Egg in Your Beer
His Life Is Not a Happy One . . .
The athletic year is within two days of becoming history. This probably makes it a good time for the fledgling sportswriter to cast off his carefully cultured attitude of Olympian impartiality and incisive commentary to indulge in some personal complaints and reflections. This, after all, is how Bill Cunningham makes a comfortable living . . .
To begin with, the Harvard scribe faces the unpleasant task of writing about people whom he must face across the breakfast table the next day. This puts a premium on the ability to sugarcoat the English language to the point where a three-base error becomes merely a tough break. But even kindness of this sort is not enough to placate your athletes-critics, who constantly stantly try to corrupt your attempts to "Write 'em as you see 'em" by burdening you with their side of the story. This has even been carried to the point where a team-mate of an errant star interceded for him on the grounds that he was suffering from a hangover at the time of his shoddy deeds on the playing fields.
There are other difficulties. The Harvard newshound faces what is probably the world's most sarcastic readership, which makes every hurried cliche the subject of many cruel barbs. A Saturday sporting event is easy, because the publication schedule of this journal allows for a leisurely and calculated write-up, but the occasion of a night hockey game can strain any man's regard for the English language.
And then there is the complication that exam period or ablate data can offer. Both of these distractions have the same general effect; to wit, they dim the scribble's unflinching regard for detailed research and careful analysis, reducing him to what sometimes borders on wild guesswork.
Were such distractions our constant lot, however, sportswriting would soon lost its calling. The positive benefits of the trade center around the fact that the writer can enjoy all the excitement of athletics, avoiding at the same time all of the unpleasantness (i.e. the physical effort). This is a very tempting set-up, especially on cold November afternoons, when, clip-board in hand, the writer ascends to the relative warmth and comfort of the Soldier's Field press-box, whence he can gaze down in fine scorn on players and spectators alike.
And it is an excruciatingly pleasant sensation to descend from your parch at game's end and to stride a purposefully through the crowd, flaunting press passes and demanding entrance to the locker rooms. The petty officials delegated to guard such sanctums are inevitably a suspicious, lot, and it is indeed pleasant to brush these minions aside and enter to mingle with the great. Perhaps it is such moments as these which lead droves of young men to enter that underpaid and overworked field which is journalism.