KiewietMug

HELENA — My name is Matthew Kiewiet and I have lived in Helena for nearly two weeks. I am not from Montana, but I am excited to call this beautiful place, ‘home.’

One of my goals upon accepting this sports reporting position at the Independent Record is to immerse myself in the community so that I can deliver a comprehensive community and recreational sports presence each Wednesday in the IR.

I grew up near Pasadena, California, but I have not lived there for quite some time. After finishing my journalism degree at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, I accepted a job as a copy editor at The Bulletin in Bend, Oregon, where I learned the nuts and bolts of daily sports and news coverage, and got my feet wet working in a newsroom.

After two years working on the sports desk as a copy editor and lead designer, my itch to return to the field as a reporter became too strong to ignore. Before I knew it I was packing my belongings into boxes and headed for Big Sky Country.

It seems I have gained an affinity for outdoorsy, mountain-adjacent cities. And why not? The enthusiasm people have for simply being outdoors – whether it be enjoying nature or competing with your friends in a nearby park – is invigorating.

Since moving on from high school and collegiate athletics, I have been teaching myself to fly fish and gravitated toward slow-pitch softball.

Baseball was my game growing up. I played through high school and for a year in college at Cal State East Bay, an NCAA Division III (now Division II) school in Hayward, California. After little league – and I was no longer the biggest kid on the team – I was never great. I had good seasons, I had poor seasons, I had disappointing seasons and I had frustrating seasons.

The last year I played competitively, I played a grand total of one inning. It was my favorite team I ever played with. Our motto was, “brotherhood.”

I love being a part of a team.

That’s what is so empowering about sports. The physical benefits of exercising are documented, but the social and emotional benefits are also valuable. That’s also why I love working in a newsroom. When a group of people can come together and drive toward a common goal, it’s a rewarding feeling. And that is what will drive my enthusiasm for making complete, in-depth community sports coverage a staple in the IR.

So, what is the best way to both acclimate myself to a new city and produce a robust, panoramic community sports page? By connecting with you, the reader. If you’re in a league that we don’t typically cover, I’d love to hear from you. If we have mentioned you in the past but we could be doing a more thorough job, I’d love to hear from you. If you simply want people to know the scores of your games, I’d love to hear from you. If you traveled to another country or state to run a race, I’d love to hear from you. I think you get the idea.

Matthew Kiewiet covers high school and community sports for the Independent Record and 406mtsports.com. Email him at matthew.kiewiet@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter @IRmattkiewiet.

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