I have a bookshelf, and I like to think that we’re friends. I built the bookshelf, so that ought to count for something. I’m no master furniture builder; I just don’t have the mustache for that job. This bookshelf is not Ikea, but it’s like Ikea. You get the picture. Anyway, the bookshelf is in the living room, so I’m always looking at it. The second shelf is starting to sag a little, and I like that. I think it adds some character. The second shelf is littered with books by Fitzgerald and Hemingway, and now it has a new occupant – my trophy from the Press Club of New Orleans for Best Sports Blog.
It has been a long time since I’ve won a trophy. Honestly, it’s been so long that I’m not really sure but I think it was in ninth grade football. And, I didn’t even get to be there because I had Confirmation at the same time. Believe me, I was as punky a teenager as one could be that night, but unfortunately, the Conner Colts football team still lost to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.
We, as adults, just don’t get that many opportunities to get our hands on trophies. Sure, we get certificates and congratulatory e-mails, or worse, your boss Jim brings in some pastries in honor of your latest accomplishment, and you have to stand there as he drones through a poorly thought out speech when all you really want to do is get at those doughnuts. That’s the usual these days, I guess.
But I got a trophy, for which I’m thankful, and there it sits on a sagging shelf, for my cat Cleo to look upon, and wonder if that’s something she should try to knock over. And, as with all individual trophies, it was a team effort.
So thank you to Kelly Massicot, our web editor that concocted this crazy idea of letting a known ne’er-do-well write in a public forum. She handles all things internet, and makes my stories look cool. Thank you to Melanie Spencer, editor of the Full Sport Press blog. She makes my sentences sing, and has been my biggest fan. And thank you to Errol Laborde, the man in charge at Renaissance Publishing, and Lifetime Achievement Honoree at the Press Club of New Orleans Excellence in Journalism Awards. Laborde is always the coolest cat in the room (and he ends all of his blogs with “-30-” which is old-timey newspaper lingo for, “end of copy.” How cool is that?). I truly learn something new about New Orleans every time I talk to Errol and his wife Peggy Laborde.
And, most importantly, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to visit my little corner of the internet, and writing in, and sharing a little about yourself. Week by week, more and more folks are showing up to read the blog, and I am truly humbled.
For the judges, we had to enter three of my stories into competition. In a tip of the hat to our teamwork, we all had different ideas on what was the best. Kelly picked, “The LSU Daze and Les Miles,” an article about that wacky week where Les Miles was surely going to lose his job. Melanie’s favorite, since the second I wrote it, has always been, “End of the Road.” My story about Isidore Newman’s Peyton Manning’s retirement speech – which I like to think is more original than most farewell stories. My pick was, “Games,” because I think it accurately captures my mindset when it comes to sports. In the story, I speak of Devon Gales from Southern University, who severed a vertebra and was paralyzed in a game versus the University of Georgia. In related news, as reported by wltx.com, Gales – through his hard work in rehab – has moved his legs again, in what is hopefully a precursor to other great things to come.
Sports are fun. Make no doubt about it. Hollywood wishes it could distill the drama created by sports, so they could sprinkle it all over their movies and sell it to you again and again. The highs and lows over the course of a few hours tends to be a great ride. And if you just remember it’s a ride, all will be well.
Which is why I write the way I write. I used to be way too involved in sports. Hell, I would cry any time Kentucky basketball lost a game until I was 12 years old. OK, maybe it was until I was 20 years old. But, things change, and I’m happy to watch a game just for what it is – a game. Sure, I may still get a little grumpy over a loss, but that doesn’t last longer than my next beer these days.
Life’s too short. Let’s have some fun. That’s why I inject comedy whenever I can. Why write another rankings of college baseball like everybody else, when I can rate the teams and talk about those delicious daiquiris as well? It just makes sense. Why regurgitate stats, the downfall of so many sports writers, when I can take you on a trip down the Gulf Coast with me? What’s more fun, reading that some guy batting clean up is struggling at the plate, or hearing that a 15-year-old girl, upon seeing two semi-pro wrestlers grapple their way into the men’s bathroom, shout at me, “This is epic!” See?
Once again, thank you for your time, my sisters and brothers. If you see me at the Prytania Bar, Kingpin or Erin Rose – stop by and say hello. It’ll be a good time. And in the spirit of competition – the healthy kind – I look forward to repeating as your champion next year, and adding another trophy to a sagging shelf.
Beer Pairing: Champion Brewing’s “Positive Jam” Wheat Ale
Playlist Recommendation: Prince – “Baby I’m A Star”