We love sports because we fall in love with the narratives. Everyone loves a good story. The protagonists and supporting characters are usually players and coaches, but it’s easy to overlook the ones telling us the story. Journalists and reporters shape our perspectives of the sports that we watch. If you’re a University of Michigan sports fan, there is a good chance that your perspective has been influenced by Clayton Sayfie. Clayton is a staff writer and social media manager for The Wolverine and was kind enough to spend some time with me this week.
When asked what the wildest sports moment he has covered is, Clayton predictably chose the 2021 Michigan football win over Ohio State. He fondly remembered the final moments of the game. Rather than hurrying to the press conference to get a front-row seat, as is his usual routine at Michigan football games, he stuck around to embrace the moment and watch the stadium get flooded with fans.
While Clayton Sayfie is only a few years into his promising career as a sports journalist, he doesn’t get phased by the big names at Michigan. He regularly crosses paths with the likes of Jim Harbaugh, JJ McCarthy, and Juwan Howard while covering the Wolverines. He admitted that interviewing Michigan’s A-listers felt a bit awkward and nerve-wracking at first, but now it’s just fun to get to know these guys.
Clayton and I got a chance to review several of the recent news cycle happenings. He seems to share my optimism for the current state of Michigan basketball, saying “this program has found ways to make those plays and win those games that they need to,” and went on to say that the experts may be underestimating Michigan’s chances to make the tournament.
He excitedly broke down the move of Amorion Walker to defense, but I think my favorite part of the interview was when Michigan’s strength and conditioning coach, Ben Herbert, was brought up. Clayton has covered Herbert extensively and shared a few player stories about Herbert “mentally screwing” the team to prepare them for any circumstance. It’s obviously working because as Clayton and I were talking, Mazi Smith and DJ turner were leading strength and speed drills respectively at the NFL combine.
Undoubtedly, we all love to follow the stories of sports. The next time you’re surfing the internet for content, gluttonously indulging in some Michigan Wolverine drama, remember to take a moment to appreciate the journalists like Clayton Sayfie that make it all possible.