The Falconer

For the Love of the Game

Courtesy+of+Justin+McIlwee
Courtesy of Justin McIlwee

Courtesy of Justin McIlwee

Courtesy of Justin McIlwee

Bree Pifer, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Mr. Justin McIlwee is a new English teacher here at Central, but he hasn’t always been exclusive to the school system. Although he is new to the Falcon family, Mcllwee has spent several years as a student, a teacher and a writer both in and outside of the valley. From LFCC to JMU to IUPUI, McIlwee found his true love in sports journalism.

“I’ve always loved sports, and I always knew I wanted to do something with sports,” said McIlwee. He coached baseball, tennis, and assisted with football while he was a teacher in Rockingham County, but it wasn’t until his fourth year of teaching that he got into the journalism aspect of sports.

McIlwee said his wife was looking on the computer one day and came across the Sports Journalism program at IUPUI, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. “I thought, well that would be something. I love to write and I love sports, so why not put the two of them together?”

He began the Sports Journalism program at IUPUI in January of 2015. While going to school, there were many internships available, and McIlwee was able to land a full-season internship with the Indianapolis Indians baseball team, the triple-A affiliate for the Pirates.

“Basically, I got to hang out in the clubhouse with the players and interview them,” said Mcllwee. “I sat up in the press box during games. I ran computer technology for TV games.” The Indians made it to the International League World Series that year and lost in 7 games.

McIlwee’s favorite sport to watch in person is baseball, and on television it is football. As for his favorite sport to cover, it’s baseball. “Football is really fun to cover, it’s just really hard,” said Mcllwee.

McIlwee has worked for a number of newspapers, including the Hendricks County Flyer, Hopewell News and the Northern Virginia Daily. He is still on staff as a freelance writer for the Northern Virginia Daily and is hoping to work with them during basketball season.

He is looking forward to teaching an undergrad sports journalism class at JMU in the spring.

A large component of journalism is interviewing. When asked his method for conducting interviews, McIlwee said that he goes by recording. “I don’t like doing it by hand because it slows down the interview, and you can’t get everything that the person says,” said Mcllwee. “When I record, I can go back and listen to everything and maybe they said something that initially I wouldn’t have written down, but it fits well into the premise of my story.”

McIlwee has some key advice for anyone aspiring to be a journalist: “Read every day, as much as possible, and write every day. Even if you’re not writing for anybody, if you just write it and then it just stays on your computer or you print it and throw it away.”

A big inspiration for McIlwee to begin sports writing came from reading famous sports journalists like Rick Reilly and Tony Kornheiser. He reads ESPN’s articles every day, as well as the sports section for the NVD and the Daily News Record.

“There is no such thing as a job that’s below you,” said McIlwee. In the field of journalism, you start from the bottom and work your way up. If your boss wants you pulling cable for a camera at a game, or going to get coffee, do it. You have to start somewhere.

“You just gotta love what you do. The pay is definitely not great, so you gotta do it because you love it.”

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • For the Love of the Game

    Uncategorized

    Jenna Deane

  • For the Love of the Game

    Uncategorized

    Hannah Dellinger

  • For the Love of the Game

    Uncategorized

    Maxwell Hoover

  • For the Love of the Game

    Uncategorized

    Sasha Hoover

  • For the Love of the Game

    Uncategorized

    Ashley Jennelle

  • For the Love of the Game

    Uncategorized

    Deziyre Lake-Tusing

  • For the Love of the Game

    Uncategorized

    Bailey Lloyd

  • For the Love of the Game

    Uncategorized

    Peyton McCarthy

  • For the Love of the Game

    Uncategorized

    Emily Miller

  • For the Love of the Game

    Uncategorized

    Brenda Mozqueda

For the Love of the Game