Last weekend proved to be interesting for me. Our university was hosting a combined basketball tournament that featured both college and high school teams. I usually make plans to attend a number of the games, but this tournament was a little different.
One of the high school teams hailed from my former stomping grounds where I spent five years as the sports editor of the local paper. This particular town was known for high school basketball; not only the astounding success the team has had throughout the years, but the style of basketball which it has made famous in high school circles. This high school team is probably the only team in the Southwest that is allowed to run the score up on its opponents without opposing coaches getting upset. In fact, if the team ever stopped running its full-court press, the coach would be on the next bus out of town.
As I was sitting in my office on Wednesday afternoon I received a phone call from a old college buddy. He was instrumental in bringing me to the paper where we worked together for several years. I moved on, but he stayed there and in a few short years took over as managing editor. Anyway, he said his sports staff was a bit shorthanded and he needed someone to string for him. In laymen’s terms “string” means write stories about the games.
It has only been four years since I left that paper, and the coaches that I had become very familiar with were still in place. I said I would be happy to cover the games, provided he caughed up some cash. After 10 seconds of hard negotiations, we agreed on the terms of my contract labor and I went to work.
I spent the next three days covering the team and talking to people I had known in my previous life. It was nice to see them. We talked about old times and they all told me they wished I was still at the paper.
“The guy they have now is real green …”
“The sports section has really gone down hill since you left …”
“I wish you’d come back and save the paper …”
… were a few of the comments I heard.
The accolades were nice and a definite stroke to the old ego. Let’s face it, we all like to hear that we are better at something than the other guy. But I have to admit, hearing comments like that always makes me wonder … “What did these same people tell the guy that I replaced?”