As I head into the last 15 months of my university career (assuming I get into Journalism & Media studies 4, which I’ve never seen as a certainty); a sort of anxiety is beginning to sweep over me. I keep asking myself: “Once I’m out there in the real world, will I really be able to make a living writing about sport?” It seems almost too good to be true.

Just as well, then, that on 8 August, my writing & editing class received a visit from a man who successfully turned a hobby into a full newsroom profession — and then went on to expand his skills base. Not only has Nathan Trantraal achieved much of what I want to achieve in my career, but he and I have far more in common than I’d have guessed.

Trantraal calls himself a “cartoonist”. That, after all, is what he loves doing — just as I love writing about sport. However, when he read a piece he wrote about his upbringing, I realised that he was also a very talented writer.

The piece spoke about how, at 16, Trantraal had a broken relationship with his father and was very much an outcast at school. In it, he described going to a party with his friends and feeling almost paralysed by anxiety.

This was a story I could relate to all too well, given that my experiences at that age were remarkably similar. However, in terms of socioeconomic backgrounds, Trantraal and I could not have had more different upbringings.

According to him, such differences are what set individuals apart as writers. He explained that the ability to follow a news cycle was not a unique skill, but that no other writer would ever be able to replicate our ability to tell our own personal stories.

Trantraal has inspired me to write more about my personal life, as well as sport. However, after listening to someone who has achieved so much success out of what must once have seemed a futile hobby, I also feel much more confident that I can one day achieve something in life through my sports writing after all.

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