I’m Part of a New Podcast

Long time readers of this blog know that from late 2016 through mid 2017, I was part of a comedy podcast by the name of Everyone is Funnier Than Us. That podcast came to an end in July of last year. Since then, I’ve been playing around with various ideas, trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. I poked around a few ideas involving blogging and podcast recording over the back half of 2017. I even considered going back to doing YouTube videos1Not that I had a brief stint doing that in 2015 or anything.. And though during that time I did stand up the freelance editing work I do, as well as start on a new writing work in progress, I didn’t have any new creative endeavors come to fruition.

Well before the end of my last podcast — from September 2006 through December 2008, to be more specific — I was the host of a sports radio show on a college AM radio station. That show, The Two Minute Drill, was a rapid fire sports show in the vein of Around the Horn or Pardon the Interruption, only with weird news and hosts who didn’t totally know what they were doing. While most of the sports radio shows in our college organization focused solely on sports, The Two Minute Drill routinely branched out, having multiple musical guests, hosting an on-air wing tasting contest, and even getting a nasty email from a member of university leadership at the University of Delaware2We did a couple of segments how the University of Delaware refused to play another in-state program, Delaware State University. Rumors had circulated at the time that this was because members of the U of Delaware leadership staff didn’t want to face a university that was a HBCU. In my youthful hubris, I emailed the segments we did to the president of the University of Delaware. I got a not so pleasant email back from a representative of the school saying that it was none of my business what U of Delaware did, but they appreciated my interest in their institution.. The show ended shortly after I graduated in 2008, but was one of the more popular shows on air at the station during its two-year run.

I say all of this to introduce the newest project I’m part of, a sports podcast named We Were Kind of a Big Deal in College.

We Were Kind of a Big Deal in College features a similar format to what the original Two Minute Drill show did. I’m the host of the show, and on each episode of the show, I will present questions to each of our three panelists, Mike Lampasone, Brian Fisher, and Tim Kilkenny. The panelists debate those questions — some sports related and some not — in an effort to get arbitrarily get points throughout the course of our show. The reward for earning the most points? You get to plug whatever you want at the end of the show. In recording our first show, our winner didn’t seem to understand the concept of what plugging something meant, so we’re picking up right where we left off.

You can listen to We Were Kind of a Big Deal in College on iTunes and other podcasting platforms. You can also follow the show on social media platforms, such as our currently blank Instagram account. At this point, we’ll likely be doing this podcast monthly, though we’ll see if that timeline changes in the future.

As Cool As The Other Side Of The Pillow

Story time.

Roughly 11 years ago, I was a sophomore in high school. Like many high school students, I was struggling with the decision as to where I wanted to go to college. I was considering many different institutions3Including a pair of well-known schools in the Midwestern USA, while comparing them to a local-ish public institution that I ended up attending. The decision took me just over a year to make, and was heavily influenced by my desire to attend the same school as my high school sweetheart4Though I refused to admit this to myself or to her at the time, it was very much the truth..

I did, however, think that I knew what I wanted to do with my life at that point in time. I was very convinced that I wanted to be a sports talk show host. My fascination with sports and my realization that I wasn’t good enough to play sports in college had finally merged the year prior, so I saw sports broadcasting as a way to stay close to the games I loved, while developing my own voice in the process.

It wasn’t that far-fetched of an idea. Whenever I played sports video games, I’d turn down the volume and provide my own play-by-play and color commentary. When my brother, my cousins, and I played backyard football/kickball games, one of my cousins would dutifully keep statistics so that I could enter them in an Excel spreadsheet afterwards. I even did newspaper-style writeups of the games after the fact, much to the delight of my younger cousins, who were amused by seeing their names typed on a piece of paper in Courier font.

I went off to college in the fall of 2006. I began volunteering for one of our college’s radio stations shortly thereafter, and started my first sports radio show, The Two Minute Drill, with a couple of friends. We had a two-and-a-half year run before I graduated, in which we got kicked off air once5Much to my dad’s disappointment, it wasn’t for violating FCC rules, rather an extremely tiny radio station technicality that resulted in a one-week suspension., hosted two eating contests, three live bands, and subjected Grantland writer/editor Mallory Rubin (then working for Sports Illustrated) to what was likely the single worst interview of her life6The context of said interview was awful and is arguably my only regret from college, though that’s a story for another post.. The show was as disjointed and yet flowing in its format as I was, and I brought The Two Minute Drill its trademarked style.

