Sports Media Senior Jacob Hable’s Experience Creating Empathy with UVU Hockey and Real Salt Lake
BYU’s sports media program offers top-notch opportunities for students to work in professional sports capacities. Jacob Hable, a senior in the journalism and sports media program, has used his experiences at BYU to score jobs as a Hockey caller for Utah Valley University and as a communications intern for Real Salt Lake (RSL). For Hable, working for professional sports teams helps him connect to athletes and fans of all backgrounds.
Hable shared his experience with sports media in BYU’s School of Communications.
Q: What made you decide to study sports media?
Hable: Ever since I was little, I have always been a sports fan. It's been my biggest passion inside and outside school. When I quickly realized my future would not be on the field, I wanted to find a way that I could connect to sports in a way that was fulfilling to me. As a kid, after every game that I played, I would interview myself in the shower. I got to play the role of the media member. I was hoping the whole time as a kid that it would help me as an athlete answering questions, but really, it helped me from the media side. That became my future. I’ve found that sports media was the perfect connection between the fans and the athletes on the field. I want to be that liaison to share the stories of athletes to highlight the human aspect of sports.
Q: What’s your favorite part of working for UVU Hockey and RSL?
Hable: This year for UVU Hockey, I've been doing PA announcing which needs flair — your voice is the talent that you're using. I enjoy channeling some of the PA and play-by-play announcers that I've heard growing up, trying to emulate them while also having my own style. With RSL, I work more on the communication side, writing stories for their website. Soccer is a global sport and it unifies people from all over the world. On our team, we have players from Colombia, Venezuela, Uruguay and we even have a player from France. Hearing different languages, experiencing different cultures and sharing their stories to the fans has been really fulfilling.
Q: How has your BYU experience prepared you to work in sports?
Hable: BYU’s global community was such a big pull for me. The connections and network that BYU has across the globe, especially in sports, is hard to deny. Immediately within my first semester at BYU, I was able to intern with Greg Wrubell, the Voice of the Cougars, and spend some time in the BYU athletic communications department. Because of that experience, I got an internship with the Minnesota Twins last year in Major League Baseball. Obviously a big part of school is being in the classroom, but I think the biggest thing that BYU’s School of Communications has done for me is provide experiences outside of the classroom through internships and the wonderful people that I've been able to work with.
Q: How have you grown as a person by working in sports media?
Hable: Because of the international community that is involved with sports and the diversity of backgrounds between athletes and fans and coworkers, I've been able to acquire a particular level of empathy for the people around me. One of my passion subjects is defectors from Cuba who have fled the Cuban regime, come over to the United States and left everything behind. They are now playing professional baseball and trying to make it — we don't face anything like that. You see the vitriol that a lot of players experience in the way fans treat players and you forget all of the steps that they've gone through to be there. They're not just puppets on a stage performing for you. These are real people with real emotions and real hardships. In soccer, there’s a perfect community in terms of forward thinking, inclusion, diversity and understanding that you don't get in other areas inside or outside of sports. Learning to not only accept and tolerate, but to embrace and engage with people from all different kinds of backgrounds is something I credit to working in sports.
Q: What advice would you give to someone looking into sports media?
Hable: Every path is worth taking. You have to take every chance that comes to you because you don't know which one is going to lead to your big break. There were three or four positions I felt like were the right fit that didn't go through, but led to the next ones that did. No opportunity is too small for you. I started my sports media journey writing recaps for Snow College football for eight dollars an hour. It wasn’t glamorous, but I was getting paid to write about football. Now I'm working for a professional soccer team. I'm doing things that I love for money. If I hadn't taken that first step, it's hard to say that I would still be here. Take whatever comes to you and apply yourself. It's worth it.