Hypothetical: Power Ballads

AU experts put their creativity to the test. No wrong answers. 


Illustra­tion by
Traci Daberko

boombox and a baseball diamond

I have covered a World Series and All-Star games, and I have an article in the Baseball Hall of Fame. However, one of my favorite aspects of working in sports is seeing the rise of women in the industry. I don’t take lightly the responsibility of helping the next generation break into this field. As Shania Twain says in “Man! I Feel Like a Woman,” “Let’s go, girls!”

Savannah McCann, SOC/BA ’19, is a baseball reporter and on-air host with Washington’s 106.7 The Fan. 

“The Show Goes On” by Lupe Fiasco is a song of perseverance and strength, characteristics I would want to take into an at-bat: “Let ’em know you here / That you strugglin’, survivin’, that you gon’ persevere / Yeah, ain’t nobody leavin’, nobody goin’ home / Even if they turn the lights out, the show is goin’ on.”

Professor N. Jeremi Duru is director of WCL’s Sport and Society Initiative and author of Advancing the Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL. 

The sirens in Lil Wayne’s “Fireman,” which serve as an introduction to the first single off 2008’s critically acclaimed Tha Carter II, would be a menacing but fun way to warn opponents of my arrival.

Rachel Hopmayer, SOC/BA ’18, covers the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres as a reporter for Spectrum News 1.

I would not have a walk-up song most of the time. I would be the only player in the lineup accompanied by silence on my way to the plate to throw the pitcher off his rhythm. But just when the pitcher started to expect silence, I would hit him with “Shut Up” by Trick Daddy or “HUMBLE.” by Kendrick Lamar a couple times per home series. The fans would lose it.

Robert Klemko is a Washington Post reporter and an SOC adjunct professor who teaches sports journalism. 

In college, I was among a passionate group of Wiffle ball enthusiasts. We had the perfect spot on campus to play, and we’d blast Standards—the Alarm’s greatest hits—on a massive boombox. The track that always resonated with me was “Rain in the Summertime.” It captured the essence of those carefree days and my love for the game.

Professor Matt Winkler, SOC/MA ’00, teaches in the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies and launched AU’s online master’s program in sports analytics and management.

I grew up listening to “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey and it’s still one of the greatest hype songs. Everyone knows the words, which is perfect for a walk-up song.

Avery Barror, Kogod/BS ’24, is co-vice president of the Sports Events Marketing Experience Conference.  

I have precious memories of sitting in the school bus with my basketball teammates, screaming “Love Story” by Taylor Swift at the top of our lungs as we went to tournaments. It might have been the lucky charm behind a few of our wins.

Shwetha Surendran, SOC/MA ’23, was the inaugural ESPN/SOC fellow in 2023 and now works as a reporter with the sports network.

Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” sends the message that we all face challenges, but we are still figuring out our way through life.

Amanda Zimmer, SOC/BA ’12, is senior production manager at Monumental Sports Network, which owns the Washington Capitals, Mystics, Wizards, and more.  

“Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 1” by Pink Floyd [features] a tempo that energizes me. I also appreciate the complexity and nuance of the song’s message.

Natalie Kohse, SPA/BA ’18, MPP ’19, is Major League Baseball’s senior manager of government relations. 

“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” by Michael Jackson would let the opposing team to know I am about to get a hit and start the train to get runs.”

Jocelyn Hill is associate director of recreation and aquatic facilities.