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I would tell you about the Big 12 tourney, but my stomach hurts

Saw a story in the paper. Local sports columnist wrote a piece from the road. Lots of punctuation. Very straightforward. Very punchy. Very daily newspaper. I used to be a daily guy. Didn't agree with me.

I decide to give it another shot. I resolve to cover the men's Big 12 basketball tournament like a daily guy. It will be like method acting--I will immerse myself in the role. I will be remade. I will use a pseudonym for my byline. Call me John E. Miami now.

I will dress poorly. I will use many quotes. I will take every media packet offered, even if I don't/can't use it. Above all, I will be a glutton. I will gorge myself on free food.

OU coach Kelvin Sampson applauds our journo's attempt to write a real newspaper column.
Big 12 Conference
OU coach Kelvin Sampson applauds our journo's attempt to write a real newspaper column.

I will write it all like that local sports columnist--straightforward, punchy. I will steal his idea: a column with no direction, a "scene piece." Besides, I'm lazy.

Day 1

Opening-round games...Texas A&M vs. Iowa State? Who needs this? I'd rather park far away. Or give up my expense account. Too nice outside for this--75 and sunny. I'm going back to the hotel...or the hotel bar...

Day 2

The quarterfinals...I'm here, at the American Airlines Center, to work. I make my way to the workroom--where I will work. There are other scribes tapping at their keyboards. They think they're better than me, I can tell. They're not. I've won awards. That's how we daily newspaper men measure our schwantzes. Big Award means Big Schwantz. Screw them, I've been on TV...

I'm hungry. It's 10:30 a.m. The gratis buffet doesn't open until midafternoon. But there are snacks...

It's 11 a.m. My belly is full of cashews and soda. I'm ready to watch basketball. I live for basketball. March is a good month. Don't bad-mouth March. It's Madness, that's what they say. (Note to self: Clichés make writing easier!) Need to write something soon. Deadline is fast approaching. The editors will be angry if I file late. F them. They don't know what it's like out here. It's hard. The stats are fed to you. The quotes are fed to you. The game is fed to you. But I must write. So much pressure. So many tasty, salty treats to distract me...

Kansas is killing Iowa State in a quarterfinal. Impressions on the Jayhawks: smart, fast, tall, good. That's it--I can't concentrate. They sat me near the Cyclone cheerleaders. They are all young and pretty. I'm thinking baaaad thoughts...

Mizzou is tied with Oklahoma State at the half. Tigers head coach Quin Snyder looks the way Gatsby would if he were flesh and blood. Cowboys coach Eddie Sutton looks the way a hound dog might if it were dead and decaying...both teams are scrappy...Mizzou upsets OSU. When the NCAA pairings are announced later, and OSU draws the Penn Quakers, I plan on betting heavily on the Philly boys in an upset. Call it a hunch...

Texas Tech is hammering Texas...Longhorns guard TJ Ford is very good. He is better than me...Perhaps I'll write about him. Perhaps I'll eat more first...Texas loses. It should cost them a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance, but it won't...Either way: Happy trails, Longhorns. (The puns. I love 'em.)...

Oklahoma is smacking Colorado...The Sooners are deep. They are good. Guard Hollis Price makes them go. They will do well in the NCAA tournament because they are a team...there's no "me" in team. Or is it "I?" Whatever...Colorado coach Ricardo Patton likes to use his bench. Maybe too much. He subs at nearly every whistle. The guy next to me has one shtick. Each time there's a stop in play, he yells "Sub!" Funny stuff...

I'm not feeling well. Today's food tally: 2 1/2 cookies (couldn't finish one), tortilla chips, 2 Caesar salads, 2 large cups of cashews, 3 small cups of Paciugo gelato, 3 pieces of pork, tortellini Alfredo, 3 slices of bread with butter, 1 loaded baked potato (sour cream, cheese, bacon, chives), strawberry shortcake, brownie wedge, untold cups of coffee and soda.

I wish that were a lie.

Day 3

Deadline looms. Still haven't written anything. I'm screwed. (I'm also ignoring the irony in writing about not writing. I am undeterred. I am a daily guy.)...

I told myself I wasn't going to eat today. I've already consumed six slices of pizza and a piece of pineapple upside-down cake. I've got to stop this...

First semifinal. Kansas is heavily favored. A win against Mizzou will guarantee them a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs. They're a lock...I'm a fool. Mizzou is deep in guards. From what I understand, "if a team has two good guards, pick it to win." I should have known. The Tigers pull it out and advance to the championship...

Just heard one of the AAC security guards tell a co-worker "...the media will steal it." Not sure how that sentence began. Doesn't matter. The guard was right...

Second semifinal. Texas Tech is the fan favorite against OU, but still an underdog. The Raiders need to win the Big 12 to make the Big Dance...

Perry Mann works for ESPN and the Dallas Mavericks. He also looks just like Texas Tech guard Nathan Doudney. Mann is shorter. Doudney shoots better. But they could be scale models of each other. "You scare me," Mann says. "That stuff you think in your head makes me nervous." Yeah, me too...

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