I say all of this to bring up the fact that one of the two people who inspired me to try media as a career died yesterday. Stuart Scott passed away at the age of 49 after a lengthy battle with cancer. While I am not an African-American, Scott was one of the few sports commentators that really resonated with me in my youth. The passion, flair, and professionalism with which he spoke made Scott one of the most talented and well-respected speakers in an industry full of them. And yet, Scott is perhaps best known for his catchphrases that he intertwined into calling highlights. Prior to Scott, announcing highlights was merely a retelling of a story. After Stuart Scott came on the scene, it became a work of art.

The impact that Scott had on sports media goes well beyond the addition of “booyah” to the average American’s vocabulary. He served as a groundbreaking figure toward the growth of African-Americans in sports media, particularly at ESPN itself. In many of ESPN’s tributes to Scott yesterday, his coworkers spoke of how great of a person Stuart Scott was to go along with his verbal skills7Sage Steele’s story about Scott stood out to me. Go here and scroll down to the section labeled “Friend” if you want to read her story.. His speech last year at the ESPY’s detailing his fight with cancer was as uplifting and as moving as a speech as you’ll hear anyone give8It could even move people who say cancer is an over-publicized disease to tears, not that anyone in their right mind would actually say that…right?.

During my final semester at college, I realized that I didn’t want to work in sports media anymore. There were people who viewed sports as a life-or-death matter, and those people — fans, as they greedily call themselves — place far too much emphasis on what’s happening on the field. To me, Stuart Scott will always be the antithesis of that very ideology. He was a man who viewed sports as a for of entertainment — one that he enjoyed very much, but also something that was always secondary to the truly important things in life.

The Sports Dichotomy

I’m going to try my hardest to make an effort to not talk sports on this blog. If there’s anything I’ve learned in writing blog posts across various places in the last 3-4 years, it’s that the majority of readers who like my regular posts don’t care about sports. That said, every once in a while there’s a sports story that has a social message that makes me ask what people are thinking. This is one of those times.

Following a flurry of injuries over the past two seasons, questions surrounded the basketball future of Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. After a recent practice and recent minor injuries, Rose was asked how his mindset has changed following his run of injuries. Rose’s response is below.

“I’m good, man. I felt like I’ve been managing myself pretty good. I know a lot of people get mad when they see me sit out or whatever, but I think a lot of people don’t understand that … when I sit out it’s not because of this year. I’m thinking about long term. I’m thinking about after I’m done with basketball. Having graduations to go to, having meetings to go to, I don’t want to be in my meetings all sore or be at my son’s graduation all sore just because of something I did in the past. [I’m] just learning and being smart.” – Derrick Rose

I’ve bolded that last part because it seems to be the part of the quote that everyone’s having issue with. Rose gave his quote Wednesday((I’m going to guess it was in the morning based off of when ESPN wrote their article about it, but I’m not positive, as the article I found had a 1pm publish time)), which lead to copious amounts of Sports AnalysisTM on talk radio the following day. Radio hosts and fans alike verbally destroyed Rose, with their basic point being that Rose is a selfish player, and that he should be more committed to his team. Some went as far as to say that Rose should be ashamed for not being on the court for fans who pay good, hard-earned money toward his salary.

It was at that point I was reminded of why I stopped wanting to be a sports radio talk show host.

At one point in my life, I wanted to work for ESPN for a living. I even went to college to get my bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting because of how badly I wanted to have my own sports talk show. About two years into my time at college, I realized that people care far more about sports than I do((Granted, at this point I was a semester away from graduating, so it was too late to change my major and not royally screw myself financially. That said, I don’t think my alternative options of being a Spanish or geography major would have been much better)). People get really offended when the players playing for their favorite teams don’t live up to their (the fans’) expectations.

If you’re one of the people offended by Rose’s philosophy, or feel that his sports career and living up to his contract are things that are more important than his son’s graduation or a business meeting later in life, I have a single question for you. Would you feel the same way if the person saying those words were a family member? What if it were your best friend, your parents, your child, or your spouse feeling that way about protecting their future? Would you react with the same vitriol and disdain that you do now towards a famous athlete with a large contract?

Of course you wouldn’t((Unless you’re a dick.)). Most people want those they love to not only be healthy and happy now, but also in their future. Just because you don’t know someone personally does not give you the right to take away their future happiness as a trade off for your instant gratification. While athletes are certainly placed in a pantheon that separates them from how many of us have to work day to day at our jobs, this does not take away their basic right to have a happy and healthy future. Anyone claiming otherwise is wrong.