I should not be here. I started all wrong. I was misguided, stupid now that I think about it. I fell in love with sports writing when the sports part was all I knew. I was raised on Jim Kelly, not Jim Murray. I spent Sundays with Jerry Rice, not Grantland Rice. To me, Tom Osborne's Big Red football dynasties justified breath. Red Smith? Let's talk Emmitt Smith instead.
Growing up, I relived football heroics below banana boat leaves of thick Kansas cottonwood trees. When friends were busy breaking bones on bicycles my heart bounced to the sweet sound of personal play-by-play. These memories are as golden as the foliage that crunched below my Converse shoes and remain the seedlings of a dream that sings today. The whispers will never silence, their echoes slicing through time like the static that spills from an antique radio:
"Option right … Tommie Frazier on the keep … Breaks a couple tackles … 35, 40 … Shakes a few more … 45, 50 … He finds room down the sideline … 35! 30! 25! 20! … He's gonna go! Holy cow! Touchdown! Touchdown! Touchdown, Tommie Frazier!"
Along the way, I fell in love with the written word. I cherished its music. The Dodge City Daily Globe's sports section taught me to read. As a young boy I chomped Cheerios over baseball boxscores. I gulped Grape Nuts and dusted donut powder from my cheek, all while chewing up story after story about the University of Kansas basketball team or perhaps another junior-college football player in trouble with the law. During my formative years, my education began not at a school desk long weathered by time, but rather a cherry-oak chair, my neck craned above newspaper copy as baritone bells nearby chimed in 7 o'clock.
Newsprint touched my conscience, tickled my nose. As one of my literary heroes, Willie Morris, best describes in his memoir, North Toward Home: "Books and literature, I was beginning to see, were not for getting a grade, not for the utilitarian purpose of being a nice and versatile boy, not just for casual pleasure, but subversive as Socrates and expressions of man's soul. It took me years to understand that words are often as important as experience, because words make experience last."
I read. I bought David Halberstam and Glenn Stout's Best American Sports Writing of the Century. I ordered anthologies and column compilations. Joe Posnanski, Bill Plaschke, Gary Smith, Dan Jenkins, Frank Deford and others tutored daily. They lectured from the blackboards of my bedroom, my legs sprawled across queen-sized sheets and feet crossed at the ankles with only the crisp sound of one page bowing to the next piercing the silence of imagination at work. The process continues.
More than 10 years later, I have not changed much. I am passionate about writing, about telling stories with a narrative voice. Someday, I hope to write long-form online enterprise pieces for a national organization. Perhaps for a magazine, too. But no matter my future canvas, the beginnings will forever speak to me. They will whisper on, continuing their waltz through time without pause for the slightest of delays:
"He's gonna go … Holy cow … Touchdown … Touchdown …"
General assignment for FOXSportsMidwest.com. Covered Rams, Blues, Cardinals, Saint Louis University basketball, Mizzou football and basketball and more throughout the region. Duties included coverage of the 2011 World Series, '11 and '12 MLB playoffs, '11 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, '11 STP 400 at Kansas Speedway, '12 NHL playoffs, '12 MLB All-Star Game, '12 MVC/Big 12/NCAA Tournaments and Mizzou's transition to the SEC. Was a guest on various Rams draft and training camp videos for FOXSports.com. In fall '12, was a regular guest on KMOX's "Sports on a Sunday Morning" with Ron Jacober. Stories regularly appeared on FOXSportsLocal.com, FOXSports.com and MSN.com as well. Based in St. Louis.
Worked as a Pulliam Fellow in the Indianapolis Star sports department for 10 weeks. Live and feature work throughout central Indiana of the Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400, NASCAR Nationwide Series and Truck Series races, WNBA's Indiana Fever, regional amateur golf tournaments, U.S. Auto Club events and other GA coverage. Filmed an online video with Playboy Playmates. Traveled to Cincinnati for a section-front piece about Reds third baseman Scott Rolen.
Wrote features and blog posts for ESPN.com Page 2, including three centerpieces during the New Orleans Saints’ Super Bowl run. Wrote a cover story for The Kansas City Star Ink Magazine about Big 12 Conference basketball. Assisted with spring golf and running coverage for the New Orleans Times-Picayune.