The Grand Forks International lost its biggest fan last month.
Day-in, day-out, through rain and hail and back pain arising from sitting on concrete bleachers for hours on end and home runs and hotdogs and hamburgers and stories filed, Jacob Noseworthy captured it all for readers who couldn’t make it to the games and for viewers looking for an insider’s understanding of the tournament.
Jacob Noseworthy, 22, died on Sept. 19 in Victoria, B.C., where he was pursuing a degree in political science and journalism at the University of Victoria.
The news thumped the Grand Forks Gazette newsroom when we heard about our friend. Jacob had been our devoted GFI reporter for the past several years and had filled in on other assignments at the drop of a hat (not that he would drop his hat – it seemed Jacob was always sporting a nice ball cap).
For me, as someone new to Grand Forks, Jacob was an amazing ally who helped me get settled here. I had never watched a baseball game in my life, but during the 2019 GFI tournament, the aspiring reporter’s enthusiasm for the game kept me in my seat for much longer than I had planned. I once tried to decipher his notes on a ball game and found myself scrambling, like I was trying to break a code without a cipher. Magically, Jacob spun that methodical and detail-rich habit into great, daily recaps that brought the readers into his coverage.
Those recaps often arrived in my inbox somewhere between 3 and 4 a.m. Of course, that didn’t stop Jacob from packing his foam seat back to James Donaldson Park by 8:00 a.m. the next morning, after taking a quick nap to reboot for the day.
“Jacob, really, are the first few innings that important?” I remember asking him. “Take a break, be kind to yourself and rest up.”
The morning of the GFI final, July 1, I woke up to a text that said, “Sorry for the delay, I fell asleep writing my story last night and had to finish it this morning.”
He still sent the story in, well before the deadline I’d given him, and promptly took his place in the ballpark’s grandstand to take in yet another loaded day of baseball and back aches.
Jacob insisted that rest would come after the tournament was over. Apparently he slept nearly a full day after the final game on Canada Day.
He was devoted to the tournament, both as a reporter and a fan, just as he was to the many communities he belonged to. Jacob was a go-to wealth of information for anything political around here. Based in Victoria for most of the year, he also offered many keen insights over coffee and cookies about the goings on at the B.C. Legislature.
And the humour. Jacob’s jokes weren’t lazy slapstick comedy. Rather, they appeared crafted and witty, sometimes funny to only a niche audience. But all the time, he seemed to know who his relevant audience was. Once, a couple days after talking about cannabis stores and puns in news stories (something I often find myself editing out of articles), Jacob texted me out of the blue. He’d crafted a lede (opening paragraph) for a story I was telling him about, but it was laced full of puns and pot references. The clever sentence packed in the encyclopedic knowledge of local issues and wordcraft that we’d come to know Jacob for.
Before he left for Victoria on Labour Day Weekend, Jacob came by the office to say goodbye to all of us at the Gazette. We wished him a good year (and I would have said, “Enjoy the mozza sticks!” but I didn’t know about that part of his life – Jacob was quiet about his accomplishments).
But sitting beside him at the GFI, he was never quiet about baseball. If journalism’s mantra is “show, don’t tell,” then Jacob lived that very same way. His writing demonstrated his proficiency, his voice highlighted his mental encyclopedia and his smile declared his passion for his pursuits.