I’ll let you all in on a little
secret — writing a sports column isn’t as easy as you
might think. Every other week, I have one simple job: pump out 20
inches of text to be featured right here, as a column in the sports
The problem is, this week, I had no idea what to write
Does Rick Reilly ever have this problem at Sports
What about the Detroit Free Press’s Mitch Albom?
Well, since I’m obviously less talented than those guys
(and am handicapped by a full-time class schedule and no personal
research staff), I have no idea what to write about this week.
I’ve been thinking long and hard about my column. I came
up with an idea to write about diehard tailgaters before a Michigan
football game. Have you ever been driving past the Big House on a
Friday afternoon, and noticed the line of RVs already packing the
Pioneer High School parking lot? I drove by one day and thought
this could make an interesting column, so I spent last Friday
afternoon hanging out and talking with some of Michigan’s
most intense fans.
These guys have a few stories worth noting. It’s
interesting that some of the RV owners live just 15 or 20 minutes
away from the stadium, but camp out overnight just because they
have fun doing it. But a few interesting stories isn’t enough
to drive an entire column. Now my first, and seemingly best, column
idea was a bust.
I needed a plan B, and I needed one quickly. But much like Chad
Henne when faced with a blitz on Saturday, I didn’t do a
great job adjusting. I thought during the football game and
afterwards for another column idea, but I still had nothing by the
time the game ended on Saturday.
I considered other things I could write about. I thought about
Michigan’s quarterback situation. I still support Henne
taking the snaps, and I didn’t like Lloyd Carr’s
decision to give Clayton Richard playing time on Saturday. I also
thought the rotation of players on and off the field on Saturday
was crazier than Gary Busey — did Jermaine Gonzales really
catch a pass on Saturday? At times, it was like Carr and company
were spinning a roulette wheel and sending out every player whose
number came up.
Then, I thought about my column again. Can I really fill up a
page with reasons why Carr is coaching Michigan like a dad coaching
Pop Warner football — just making sure everyone gets in the
game? This football column idea lasted about as long as the
So I started wracking my brain for other column ideas. What else
could I write about that people would find interesting?
I took a look at this week’s Best Buy flier. Tiger Woods
2005 and NHL 2005 are coming out this week for PS2, Gamecube and
Xbox (ironically enough, after the NHL owner’s lockout last
week). I thought about devoting this column space to sports video
games. Maybe I’d write bout Tiger and the NHL.
Then it hit me: maybe I should write about the King of all Video
Games, Madden 2005. Heck, I own the game. I know that there is a
Madden Monday Tournament at Scorekeepers during every Monday Night
Football game. I thought maybe I would head down there and check it
YES! I finally found my column idea. I felt like Tommy must have
felt after the postseason ban was lifted.
Then, I realized it wasn’t going to fly. My Monday night
class until 9:30 p.m. would keep me out of the bar for the Madden
tournament, and it sent me back to the drawing board for ideas.
Still no ideas I could work with. I flipped through
yesterday’s Daily while waiting for class to begin, and there
it was, the spark I was waiting for: Zach Borden’s review of
the new movie, “Mr. 3000,” starring Bernie Mac.
Yes! There’s my column idea — I’ll write
something about sports movies.
After all, sports movies have been making entertainment
headlines lately. “Mr. 3000” would surely have provided
the basis for some sarcastic comments about Mac’s career. But
there’s no way I could write a whole column about just one
So maybe I’d just expand my focus. I thought about some of
my favorite sports movies of all time, like Baseketball and Happy
Gilmore — maybe I could pull something together about these
But writing about sports movies is like playing defense against
Terrell Owens — if you’re not going to devote 100
percent of your effort towards tackling it, you shouldn’t
even try. And seeing as how I wrote this column in what some might
call the “last minute” (yesterday), I decided I’d
save my sports movies idea for later in the year, when I’ll
have more time to brainstorm and watch the “game films”
on my DVD player.
At this point, I got desperate. I even thought about writing a
non-sports column. Since I’m a sports editor, I don’t
know if that’s even allowed. Besides, even if it were,
I’d probably be better off skipping it. Have you seen
ESPN’s Page 3 lately? If there’s one lesson you can
learn from that disaster, it’s to keep your sports and your
So I continued to sit there and worry about my column idea. Then
I realized … maybe I shouldn’t worry about it at all.