The Post Game Show

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bedtime Stories with Uncle Hucklebuck

Gather 'round kids, it's storytime! Ol' Uncle Hucklebuck has a tale for y'all full of friendship, hidden feelings, and the overall disappointing feeling of letting one get away. Now I need you kids to pay attention, because this story does indeed have a moral to it.

Once upon a time, in a far off land where friendship between men and women is code for "f*** buddies," there was a guy; chubby, not very high on himself, but focused on his goals and dreams of becoming a great sports writer. He had been in this far off land for three years, but pretty much had resigned himself to never making positive progress with the women at this particular place. In fact, at the beginning of the year, a rather loose female had tricked him into thinking she was looking for just friendship, when in reality she was an open bun for nearly everyone's hot dog in the far off land.

Enter a young, freshman girl who attended an interest meeting at our hero's place of work. She took note of our friend's high quality humor that seemed to make everyone at the meeting chuckle (our boy doesn't necessarily think he's funny, although he's been told on the contrary several times). The more she contributed to the effort of the job, the more she and our pal became friends. They felt comfortable talking to each other about life, school, and their shortcomings with the opposite sex. Very personal things that were not meant to be, and will not be shared.

Our homeboy has always been wary of women offering friendship to him. Scenarios of women who are more than friendly with other guys run through his head daily, driving him up a wall and leading him to believe that there is no such thing as platonical friendships between the sexes.

However, our young girl proved him wrong over time, being there to listen to his gripes on several occaisions, cracking hearty jokes about anything and everything, and giving well-placed advice, showing herself to be a genuine, sincere, all-around good friend.

Just recently, she was happy to break the news of a new love in her life to our chubby, not so high on himself friend. He sat, listened and smiled, honestly happy that she met someone who was deserving of her. Inside, he could not help but feel disappointed in himself that he did not try to advance things with his true female friend. The guy that won her heart seems to be alright, and that's what really mattered to our friend. Yet, he wondered if he should've been the one asking her out, complimenting her on her looks, and asking if she would be more than friends with him.

Oh, but our friend knew better. He knew that it would be downright selfish, unfair, and just a bad time to tell her how he really felt. So he will continue to be a good friend to her and be happy for her, and try to sort out his own mess as time wears on.

Moral of the story, kiddies: A closed mouth doesn't get fed. Uncle Hucklebuck knows this, and so does our friend. Maybe our friend isn't ready for more than friendship, maybe the friendship with the young girl is a good start in the right direction. But he'll never forget how he messed up, as he watched the one that got away.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Confessions of an HBCU Sports Writer

I've spent this last morning of Easter vacation reflecting on the last four years of my life, and it's been an interesting time to say the least. I've gone from a shy, timid kid who didn't even attend post game interviews in my first year, to nearly as good as reporter as I am a writer, which is key if you want a job in this business. I still remember my first on-site assignment like it was yesterday.

It was actually September 7, 2002, the Delaware State football home opener. I was expecting something of a close game, but obviously I didn't know the opponent too well. Savannah State was horrible then, and is horrible now, but a 41-9 win was not something I expected. Well, it makes for a good story since the team lost six straight after that game and finished the season 4-8.

Close to four years later, my time as Sports Editor of the Hornet newspaper is winding down, and even though I'll be back in the fall, lord willing covering football, I'm reflecting on times good and bad, great moments and low periods, and the overall blessings I've had in this position.

Even though Jameil says folks at bigger schools with better journalism programs aren't always the best writers, I can't help but wonder if I would've had the same opportunities had I taken a more direct path to college at one of the schools I lusted over in high school.

Could I have been a sports writer at the Hampton Script? The Hilltop? The CAU Panther? The Spokesman at Morgan State? The world will never know. I do know that attending DSU, being able to get my foot in the door in April of 2002 on some quickie writing samples and the faith of then-editor-in-chief Marisa Bazemore (nee Phillips), and being given free reign to do sports my way has made me a pretty good journalist and reinforced my passion for a business that I knew virtually nothing about when I enrolled at Del State in the fall of 2001. I knew I loved to write, but as far as AP Style, story structure and all of that, it was like trying to wean R. Kelly off of teenagers; really tough going.

I eventually found my feet and my focus thanks to Marisa and assistant editor Michael Feeney's neverending encouragement and being around USA Today Columnist and Trotter Group founding member DeWayne Wickham at least twice a week for a Media Law and Ethics class. Professor Wickham was the greatest resource as far as knowledge, experience, and success we had at DSU, so it would've been foolish for us not to seek him out, which a lot of folks did, and still do (count me among them).

With that support system in place, I grew as a writer, and last year was probably the greatest year ever as far as covering sports. The football team finished 7-4, and the culture of losing has disappeared under Al Lavan, probably forever.

