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Focus on: Talking sporty with Jen Mueller
You’ve seen her on TV, interviewing players after Mariners games. You’ve heard her on radio, offering sideline reports during Seahawks games.
Now, you also can read Jen Mueller.
A self-labeled “expert talker,” Mueller has written a book: “Game Time,” which is aimed at allowing sports neophytes to learn to talk sports in five minutes a day.
The book is an offshoot of Mueller’s company and website – Talk Sporty to Me – and her lifelong love affair with all things sports.
“The book actually started as a collection of notes for a friend of mine who’s the CEO at Seattle Chocolates,” Mueller said of Jean Thompson. “She was explaining to me that chocolates and confectionaries are a very male-dominated business. She goes to conferences all time and doesn’t feel like she can keep track of all the conversation.”
Mueller gathered the notes, but realized there still was no starting point.
“That’s when I expanded those notes to be larger and realized after I was done that she wasn’t the only one who needed this,” Mueller said. “If you go online – and I say this in the book – and you try to ask the question: How do I become a sports fan? The best answer they give is to go watch a game, which is one of the worst places to start because it’s too overwhelming.
“So I tried to simplify the process to give non-sports fans a point of reference, so it’s easy to engage in the conversation and feel like you don’t have to know it all to be able to participate.”
Mueller will be among the speakers at the Seahawks’ Football 101 and 201 workshops on Saturday that benefit Gilda’s Club Seattle. The sessions are sold out, but that’s where Mueller’s book comes in. The key points she will make during the interactive workshops are included in her book – which is available at TalkSportytoMe.com.
“We are going to talk Saturday specifically about reading a box score and all the information that you can get,” Mueller said. “Just because it’s my job to watch every snap of a football game every Sunday and talk about it doesn’t mean that’s everybody else’s job.
“And there are so many tidbits of information that you can gain in the most-simple forms that you can use in a three-sentence conversation that puts you in the conversation with everybody else.”
Mueller’s book is not intended for those who, like her, grew up around sports and now are immersed in sports. And it’s not intended to talk down to anyone. It’s a guide for how to talk sports for those who don’t know the difference between points, runs and goals. Because the best way to brand yourself as someone to dismiss in sports discussions is to use wrong terms for specific sports.
“Let me share a little secret with you,” Mueller writes. “I’m a sports broadcaster and an avid sports fan, but I don’t have all the answers.”
Great point, because as you progress from Football 101 to Football 201 and beyond, you will understand that the more you learn about sports the more you’ll realize how much you don’t know.
It takes time. And a good way to start is to take the time to read Mueller’s book.