A look at people in our community

My Name Is ... Jim Benton

Colorado Community Media sports writer, Centennial resident


Backyard dreams

I worked at Rocky Mountain News 41 years. I always say, “If you've got to go to work, you might as well go to a game.”

I got into writing in the Lincoln Log — the (Denver) Lincoln High School paper — and I've been doing it ever since … The old neighborhood paper, Barnum News, I wrote a few stories for them.

I'd like to say I played everything — I did in the back yard. I played baseball for two years in high school and youth baseball, too, before then.

I can remember clipping box scores out of the paper and going out in the back yard, pretending like I was an announcer.

I worked at the Clarion newspaper at the University of Denver. I've sort of always been in the business.

Set on sports reporting

Boy, if there was any other dream I had, I couldn't tell you. If that Rocky job hadn't come up, I don't know what I would have done. I just knew it'd be something like that or in sports information.

I went to the University of Denver, worked at the Sports Information Department … I'd do hockey stats, deliver press releases, drop off releases at both papers — the Rocky and Denver Post.

I thought I'd apply to University of Northern Colorado's sports information director job (but they had hired someone else).

The Rocky, that was my first reporting job. They sent me everywhere.

I went to cover the Nuggets vs. Detroit at the McNichols arena. It was just another game, I was told. It went triple overtime. It was the highest-scoring game in NBA history … You never know what you're getting into.

I was at the Super Bowl in Miami, just doing what's left over. It was Denver and Atlanta. The Monday-after-Super-Bowl press conference, that's when John Elway officially came out and said he's retiring. You've always got to be prepared.

School sports over decades

It has a changed a lot because high school kids follow other major sports in town … best thing is, they are more under control at least in high school — you don't get the celebrating in the end zone. Athletically, with these Colorado Community Media spotlights — you say, “Are you in high school?” They look older. They're much more athletic.

In the old days, 200 pounds was a big offensive lineman — now, you can't be — 280-290 is what it is today. You used to be able to show up and be on the team.

Advice for young reporters

Pay attention, because there's always something in a game that's overlooked. Everybody knows the score or who hit a home run, especially with the internet … don't overlook something you might think is important or interesting.

I had this problem a lot: Don't be afraid to ask questions. Sometimes, I'd think I should stop because a guy's getting (angry with) me, but you've got to at least try.

Satisfied with career

To be quite honest, you always want to say you want to be at the finals or Super Bowl. I got in a couple things like that. But I never said “I need to do” this or that. I just felt very fortunate to be able to be there and do what I was doing.

If you would like to suggest someone for My Name Is ..., or if you would like to be featured in the segment, contact Ellis Arnold at earnold@coloradocommunitymedia.com or 303-566-4109.


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