Class of 2013: Lives of Meaning and Purpose
ESPN Blogger Rodak ’13 Juggles Schedules to Keep Patriots’ Fans Informed
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article, originally published in January 2013, is one in a series of profiles on members of the Class of 2013, who graduated on May 19. To read other profiles, go to the Commencement page.
Last February, Mike Rodak ’13 (Abington, Mass.) spent a week in Indianapolis when the New England Patriots played the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.
The Providence College student missed six days of classes, but he couldn’t help it: He was doing his job.
Rodak works for ESPN Boston as a free-lance writer, covering the Patriots year-round. He attends training camps, practices, and games, interviewing players and coaches alike. His blogs on ESPN Boston’s website provide readers with current Patriots’ news and analysis.
In addition to this paying job, Rodak attracts over 2,600 Twitter followers who track his Tweets for their Patriots’ updates.
After talking about sports writing for several years with Mike Reiss, a columnist for ESPN Boston, Rodak was invited to the Patriots’ summer training camp in July 2010 and offered a writing position. Although he did not play sports in high school, his passion for football sparked his interest in sports writing.
“Every day I would go home from school and read sports blogs online. I always listened to sports radio and read The Boston Globe sports section,” he said.
During the summer, Rodak attends training camp every day as part of the press corps. ESPN Boston pays him to go to all of the Patriots’ home games as well.
“I’ve been to every home game in the last three seasons,” Rodak says. “I’ve also been able to go to a lot of road games. I’ve had the chance to go to places like Nashville, Baltimore, and Atlanta.”
Rodak earns the perks of being an ESPN reporter through his hard work, dedication, and self-discipline. During the academic year, he spends four hours almost every weekday driving to Gillette Stadium, watching the Patriots practice, and driving back to school. Despite the fast pace and demanding schedule of journalism, he manages his time well between classes and schoolwork and writing for ESPN Boston.
“There have been times when I miss things because of class, but I’ve never had a problem. I know when to step back and focus on school,” he says.
The amount of writing Rodak produces requires constant work. In three years, he has written over 1,000 blogs for ESPN Boston, not to mention his constant thread of Tweets.
He says, “It’s 24-7 when you’re a beat writer. Football is easier than baseball because there’s one game a week and the season is pretty short, but it’s still a year-round job.”
In addition to writing constantly and quickly, Rodak must write accurately. Patriots’ fans rely on his team updates and predictions, he says. Although he receives some sourced information from Reiss, his boss, most of his news and game analysis comes from his own interviews with players and game day observations. “A lot of my information comes from following the team for nearly a decade,” he says.
Goal line: The NFL
A finance and management double major, Rodak has worked on campus for four years in the Department of Athletics where he helps manage game-day facilities. He says his involvement in PC athletics, his ESPN job, and his business studies all prepare him for his dream job — to be an NFL general manager.
Rodak admires Theo Epstein, currently the Chicago Cubs’ president of baseball operations, because he worked his way up through intellect instead of athleticism. He hopes to follow a similar path and land a full-time NFL position by applying his education at PC and his unique experience as a Patriots’ reporter to his passion for football.
--Nick Tavares ’16
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