Of course the men's basketball team's appearance in the NCAA tournament was without question the highlight of my young career so far, and I thank God for those five days in Richmond, VA where the greatest triumph in Hornet athletic history occured. That was like the perfect storm. My car was running right, I was no longer afraid of interviewing Coach Jackson or the players, and it all just fell into place that week. When I get to where I want to be, I'll always remember to thank Coach Jackson, his entire staff, and the 2004-2005 MEAC champions for helping jumpstart my career.

Of course, as a college sports reporter, you need to have a good rapport with the sports information department, who supply you with, well, information. Dennis Jones and Mike Rogers have gone above and beyond to help me with my job, and those two will always be the best Sports Information Department I've worked with, no matter what happens from this point forward. Two guys responsible for all 18 sports on our campus, yet they get their jobs done, smiling, telling stories and joking along the way. I'll always have fond memories of roadtrips with those guys clowning around about stuff I'm STILL sworn to secrecy about, so I'll keep my vow. Maybe in my memoirs a couple of decades from now, they'll let me talk about some stuff.

Of course, this is just my odd, different, heartfelt way of reflecting on the beginning of my journey, and I'm thankful to all of those that helped me along the way. And even though the end is near here at DSU, this is just the beginning of a longer journey, and I'm ready for wherever the trip takes me.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Incomplete thoughts on the Duke insanity

At 24 years old, I like to think my naivete isn't what it used to be. The halcyon days of Chris Stevens believing something just because it was told to him are so far gone. So why am I not buying this whole "no DNA means no rape" monologue being performed by the Duke Lacrosse team's attorneys? Simple, faithful TPGS readers. Because it's not true.

O.K., Kobe Bryant was stupid enough (or blinded by snow bunny lust, whichever you prefer) to not cover up his mistake in Eagle, CO three summers ago, and he had to endure public humiliation and a long process of having to rebuild his image. But Kobe didn't have the benefit of a college education, whether that's his fault or not is another story. These kids at a $43,000-a-year university aren't exactly low on the totem pole of intelligence.

That said, my theory is either they were smart enough to use condoms while assaulting this woman, or one of the players followed through on the suggestion of using a broom as a sex toy, or in this case, an assualt weapon. And if you think that broom is still sitting in that house, you are out of your mind. There's too much white privlege for these kids to even be charged, and it's quite unfortunate, because I really don't believe this woman is lying. We're talking about at least 46 white men, two black women, in a southern town where there's been a divisive element as far as race goes for quite sometime. This should be a case of putting two and two together, DNA evidence be damned.

What's really sad about this is that black women really could have irreperable damage done to their God-Given rights as human beings to live life without being sexually accosted and harassed by white men, which hasn't been widely reported, but you can believe it happens. All of it just reeks of bad news for society in general, no matter if anyone is found guilty or not.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Channel Chris: News You Can Use

Hey y'all, it's been a while since I've posted, that's because I've been dealing with some family and emotional issues that I'm trying to resolve as we speak. I hate the fact that I can never be happy, no matter what. For those that don't know, my grandmother is currently in a nursing home with dementia, and I went to visit her yesterday, which was great. She was well, recognized everybody, didn't say anything random or whatever, and she may even be able to come home soon.

That should've been great news, but this feeling of depression overcame me when I was driving back down the highway yesterday after the visit. I really don't know what the hell is wrong with me, but I need to find out. I hate being sad and I don't know why.

In other news, the Sixers continue to make me wish I was a fan of another NBA team. Even though they beat Chicago 89-75 last night to tie the Bulls for the final playoff spot in the East (the Bulls do have the tie-breaker), there's no way a team with Allen Iverson, Chris Webber, and a young star in Andre Iguodala should be out of the playoffs, let alone in the eighth spot. Ugh. After being a Sixers fan for close to 22 years, I may as well own up to the fact this team might never win a championship in my lifetime, and that A.I. will have to go somewhere else to get a ring.

Also, I'm really excited about this year's NABJ convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. This week, I'm going to try to kill all my birds with one stone this week by renewing my membership, mailing off my registration and then checking on flights and hotel rooms. Nothing is going to stop me from being there this August. I'll be job hunting and hanging out with some of the fine folks in the business I've met this past year. Hopefully that will be a bright spot. UNITY '04 was great, but this year I'm going solo to try and prove to myself that I can do things on my own without anyone's supervision. It's going to be tough, but I'm definitely going to give it a shot.

The weight loss struggles continue. I've gained another pound over the last two weeks, so my grand total for four months so far pound lost. How embarrassing. I need to get serious about this if I'm ever going to get it done and find some sort of happiness.

That's all I can think of right now, so until I can have one big thought and post about it, this will have to do for now. Hell, y'all read anyway because you love the kid, "could it be I'm from the 80s, they know what I'm up against..."o.k. that's the last time I'll ever quote Juelz Santana.