by Faith Price
As the saying goes, “ball is life.” For 25-year-old Frazier Myer of the Chehalis tribe, basketball has been the driving force behind his pursuit of higher education and helped him determine his career path.
Any free time he had during his years as a college student, he could be found on the basketball court. “All my friends play basketball,” said Myer, noting, “I always have a basketball in my car.”
|Frazier Myer, Chehalis tribe, received his bachelor’s degree in communications.|
Ultimately, said the 2017 graduate, “Basketball is the reason I came to college.”
It’s in his genes. Both of his parents played basketball for Centralia College. Myer, however, took a different path. He saw sports broadcasting as the way he could remain involved in basketball for life.
“I wanted to go to school for something I’d be happy doing,” said Myer. “I always loved sports. I always watched the people talking about it on TV, like the analysts and broadcasters, and I thought I like what they do, and I liked their characters and I figured I could do the same thing.
Myer began his college career, like his parents, at Centralia College. There, he had the opportunity to take a sports broadcasting course from Professor Wade Fisher, who became his mentor and inspired him to attend WSU.
“He’s the reason why I’m here,” said Myer. “The first day I took his class he was like, ‘you’re going to be a Coug in two years.’”
He noted that while Professor Fisher was a Husky, he told his students if they wanted to be broadcasters WSU was the best school to attend. At Centralia, Myer had a sports radio show, and did play by play for Centralia College. Myer received his associate’s degree from Centralia with a focus in mass media before transferring to WSU in fall 2014.
At WSU, Myer met another professor who has been influential in his life, communications professor Ben Shors. Myer went to Shors’ office hours to get help with an assignment, and things snowballed from there. Shors told him about the communications assistant position at Native American Programs, which he landed and stayed at for the remainder of his college career.
“If I hadn’t started writing for Native Programs, I wouldn’t have started writing for the Evergreen,” said Myer. “All thanks to Ben.”
The Daily Evergreen is WSU’s student-run newspaper where Myer started as a columnist giving the Native American perspective on campus and the news. After one semester as a columnist, he transitioned to a position as a sports reporter.
During his career at WSU, Myer has done it all when it comes to journalism. He wrote for the Native Programs newsletter for two years, for which in April he won WSU Student Employee of the Year. He wrote for the Daily Evergreen for the past year. He did play by play on KUGR radio station for the WSU basketball teams. His last semester, he produced the nightly news on Murrow Cable News 8.
His two favorite stories over the years were the first article he wrote for Native Programs and his last one for the Daily Evergreen. Both were sports-related. In December of 2015, Myer interviewed fellow Chehalis tribal member Valea Higheagle for the Native Programs newsletter.
“I never knew her before, and then come to find out we’re from the same tribe,” said Myer. “And then she is just this amazing twirler. But I don’t think she knows how great she is, with everything she does. She twirls in front of 25,000 people!”
The last edition of the spring 2017 Daily Evergreen featured a story that Myer’s wrote on former Seattle Seahawk Mack Strong, who now resides in Pullman.
“I never met an NFL player before,” said Myer.
While he professes, “I still loves sports!” an internship Myer had in summer 2016 has potentially changed his path. Another connection from Professor Shors led Myer to interning with Native broadcast company Vision Maker Media. For the first time, Myer had the opportunity to work in documentary filmmaking, and he was hooked.
He liked the style and the ability to get more personal and in-depth with subjects, as opposed to the news where you might only be at an event for 15 minutes, just to get the right shot. Myer will be interning with Vision Maker again this summer, and says that perhaps he will eventually have a career in documentary filmmaking – and maybe make a few sports documentaries.
Myer is the fifth of seven children, and the first of his siblings to get a college degree. His advice for future students is, “Don’t forget where you came from!”
One way Myer maintained his connection with the tribal community while away from home was getting engaged in the Native American Student Center at WSU. His mentor, Sequoia Dance, invited him to the NASC during the Week of Welcome, before classes started, which helped him feel comfortable there.
“I started coming to the Native Center every day,” said Myer, both to hang out and study. “You really see happy people,” said Myer, listing off the other Native students he would see with continually positive attitudes and big smiles. “That’s what I always think of the Native Center”
Several of them also became members of his intramural basketball team. He played continuously throughout his college career, competing against other Cougs in both male and co-ed leagues. He also made some amazing friends in the newsroom at WSU, and on a College of Communications trip to Cuba he had the good fortune to experience.
Myer spent twelve days in Cuba with a group from WSU. He said that the people there were extremely smart and spoke many languages. He enjoyed being one of the first Americans they had ever met.
“I was telling one of them that I was Native American. He was like ‘Native American?’” to which he then told the rest of Myer’s group, “‘All you guys, not real Americans.’ He knew his history I guess,” said Myer laughing.
“It’s all about how many friends I’ve made and the people I’ve met throughout my time here,” said Myer. “I’m learning, but I also get to spend time with all these great people. WSU, thank you for creating this great environment!”