Screen Shot 2023 04 13 At 11.09.51 Am
Baseball Column Interns Long Beach Poly Softball

COLUMN: Pride at Former Interns Having On-Field Success

When we started our student internship program at, we noticed an immediate trend in the applicants we were receiving from Long Beach Unified School District students. Most of the kids who applied for the paid internship program were athletes, and most of them were…well, they weren’t star athletes. They were athletes like JJ, Tyler and me were when we were younger–they loved sports, they were interested in a career in sports, and they were already realizing that if they did have a career in sports it probably wouldn’t be between the lines.

In many ways I think that’s the personality makeup that best germinates a predisposition for sports media. People who really care about sports but who also understand their own limitations, giving them a better appreciation for great athletes, great teams, and great moments.

Two of our interns in last year’s inaugural crop were Aidan Currie and Nina Fife, both Long Beach Poly student-athletes, on the Jackrabbit baseball and softball teams. Both of them fit the description I gave above–role players on their teams, but smart, funny, talented kids with an eye for good stories. Aidan was one of the best writers we had last year as a junior, and this year as a senior we’ve given him freelance work covering games.

Nina was the first one to volunteer for any opportunity and quickly proved herself as a writer, and even tried her hand at videos and social media. This year for her senior year we hired her as our social media director, and she’s covered several games for us as well as helping to run our TikTok account, which she helped start.

When we offered Nina the position, she made the point that she’d certainly be focused on school and sports, but that in her senior year she wasn’t too concerned about the difficulties of maintaining her perfect GPA (she’s going to be a Poly valedictorian), and that she knew she wouldn’t be playing a ton on the softball team.

Well, Aidan and Nina both got a great start to the next stage of their sportswriting careers last week. When someone we know or have connected with does well, we always refer to it as “the 562 bump,” and Aidan and Nina got the mother of all 562 bumps last week.

Both of them found themselves in scoring position as pinch runners in the final inning of a game against Millikan, with the Rams the preseason favorites to win the Moore League title in both diamond sports per our usual poll of local coaches.

When teammate Nate Berumen ripped a two-out single, Aidan took off from second like a rocket, barely beating the tag to secure a walkoff 4-3 win.

“It’s the biggest run I’ve ever scored, and I’d be shocked if I ever score a bigger one,” he said after.

Nina found herself in scoring position, too, when a hard-hit ball from Tiare Ho-Ching found its way into the outfield, sending Nina sprinting home to score the game-winning run in Poly’s first win over Millikan in seven years.

“I knew that I had to do it for my whole team, because we’ve never beaten Millikan as long as I’ve been here, so this was a huge thing for us,” she said.

Those moments were huge for Aidan and Nina, and they were huge for us, too. It’s a special thrill to see students you’ve mentored in writing and media succeeding on the field. But as exciting as those winning runs were for our former student interns, I know they’re launching pads, too. They’re the moments they’ll reference in their own heads when they’re writing other people’s stories in the years to come–the exhilaration they felt will key them to ask a question that another writer might not have thought of, or an angle another writer might not be aware of.

The joy of being a sportswriter is often the work of making sense of other people’s joy, of describing other people’s indescribable moments or emotions. As they prepare to graduate and embark on their own careers, I’m glad that Aidan and Nina will have some of their own joy to take with them.

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.