As I stated all the way back in the pilot, I’m in high school. This blog started because I couldn’t get a Journalism class to run in high school as a Junior. To update that, now I’m a Senior and Journalism did run (and, it’s going well!). With Senior comes college applications as well and I’m no exception. The application to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is no different. Their writing supplement asks the question, “Why do you do what you do?” which got me in some deep thought. Why exactly do I write about sports?
As for the why, because sports are a testament to everything I believe in. They read like great novels and play out like the famed dramas of ancient Greece. There is no egregious lying where one person can sit and watch TV all day while the other works out and they will still look the same. No, playing sports takes hard work. Watching, listening, writing, and interviewing allow me to do what I love – write – while watching the thing I love, which is sports. It’s really a great gig.
Sports are like a play. No, wait, I don’t think Sophocles or Arthur Miller or even ole Willy Shakes himself could have come up with the agonizing catastrophe only to resolve by the complex denouement. With tragic heroes (Alex Rodriguez) and tragic flaws (NFL tackling methods), sports are the modern day drama.
Like David Ortiz hitting a Grand Slam after 15 straight innings of absymal ball, or Tom Brady tossing a touchdown pass with five seconds to go…the drama unfolds in front of you. Success and heartbreak, to be clutch and to choke. The greatness of sports lies in the sports themselves.
The day I knew I wanted to do what I do was the same day that I count my worst sports memory. September 28, 2007: I sat in Fenway Park and saw a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins. I was there with my father and my friend from school as well as his father. The Sox could clinch the division that night so it was a special game to win, all the Sox needed was a loss by the New York Yankees and they would capture the AL East. My friend Kyle and I were ten years old at the time so when we saw the then-hapless Baltimore Orioles trailed New York 9-6 in the bottom of the ninth with the legendary Mariano Rivera on the hill, we knew it was over. Or rather, we thought it was over. My friend’s father explained the situation and how Mariano had never, never ever ever, blown a three-run lead in the ninth and that Kyle had football practice early the next morning, therefore we should probably beat the foot traffic and head out. The agreement issued from my father and I were perhaps among the biggest regrets of my life. Of course, by the time we hit the Tobin Bridge, with Kyle and I at rapt attention to my father’s Palm Trio following the Orioles game, they had finished their improbable comeback and won 10-9.
We watched the Sox players burst from the dugout to come celebrate and shower fans with champagne…from the comfort of our living rooms two hours later. I remember clearly that SportsCenter was on in my living room and one of the anchor’s saying, “Can you imagine being a person that left that game early?” I didn’t have to imagine.
From that point on, I never wanted to miss a game; I never wanted to miss a moment of the magic that is the wide and wonderful world of sports. I never left a game early (even two-hour rain delays when the Sox were down by double-digit runs). I do what I do because I want to share these incredible, at times unbelievable, circumstances and games and feats of astonishing athleticism with everyone. One does not even have to love sports to enjoy them, but appreciate them? They are the dramas of the modern day, complete with epic conclusions that leave an audience gasping. That is why I do what I do.