Saturday , June 21, 2014 - 6:39 AM
For many sports enthusiasts the closest they get to musical theater is singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh inning stretch.
Then, there’s Brandon Garside.
The Standard-Examiner’s newest multimedia sports reporter was originally offered a scholarship at Weber State for musical theater. Now he’s going to be covering the school’s athletic teams.
Brandon said he has always enjoyed entertaining people, but decided early on in college acting wasn’t his career path.
“After one year of being in the program at Weber, I felt that I wouldn’t be able to make the life of an actor align with my personal and family needs, and frankly, my singing and dancing didn’t make me much of a triple-threat,” he said.
That doesn’t mean he has left theater totally behind. Next week he will join his wife on stage in the the CenterPoint Legacy Theater’s production of “Children of Eden,” a sentimental comedy of biblical proportions. He plays a storyteller in the first act of the play, and Noah’s son in the second act. His wife, Lindsea, a WSU musical theater grad, has a leading role.
“I originally wasn’t going to audition for the show at all because it wasn’t exactly on the top of my list of things to do between work, getting ready for graduation and looking for a job in my career choice,” he said. “Then I started to see who was planning on auditioning, and after some persuading I decided to audition as well.”
Also involved with the show are two of Brandon’s longtime friends and his high school mentor.
Besides a desire to entertain, Brandon also developed a love of sports growing up. That’s why he gravitated toward sports broadcasting as a career.
“I grew up watching Craig Bolerjack and loved how entertaining and captivating he was. I felt I had the skills and talent to get started in the industry, and decided to go for it,” he said.
Brandon, though realized he still needed to develop his sports reporting as a triple threat, and concentrated on print reporting as well as television and radio.
He will get a chance to use all three skills at the Standard. He will be our principal reporter covering WSU, as well as our primary broadcast talent for video and possible live-streaming of athletic events. You can see him on our website in our daily news roundup Monday-Friday at 11 a.m.
His sport of choice is basketball. He remembers crying as a kid when the Jazz lost to the Bulls in the NBA finals. That experience may be why he considers LeBron James to be a better player than Michael Jordan. He looks forward to covering the Wildcats, but not just on the hardwoods.
“There’s so many good stories and questions up there about different teams,” he said.
Bob says there are some similarities between acting and sports reporting. Both can be emotionally taxing and hard work, and you have to be at the right place at the right time.
It is the nature of both games.
(Here is the transcript of the Q&A I had with Brandon:)
What made you interested in pursuing a sports journalism career?
As unusual as this sounds coming from a sports guy, I originally was offered a four-year tuition scholarship to Weber State for musical theater. Entertaining people is something I've always loved to do, I enjoyed doing it in high school, and thought I could make a career out of acting. After one year of being in the program at Weber, I felt that I wouldn't be able to make the life of an actor align with my personal and family needs, and frankly, my singing and dancing didn't make me much of a triple-threat. With that said, I have so much respect for those that make that happen every day of their lives. It's not easy to go down that path. I still wanted to entertain people, so I explored different ways I that I would be able to satisfy that. This desire to continue to entertain combined with my love of sports led me to pursue sports broadcasting. I grew up watching Craig Bolerjack and loved how entertaining and captivating he was. I felt I had the skills and talent to get started in the industry, and decided to go for it. As I went along, I learned the importance to be refined in not only being proficient on the radio or in front of camera, but in writing. Here I was thinking I wouldn't have to worry about being a triple-threat again. Yet that was the only way I would be able to get work in a very tough industry. I did radio, TV and print in college, which led to internships and other opportunities preparing me for graduation.
What is your favorite sport to watch or play? Is it different from your favorite sport to cover?
My sport of choice is basketball. My dad used to take me and my siblings to Jazz games all the time. I was fortunate to see the Utah legends in John Stockton and Karl Malone play on the hardwood of the Delta Center. As a kid I remember crying after the Jazz lost to the Bulls in the NBA Finals. Growing up I didn't play as much basketball as I did soccer, but over the last few years, I've played basketball a lot more and absolutely love it. The exciting pace of the game is simply gripping, and I love the challenge of guarding anyone on the court. Basketball is also my favorite sport to cover as a journalist. For me, the energy inside an arena is unmatched. Seeing athletes utilize their talents and abilities to do so many different things is a pleasure to watch.
