For children growing up, a professional career in sports is one of the most sought-after jobs. However, once high school rolls around, the harsh reality of what it takes to be an athlete becomes overwhelming.
For a student hoping to have a career in sports, there are two routes — either playing a sport, or covering one. For Shippensburg University graduate student Perry Mattern, he chose to pursue a career in covering them. He attributes his pursuit of a master’s degree in communication studies to his love for sports at a young age.
“I loved sports as a kid. I played throughout high school, but there was no doubt my playing career was going to end there. I always enjoyed all aspects of sports journalism,” Mattern said.
“I read the sports section, I listened to sports on the radio and watched them on TV. My dad was a play-by-play radio announcer himself. He never had to push me toward any of this. It’s just always been in my blood.”
Mattern currently attends SU and is in his second year of his master’s program. For Mattern, however, some of his out of the classroom experiences have been the most beneficial.
Mattern has earned professional experience in his field, starting in 2014 when he started working for the Harrisburg Senators minor league baseball team. He has been working for the Senators every summer since.
With the Senators, Mattern is one of the two media contacts for the team. He helps to facilitate interviews, works with players and coaches for team-related events and helps with many other tasks.
Mattern also creates statistics packets, writes game notes and does play-by-play commentary for three innings of each home game, alongside Terry Byrom. Byrom is the Senators director of public relations and broadcaster.
Starting in 2015, Mattern became the SU sports information graduate assistant and gained valuable experience under sports information director Bill Morgal.
As an assistant to Morgal, Mattern helped with interviews, press releases, team coverage and also kept statistics for sporting events.
“I’ve taken away that you can find fun, entertaining sports at any level. Bill and I, along with our staff, had so much fun covering and supporting the sports here at Shippensburg,” Mattern said.
Mattern also spoke highly of Morgal and the experience he gained working with him.
“Bill, more than anyone I’ve ever worked with, has shown me what a work ethic looks like,” Mattern said. “The hours he puts in are astounding. I’ve never seen anyone work as hard as Bill. I often think of him when I’m tired or don’t feel like doing something. He always goes above and beyond.”
This semester, Mattern is working as an intern with the Washington Redskins. Mattern writes stories for the Redskins website and helps with photo galleries and social media content. He also interviews players for videos on the website.
“The internship with the Redskins has been a ton of fun.
“Working at the highest level of sports has always been a goal of mine, and while I don’t feel like I’ve totally reached that yet, this experience has been fantastic,” Mattern said. “Being able to interact with players and coaches at the NFL level, for lack of a better term, is a really cool thing to do.”
Upon graduation, Mattern has expressed a desire to obtain a job in professional sports as either a writer, social media staff member or public relations staff worker.
What Mattern has enjoyed most about his time at SU has been all of the people he has met.
“I’ve met some of my best friends at SU. I’ve interacted with so many different people in different settings and have created relationships I cherish,” Mattern said. “Students and faculty alike have been consistently friendly. It’s not a big place so you see so many people you know all the time, and I’ve really enjoyed that.”
With valuable work experience, Mattern has set himself up for success when his time at SU comes to an end.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and are not representative of The Slate or its staff as a whole