I DIDN'T ALWAYS WANT TO BE A BASKETBALL COACH
Well, not a college coach, anyway. The idea of eventually being a high school boys coach was always percolating somewhere in the back of my mind. Probably by my junior year of high school, it was the career path I knew I'd eventually pursue (and, of course, never did).
Before that, though, I was going to be a writer. A sports writer, to be more specific. While a student at Hazelwood Junior High
I had a fantastic 7th grade English teacher who was extremely encouraging of my writing. Two years later, I had her again for Mass Media, where freshmen students published a weekly newspaper as well as the yearbook. Needless to say, I became the sports editor, much to my delight. The following year, much more to my amazement, I was one of three students who became the first sophomores ever at New Albany High School to join the newspaper staff. Considering the company
of the other two
, I was pretty honored by that...
And so, as a sophomore in high school, I started thinking about my career. And I knew exactly what I wanted to do. It was during that year that The National
started. The venerable Frank Deford was the editor and he assembled a Dream Team of writers from newspapers around the nation as well as Sports Illustrated
. This was what I pointed towards. Two more years of high school, four years of college, then work my way onto the staff. The National was an all sports daily newspaper that would appear in ever major U.S. metro area. All sports, all the time. Pre-internet, pre-ESPN domination, this was a radical idea.
And then, as quickly as it captured the imagination, it was no more
. Maybe it was idea whose time was too soon, maybe the logistics were just too fantastic. But after only a year, it shut down for good. And my dream died with it.
That same year, Elizabeth moved to Muncie, another tough blow. I considered her my superior writing-wise and everything I did was to push myself to be as good as her. With my peer gone and my goal shattered, I lost a lot of interest in sports writing as a career. Thoughts of coaching took center stage, although it would take several twists and turns before I wound up working with college women.
Maybe one day I'll take up writing seriously again. I have all sorts of potential book ideas I'd like to explore. But there's still a part of me that wishes I'd taken a different path fifteen years ago and tried to join people like Bozich, Lupica, Ryan and Albom.
Labels: career, writing