FORT WAYNE – Ben Smith has never been at a loss for written words, a talent that will take him into the Indiana Sportswriters and Broadcasters Hall of Fame tonight.
But there once was a time when he was lost covering sports.
I can remember the first event I covered was a high school basketball game at Delta, and I was so green I didn’t know you could sit at the scorer’s table, Smith said. I was up in the stands with my scorer’s book balanced on my knees. When you start like that, the last thing you think about is something like this. I’m gratified and humbled.
Smith has been the lead sports columnist at The Journal Gazette since 1989, winning numerous state and national awards while covering everything from Super Bowls and Indy 500s to sailing and table shuffleboard.
The thing that will always stick out in my mind was covering the international Special Olympic. I’ve never covered anything quite like it. It really got to the essence of sports, and it will always stick in my mind, said Smith, 58.
A product of New Haven High School and a 1977 graduate of Ball State with a magna cum laude bachelor’s degree in journalism, history and English, Smith came to The Journal Gazette from the Anderson Daily Bulletin, where he was sports editor and assistant sports editor.
Joining him in this induction class are Mike Emrick, the LaFontaine native and lifelong Komets fan who calls NHL games for NBC; along with Pacers broadcaster Mark Boyle; Bloomington Herald-Times sportswriter Andy Graham; and the late Bill Robertson of the Evansville Press.
Fort Wayne radio personality Len Davis will posthumously be awarded the Distinguished Service Award.
It’s been a good ride (as a sportswriter), Smith said. There are times when you wish you had your weekends to yourself, but then there are times when you thought you’d seen everything and suddenly you see something you’ve never seen before. Thankfully, that happens to this day.