What WSU sport do you look forward most to covering in the upcoming year and why?
I look forward to covering a lot of different sports at Weber. There's so many good stories and questions up there about different teams. The women's soccer team is coming off of a Big Sky Championship, and have retained the vast majority of the team. I can see that team winning two more titles in a row, they're incredible. I can't wait to see what Coach Jay Hill does with the football team and how much progress will be made in the season. The women's basketball team is midway through the process of developing a young team, and I can't wait to see the next steps Coach Ord takes with that team. To answer the question, I cannot wait to cover the men's basketball team. Coach Rahe has done a fantastic job with the program, and it will be interesting to see who will step up as the leader on the floor. James Hajek is certainly a player-coach with the bigs, but is the sophomore Jeremy Senglin ready to take the helm running the offense? It's going to be a fantastic year.
How did you get involved in this CenterPoint production?
I originally wasn't going to audition for the show at all because it wasn't exactly on the top of my list of things to do between work, getting ready for graduation and looking for a job in my career choice. Then I started to see who was planning on auditioning, and after some persuading I decided to audition as well. Not only is my wife in the show, but two of my lifelong friends who I've known for almost twenty years are also involved. We haven't been in a show together since the summer of 2006, and this appeared to be the last opportunity to work with them for a very long time as we get older and life starts to take over. Not only that, but director Alane Schultz was my director, teacher, and mentor in high school, and I love working with her and respect her so much for her passion, dedication and sanity in theater. I was also familiar and had worked with musical director Julie Waite and choreographer Kristi Curtis. Knowing the personalities and work style of the production crew were also huge factors in my decision. A culmination of these things made this opportunity unpassable.
What part do you play? How many lines do you have? Do you sing or dance?
Children of Eden is separated into two acts. The first act is based out of the book of Genesis in the Bible, whereas the second act is the story of Noah and the ark. In the first act I sing and dance like crazy as a storyteller to help move the story along and, well, tell the story. Funny how that works, right? In the second act, I'm still singing and dancing, but I also have a few lines as Shem, Noah's son. It's not a huge amount of lines, which, for memorizing's sake was great, but it's enough to make you laugh and want to punch me in the throat. Shem goes through a lot of emotional changes in a short amount of time. It's been challenging, but a lot of fun.
Which is harder, being a sports reporter or being an actor?
I guess I just need to pick which group I'd rather not offend! But seriously, they're so different yet so similar. I would have to say being an actor is harder. It is both physically and emotionally challenging for many different reasons. Good actors tap into their personal feelings to connect with the character they are portraying. Depending on the material, that can be very emotionally taxing. On top of that, you need to take care of your voice and body. Being able to sing, act and dance simultaneously and be good at is something that takes a great deal of dedication, often times without any reward. All of the actors at CenterPoint are volunteers. For those looking to make this a career, their time at this and any community theater is to build their resume to show agents and professional theaters what they can do. Many won't make much money acting, but they're so determined to fulfill that dream that they keep pressing on. It's an extremely difficult business to break into that requires a lot of talent and, frankly, a lot of luck. You have to be at the right place at the right time. A lot of that is true for a sports reporter, but a job as a reporter is more consistent and stable than acting work, that is if you can find such a position and be fortunate enough to get hired. After you're finished with a show, you have to find more work. If you're good and well-known, that's not a problem, but it takes so much to get there. How long has Jim Burton been writing for the Standard-Examiner? Sure, he may not make nearly as much, or even look as good as Brad Pitt, but his job has been stable as the Jazz beat reporter. Both are very challenging, but the lifestyle and day-to-day as an actor is something few can handle.
Michael Jordan or LeBron?
I believe LeBron is a better athlete, but Jordan was a better player. Interesting note: as of right now, LeBron's current career FG% is the same as MJ's to the tenth degree (49.7%), but the King has made a positive improvement in that field consecutively for last seven years. Jordan averaged over 30 points per game eight different years. LBJ has done that once. MJ had his third title at age 29, LeBron couldn't match that with the Spurs on the other end of the court. There are other players who need to be in this conversation as well, but that's a discussion for another time. If I had to choose between the two in their prime, I would take Michael Jordan. That's not an easy decision, but you can't go wrong either way.
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