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Professional writing: Experienced online sports writer

1989 earthquake World Series

It was the World Series of 1989. The atmosphere was charged. Sixty-two thousand fans chatted loudly as they discussed the possible outcomes. The third game was about to begin. I could almost touch the excitement in the air. Many of the people present at Candlestick Park were looking forward to the game. I, however, could not afford this luxury. As a sports writer, I had a deadline to meet.

Suddenly the portable table in front of me began to shake. I glanced nervously at the people around me.  Like most people in the stadium, I was terrified. The locals, however, appeared to be quite comfortable. The trembling did not stop; it only got worse. Now I was worried. Reporters from all over the nation were gathered in a tiny room, which made me think of a tomb. There were about a hundred writers; some started heading for the exit. I was afraid of the possibility of a stampede. I tried to push these morbid thoughts out of my mind. One of the local reporters told me to relax. Earth tremors were a common phenomenon in this part of the country. His relaxed and composed nature was calming. The quake lasted for seventeen seconds. I waited for it to pass, oblivious of the damage it had caused. Its magnitude was 6.9 and had led to the loss of sixty-three lives and six billion dollars in damages.

After the earthquake came a series of aftershocks. These were more unnerving than the earthquake. Panic erupted in our tiny makeshift pressroom. Soon after, power went out, and the phone lines all went dead. It was now evident that I was not going to meet the deadline. The game was cancelled. The players started searching frantically for members of their families and pulling them onto the field, which seemed like a haven. People started to head for the nearest exits. I maneuvered through the crowds and somehow managed to find my way out.

Night fell quickly, and darkness engulfed everything around us. I was working quite a long distance from home and did not have my car with me. Transport was limited, as some bus drivers were too afraid to drive. I sat down and started writing; even if I could not write about the game, I still had some news. I got on a bus after a long wait. It stopped a few miles from the Marriott Marquis hotel, which meant that I still had a long hike ahead.

When I got to the hotel, I learned that they were not letting people into their rooms for safety reasons. We all slept in the ballroom, which became the biggest communal sleepover ever. The next day I heard that Fay Vincent, the baseball Commissioner, had announced the series’ postponement. I also learned that Candlestick Park had suffered some damage, with part of its upper deck collapsing. The game resumed ten days later.

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The earthquake, which was later named Loma Prieta, after one of the peaks of the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains, led to 3,757 injuries and 63 deaths in the affected regions. A few foreshocks had occurred earlier that year and in the previous year as well. The soil in Oakland and San Francisco was unstable, leading to many damages. Two thousand six hundred businesses were damaged, while 12,000 homes were destroyed. Ground ruptures, landslides and sand volcanoes were some of the other effects of the earthquake. One point four million people were left in the dark after power lines failed. Transport was also affected due to cracks on roads and runways. Bridges collapsed, rendering roads impassable. The tragedy became one of the most expensive ones, leading to six billion dollars in damages. The tragic events are permanently engraved in my mind.


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