Memories of a sportswriter

What would I have done with my life had I notdone what I did?

Pardon the carelessness and shoddiness of that sentence, but it’s a question I’ve asked myself many times through the years.

I was almost predestined to do what I do, I believe. My love for sports was so enormous when I was a kid. It was imperative for me to find a line of work that would at least keep my toe in the water of sports. Being a sportswriter has accomplished that goal.

But if this hadn’t worked out, then what?

I have no business sense, at least none of which I’m aware. I keep a mean checkbook and have managed to get close to the grand old age of 60 (can it be?) without sinking into an abyss of debt. So maybe business would have worked out. Perhaps I would be a CEO of a Wall Street company today under different circumstances.

It’s nice to dream.

Law enforcement?

I took a couple of criminal justice classes at Wichita State because this is an interesting field. But at some point I made the decision not to pursue being a cop, even though I have always been fascinated by what they do. I used to go on patrol with police officers occasionally and I always asked to ride with the guys working the third shift in the toughest parts of town. I wanted action. I don’t know how I would have done working security at the mall or writing traffic tickets on East Kellogg.

Chef?

Only one problem. I never learned to cook. But I do watch a food show on television now and again and am amazed by the ability some of these guys have. Cooking for a living might be fun, yes? No?

Something in baseball?

It’s the sport I love the most, you know. And I have always thought I would have made a good manager, coach, general manager, scout, etc. I have always paid attention to the technicalities of baseball. I think I could have made something of myself in the game. But we’ll never know, will we?

Musician?

Pie in the sky, you say? I can carry a tune, I’ve been told. And I do love all kinds of music. But what does it say about me that I never had the gumption to learn to play an instrument? I think it says a lot about me, and none of it is good. You would think that a “music guy” like myself would not have shied away from the work and time it would take to learn to play a guitar, for instance. My life would have been immeasurably enhanced by the ability to play the guitar, yet here I sit without that ability. I’m disgusted with myself.

Architect?

Too much math and science. It’s that fear of those subjects that immediately eliminated me from many well-paying jobs and left me with minimal options. I became intimidated by math at the Algebra level. In science, it was chemistry that did me in. And it wasn’t like I aced biology, either. Building and designing things is a talent I greatly admire, but I’m not even in that discussion.

Attorney?

Somewhere in my youth, ethics and principles became important to me. Which meant I could no longer be a lawyer. Ha ha, that’s a joke for all my attorney friends.

Road construction worker

When I was a small child, I was enamored by road-making equipment such as bulldozers, dump trucks, graders, cranes. Anything that was yellow and used to make or improve roads. I can’t explain my fascination, but my parents used to tell me that I talked all the time about how much I wanted to operate one of those machines and work on roads. So why didn’t I go for it? Because I found out how hard those people work, that’s why? I’m perfectly fine with a “desk job.”

My career, truthfully, landed in my lap. I don’t recall there being a specific day when I said: “I’m going to be a sportswriter.” It just happened because of my love of sports and a realization that I had an aptitude for writing.

Initially, I was determined to become either: A) The radio voice of the St. Louis Cardinals; or, B) The radio voice of the Wichita State Shockers. I took a portable tape recorder to Derby high school basketball and football games and worked on becoming a broadcaster. I wasn’t bad, either. But doors to broadcasting didn’t open. Instead, I landed in newspapers.

I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do. Sorry, I borrowed a Joe Walsh lyric there.