Sunday, June 25, 2006

Monday morning quaterback

I held an interview recently with a young man, a very young man, who surprised me.

He was born sometime after I graduated high school so I didn’t really like him from the start.

He’s a good looking kid, strike 2.

He was a star athlete in high school and college- earning All- American rankings more times than I ever did my homework.

And then to top it off, he was really, really nice.

Now I was really beginning to hate him.

Many interviews I have with athletes are filled with the expected cliché comments that you would expect, like “gonna’ give it 110% percent”, “There's no ‘I’ in team” “God willin’ we’ll put a ‘W’ on the page”- and every other Bull Durham quote they can come up with.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, after all, the kids I interview are typically young- high school or college age. Between classes, part time jobs, and deciding who to take to the next dance (or whatever it is kids do these days) talking to a reporter for the local weekly probably doesn’t receive the advanced preparation that I would like to believe is necessary.

So last week, when I made arrangements to meet Travis Brennion at a local Mexican restaurant, I was expecting the typical responses to the typical questions- recalling the glory days of small town high school life and the challenges of college life away from home.

I was disappointed. And I have never been so happy to be disappointed in my life.

Mr. Brennion is a very likeable, very respectful young man that spoke with such admiration for his parents, such passion for his college, and such hope for his future that I walked away from the table with a deep respect for those that guided him and for a genuine interest for his future accomplishments.

I also walked away with salsa on my shirt.

I have much to learn about writing a story and capturing the true essence of a subject, and I hope that will come with experience. I know what was expected from the interview- a nice update on a local boy makes good thing. I think I captured that. But after reading what made it to print, the story was sorely lacking in the real story- what made this kid so special. The motivation from his dad, who suffers more health issues than any one person should need to bare, the guidance from coaches and mentors on the team that will continue throughout his professional life, the desire he has to continue in his sport helping kids develop the passion he has.

Now my job is to learn how, and remember to capture these things in future assignments.

After I file, I remember all the stuff I should have written down.

I think the secret is “enchiladas with every interview”.


Blogger Big Ben said...

I gave a few interviews as a high school and collegiate athlete, I always ended up saying something really stupid that would come back to haunt me.

6/25/2006 7:08 PM  
Blogger Tai said...

What a great way to be.

Handsome, nice, athletic and driven.
Top that off with a geniunely pleasant personality and you've got a Canadian!

6/27/2006 3:31 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Hey Pops thanks for your comment. Its great to have you back. Im not exactly clear on what you do, but I do know good kids are hard to find, and you should be glad you met one.

7/03/2006 11:40 PM  

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