The unbelievably Small World of Sports Journalism

By Canadian “Young Reporter” Justin Fauteux
Since arriving in China five days ago for the Young Reporter’s Program, I’ve found may things striking.
The hospitality of the volunteers (and just how many there are). The spectacular venues that look like they’re ready to host the likes of Lionel Messi and Usain Bolt. The Opening Ceremonies, in all their glory.

Justin Fauteux

But here I am sitting in a hotel room in Shenzhen, China and I find myself baffled, more than anything, by how small this world is.
It started when I found that another ‘North American’ representative for the FISU program, Erin Meagher is from Mississauga, 10 minutes from my hometown of Oakville. Then we were joined by Kelsey Wingerak, a Kelowna native who goes to school at Ryerson University in Toronto. Sports Media Canada president Steve McAllister, one of our professional mentors is friends with Erin’s dad, who works in communications for the NHL. A crazy coincidence but at least a relationship that makes sense.
But this is when it gets downright weird. In talking with Steve, I find out that he also knows MY dad from, of all things, their days refereeing ball hockey (they both have some stories to share about those days) in the GTA. Here we are in China, three Canadian students representing North America and our Canadian mentor just happens to have a prior connection to two of us.
Not only that, I came all the way to Shenzhen and who should be one of the first people I interview, but Team Canada chef de mission and Wilfrid Laurier University athletic director Peter Baxter, who has been my interview subject about a million times in my two years as Sports Editor at Laurier’s paper, The Cord.
That really got me thinking about how small the world is, particularly in the business of sports and sports journalism.
In talking with professionals, I hear countless stories of people popping up in different places, of that ‘everyone knows everyone’ kind of feeling and now I have that experience myself. It’s something I will really take away from this program.
There are 60 young reporters from around the world here. We’ve met and spent time with people from Iceland, Turkey, Mongolia, Australia, Nicaragua and everywhere in between and who knows where or when those people will pop up down the road?
I’m willing to bet that at some point in my life, I’ll be sharing a media scrum or press box with someone I’ve met here in Shenzhen. And think that is one of the most beautiful things about sports journalism. It is such a relationship-based business, and while that’s something I thought I knew before I got here, it’s really been proven in the connections I realize I have here, half the world away from home.