Growing up in Silver Spring, Alex Flum had a hard time choosing between basketball, football, hockey and baseball. He loved them all. Today Flum, 25, is an on-air sports reporter for WDVM 25, primarily covering the high school sports beat in Montgomery County and the surrounding area, as well as college teams, including his alma mater, University of Maryland College Park, where he earned his degree at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
The recipient of the star student award from the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism, Flum recently received an alumni award from Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School.
What sports did you play as a kid?
I liked to play pick-up basketball and pick-up football. In middle school, I played on the boys’ basketball team. I loved to play and I thought I was way better than I was. I always joke that in my two years of playing middle school basketball, I managed to score one point. Quite an accomplishment!
Mazal tov! There’s the old Jewish joke that the great Jews in the Sports Hall of Fame is small enough to fit in a closet. Is there any truth to the stereotype that Jews are bad at sports? We know plenty of Jewish owners, managers and coaches, but are there more Jewish players in recent years?
I don’t know the official numbers, but if I had to guess, there were probably more Jewish athletes in the past. But then again, today there are more athletes overall, so maybe the percentage of Jewish athletes might be lower now, but the numbers are higher because, with Title IX, we have a boom in women’s collegiate sports, which led to a boom in professional women’s sports.
There’s the Wizards’ Deni Avdija, who’s Israeli, and in football Anthony Frisker of the Tennessee Titans is Jewish. I do think a good number [of Jews] are playing today.
As a sports reporter, can you bring your Jewish values into your reporting work? If so, how?
Growing up, I always learned to be the best person you can be, and treat others well. In sports that’s important, but I think it applies in any field.
One of the values I learned at [Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School] is tikkun olam, which directly translates to “repair the world.” There are a lot of athletes or others in the sports world who try to do something to positively impact the world … like [activist and former football player] Colin Kaepernick or [Olympic runners] John Carlos and Tommie Smith, who raised their fists in the  Olympics. The league or some other power may try to shut it down, but it’s our job as reporters to give the athletes their voice to help make that change happen. Throughout history, sports can really jumpstart things that lead to changes in society.
You were recently an honored CESJDS alumnus — class of 2014 — at the Head of School Circle Celebration. How does that feel?
CESJDS is where I got my start in sports reporting. And it’s where I developed as a person and made a lot of relationships with so many friends who I’m still close with today. I was just really honored to be chosen. It meant a lot.