by Lizzie Sullivan, ’23
Evan Washburn is a CBS sideline reporter who you have seen on multiple Super Bowl broadcasts, as well as regular season and playoff NFL games. Mr. Washburn is a also a 2003 graduate of Severn School who also attended the University of Delaware. On Wednesday, February 23rd, he talked with the Anchor TV club, visited Dr. Baugh’s English class, and even engaged in a “press conference” with Mr. Zmuda’s English classes.
At the “press conference” style meeting with Mr. Zmuda’s classes, Evan talked about how he decided to become a sideline reporter, his time at Severn, his daily life, and his views on controversial issues in the NFL. Evan said that while he struggled academically in high school, Severn still provided him with the means of being as successful as he is today. One way he explained this is that graduating Severn gave him confidence in a way that he realized his ability to get through things that seem impossible at the time, such as the academic workload at Severn. He said that being around successful people with high expectations, in a competitive environment, set him up for the competitiveness of the real world and his job.
We got an inside scoop on what life is like as a sideline reporter. Evan told us about his schedule: home Monday-Thursday, traveling on Friday, and working and reporting through the weekend. While at home, Evan watches games of teams he will see that weekend, reads articles on any important points for the teams, and makes phone calls to schedule his interviews and make a plan for those meetings. Even though his job may only seem like a four hour project for each game, an entire week of work goes into preparing, which normally goes unnoticed. When Evan gets to the city of the game on Friday, he meets with the coaches and some key players for a production meeting. This meeting’s main purpose is for Evan to get information and background on the players he is about to watch in order to write and report about them. He gets to the stadium four hours early on gameday to interview players as they warm up and get a feel for how both teams are feeling that day. He told our class that he normally walks or runs three or four miles in total, as he must lap the field multiple times to reach all of the people he wants to interview. He does post-game interviews with both players and coaches and travels home after his work is done. This is an ideal job for Evan because he is able to get the excitement of the games on Sunday, while also being able to be home Monday through Thursday with his wife and son.
One of the most interesting parts of the conference for me was hearing what Evan had to say about how he has grown in his job. He told us that for the first four or five years, he felt as though he was doing the job completely wrong. He was extremely nervous before every game and operated in fear, which he felt made his interviews less natural. He explained how he grew out of this fear: by seeing the players and coaches as equal to him and everyone else, regardless of how much money they make or how famous they are. He stated that he always approaches interviews with respect and no judgement, even if he might not agree with someone’s beliefs. This can be challenging sometimes, as he has had to deal with very stubborn and self-absorbed people on occasion. Evan’s open mind has helped him become a successful and loved sideline reporter. This provides a helpful lesson: even if you are in a tough situation with a person you don’t agree with, the best and least dramatic way to handle it is by keeping an open mind because, as Evan said, “you never know the full story”.
I was very fortunate to be able to meet with Evan, and I found the conference to be very inspiring. For Severn students to see the career possibilities of an extremely successful graduate is motivating. Evan showed us what his life was like with a rigorous schedule, a stressful job, and times when you have to deal with difficult people or situations. His influence on the Severn students proves to us that whatever path we choose coming out of Severn, we are likely to be successful through hard work.