Games People Play (and cover)

IMG_0130For going on 14 years, I’ve fielded one question more than any other.

“Do you miss sportswriting?”

Slivers of it, yes.

I miss the intellect of a Gary Ward. As Oklahoma State’s longtime baseball coach, he was a renaissance man in spikes, a human search engine who could engage on any topic. I always felt smarter after a Gary Ward interview.

I miss old Gallagher-Iba Arena, where it got so loud you couldn’t hear the person next to you. I miss the political incorrectness of Norm Stewart and Billy Tubbs. I miss pep bands, Ralphie the Buffalo and the oversized noggin of Pistol Pete.

I miss the humility of John Smith. He won six world championships in wrestling, including two gold medals, and revolutionized the sport with his single-leg takedown. As an OSU coach, he could have been a jerk. Instead, he was a gentleman, as warm off the mat as he was aggressive on it.

I miss the reliability of Eddie Sutton. As a newspaper reporter, all you ask from sources is access. In six years covering OSU basketball, Sutton never failed to return a call.

What I don’t miss is pretty much everything else…

Open locker rooms. Impossible deadlines. 7 a.m. flights. Seven-day work weeks. Bowling. Two-a-day football practices. Tulsa Speedway. Top fuel drag racing. Soccer. Sunny Golloway. High school football recruiting. Midnight drives home on the Cimarron Turnpike and the bad breath of a certain cornerback.

Some of my best friends still write sports. I respect them. I admire the craft.

Our games are in good hands. I’m just glad they are no longer in mine.

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