

A: Oh boy, you know I’d love to go from zero to sixty and say you know I have a job at ESPN, I get to travel around and do college football coming right out of the internship. You know, that’s college football season, maybe travel with a specific team or even conference. You know you have different reporters that do a lot of conference type of work. That would be amazing, but honestly, I’m not at all expecting that. I’m actually really excited to build and grow from a smaller station and be a sports person there and then kind of gradually move up. Because that’s how you make connections, that’s a really cool way to build relationships and go to different markets and learn about teams there. I’d love to cover the Pac12 and have that be my home. Be on the West Coast and then come over here sometimes. But I don’t know. My dad and I kind of joked that, he asked me the same question, what do you want to do after this? And I said honestly it doesn’t matter. I’ll go anywhere, I’ll go to Minnesota for all I care. At the same time, he said would you go somewhere like Minnesota and we said Minnesota at the same time so that was weird. I’m kind of just excited to explore and see different markets.

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