It's amazing how some people care about sports.
This has been an interesting few weeks for me. I've been on loan to the sports department. Me, and sports. It's like putting Nicole Richie in charge of the buffet table.
Our friend Les called the other day and talked to Kim, and she told him what I was doing.
When he stopped laughing, Les told her he'd have to call me and talk sports. It probably should be sports movies, however, instead of the real thing. (And no, I haven't seen "Million Dollar Baby" yet.)
Now, I've done a little bit of everything in the newspaper business — except sports. I haven't run the press, although I hope at some point I'll at least get to push the button that starts it.
It takes someone who really likes sports — who eats, breathes and lives sports — to cover it. I watch the Cubs sometimes, listen to the Cardinals on the radio because I've always listened to the Cards on the radio and on occasion watch a little football, mostly for the commercials.
Sometimes I'll take in a little basketball. The only sport I've made any effort to follow is racing, and that's mainly been because of Mark Martin.
So, you see, I nibble, sniff and occasionally make a little time for sports.
Fortunately, we have a couple of guys here who are a bit more attuned to sports than I am, and they do most of the legwork, the real coverage, and a pretty darn good job, if I may say so.
I've just been putting the section together as best I can. One thing I've discovered is just how seriously a lot of people take sports.
Run out of room for the baseball standings one day, and some folks get purely bent out of shape.
Who cares about the stock reports, who cares about what's happening in Washington, they want to know about their baseball teams. On occasion it's been suggested I do something that would be physically impossible to achieve because we didn't get in what somebody wanted in the paper.
People take games seriously. It doesn't matter if they're baseball, football, basketball, golf, tennis or tiddly-winks, people take these things quite seriously, almost religiously. Some of the television sports folks even remind me of televangelists with their ardor.
I'd say if the sports gig falls through for some of these guys, they could make a fortune hawking used cars in commercials. Some of these sports show hosts are so energetic and enthusiastic you have to wonder if they just inject straight caffeine and sugar into their blood streams.
I saw one announcer who was so hyped he reminded me of a guy in college who pulled three all-nighters in a row prepping for final exams by imbibing coffee by the gallon, popping No-Doz like they were M&Ms and washing it all down with Mountain Dew.
Yes, we had Mountain Dew when I was in college. We also had electricity and indoor plumbing.
Actually, I think I've learned more about the vast interest in sports more than I have about the sports themselves these past few weeks. I do know that the Razorbacks are putting a lot of faith in the hands of a kid who's fresh out of high school, the dreaded Yankees are knocking at the World Series door again, and Terrell Owens should get down on his knees every night to say thanks for getting $25 million to be the biggest crybaby the Dallas Cowboys have ever seen.
I've also learned to make sure folks get their baseball standings. And golf results. And tennis winners. And college schedules. And ... well, you get the idea. I know I have.
Maybe if I just mainline caffeine, sugar and Mountain Dew and tune in "Sports Center" I'll catch a little sports fever. Or at least be able to stay awake for three days straight.