In praise of Viking glory

In a December 2007 interview with Bill Moyers, Keith Olbermann told us what skill he picked up at the sports desk that led to his success as a news anchor. He points to skepticism as being the key factor. In his own words…

KEITH OLBERMANN: It’s what we do. It is the necessity of journalism. Skepticism. Especially if you’re trained in sports.

BILL MOYERS: Why in sports? I mean, what does sports have to do with news reporting?

KEITH OLBERMANN: In sports reporting it is almost assumed that you need to have some predictive ability. And you have to be able to discern patterns and also discern when somebody’s telling you, “No, our shortstop’s great,” and he really isn’t. And what the difference between those two things are. When the results don’t match up to the hyperbole, you need to be able to see that and you need to be able to say it in some sort of informed way. When you cover a sport like baseball or football or whatever […] you’re here for this part of the story. [Y]ou’ve joined it 75 […] or 100 years in progress. It should be the same way when you’re covering the news and particularly in politics.

Our mission at the Vanguard sports desk is to bring you the in-depth Portland State sports journalism that you can’t get anywhere else. I would like to kindly direct you to, PSU’s homepage for Viking sports, if you are looking to stay abreast of the latest goings on in our athletic department. The web page does damn good work giving you reliable game recaps, scores and news briefs pertaining to mainstream Vikings sports.

In the Vanguard’s ongoing coverage of the athletics department, we are going to do what only dedicated journalists can—analysis and investigation into the state of Vikings sports. There are a lot of changes generating a lot of questions heading into the new year. We’ll have interviews with the new athletic directors and team coaches, answers to where PSU will allocate and generate funds and how the changes will affect our players going forward into the new year.

We’re going even deeper in 2015 to cover PSU sports beyond the athletic department, for there are so many other arenas where Vikings claim victory. Perhaps it is my own position on the Portland Menace men’s roller derby team that inclines me to recognize often-overlooked athletes, but to a great many others on campus, sports aren’t just the teams in the athletic department. We have a vibrant and diverse campus full of athletes of all stripes, with 34 competitive recreational teams at last count. So when the Breakin’ crew dominates in a breakdance competition, or when the PSU Green Dragons race their mighty boat up the Willamette, we’ll be there with the coverage you can’t get anywhere else.

The Vanguard will pay due to sport that makes use of the strongest muscle humans have: our brains. We’ll tell you how The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition turns out for our brave mathletes. We’ll let you know when the PSU Debate Union brings a verbal smackdown to their conference rivals, or when Portland State Chess topples opposing kings.

Finally, we’re going to investigate the seeds of the next generation of sports. Competitive electronic gaming (known as esports) is already a multimillion-dollar industry, and it is only getting bigger. Streaming video services like Twitch are bringing in huge audiences, recording 4.5 million unique viewers each watching for over two hours during The International. A live broadcasting of a League of Legends tournament (of which PSU has a huge, dedicated team) sold out the Staples Center in 2013. Esport tournament payouts have been increasing exponentially since 2010, with over $30,000,000 in prize money awarded in 2014. As more people are playing games, with ever-increasing technological advancements to make gaming more immersive and with ever-more funds being poured into their production and promotion, the Vanguard will be covering the rise of PSU’s future esports champions.

Not content to just cover the spectrum of athletes at PSU, we will be covering the full spectrum of athletics available at PSU with an increased section focus on health and fitness. We’re hiring new writers to cover such things as hiking, yoga, exercise, healthy eating and nutrition. We’ll provide a “Rec Center Rundown” of new and exciting classes, gym challenges and ways to get yourself out of a desk and moving in 2015. We’ll have an expanded games calendar telling you where and when to root for all of your PSU teams (the Vanguard does not officially condone tailgating the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, but we will want photos if you do).

And just because this editor grew up loving them more than just about anything in sports, we’re introducing a Bloopers section of the oddest moments in PSU sporting.

In 2015, the Vanguard’s sports section will be the premier source for PSU victory. Keep your eyes on these pages for in-depth analysis of our athletics, for cutting-edge coverage of burgeoning Viking battlefields and for information on how you can keep yourself primed for victory in the new year.