By Joe Torosian
“Nothing is as peevish and pedantic as men’s judgments of one another.”—Desiderius Erasmus
Boy, this will make you nervous.
It feels like I’ve never done it before. First instinct is to toe the water and ease in, but the best course—I know—is to dive in.
Okay…Here we go…
Over the summer I rented a car from Hertz in Pasadena. I came in wearing shorts and a Texas A&M tee-shirt (Courtesy of Andy VillaTheDevil). Start chit-chatting with the guy behind the counter. All that easy banter that goes nowhere. “So, business or pleasure?” … “Sounds great.” …And then came the crusher. The guy pointed to my shirt and said: “Hey, you guys (Texas A&M) got a new coach!”
And for the first time in my life when it came to sports, I was stumped. Completely stumped. I scanned my brain, certain an answer would come, tick…tick…tick… I knew Kevin Sumlin was gone…tick…tick…tick…
In turned into the most humiliating moment of my life concerning sports. I had to admit I didn’t know. The guy was still nice, we still had banter, but I saw on his face—the same face I know I flashed for years—a look that trying to talk this guy about anything meaningful in sports was a joke.
This bugged me so much that when I got home, I looked up and found out that the Aggies didn’t have a new coach but that Jimbo Fisher was returning for his second season. So even my Hertz guy didn’t know what he was talking about.
But it offered little comfort. I had backed away from the game I loved so much, the game I invested so much of my time writing about, learning about, and loving everything of…that I became an outsider. A common man who didn’t know.
That might be okay for some…But not for me (or any of us who made any sort of living in sports). You spend two decades or more writing sports there’s not one room you walk into where you don’t feel like you’re the most informed person when it comes to sports.
The term that fits is; pedantic. Lover of details, minutia, and letting people know it. (I can name the backup quarterback on every losing Super Bowl team and the college they went to. Pedantic. I am pedantic.)
You enjoy going to a baseball game or sitting in a restaurant and hear people—who think they know—talk about sports. You enjoy starting a fake conversation with your sportswriting friends and start referencing Michael Jordan has Reggie Jordan who played for the Cincinnati Cyclones.
You enjoy it, even more, when the ignorant sports fan gets a big smile on his face and dives into your conversation—uninvited—to correct you.
And it is positively bliss when you and your friends course-correct in front of the buttinski and recount all of Michael Jordan’s career from North Carolina’s NCAA title in 1982 through his six-titles with the Chicago Bulls.
These are special moments. Special because you always knew your business. Except…now…during that moment at Hertz Rental in Pasadena I didn’t know. And I had a choice to make. Was I going to keep drifting out of orbit from planet sports or was I going to come back to the thing I know?
I decided to come back. It was time to launch the website I’d been putting off for two years.
I’m not going back to the sidelines, I’m not writing about soccer, I’m not writing about the Los Angeles Kings until they make the playoffs, and I’m going to—gasp—make an effort to get back into the NBA.
And, of course, football.
So much rust, so much catching up to do…But it all starts now.
The Dude abides…
Author of “Tangent Dreams: A High School Football Novel” … “Temple City & The Company of The Ages” … “The Dead Bug Tales” … “The Dark Norm” & “FaithViews for Storm Riders”…all five available through Amazon.com.
Follow Joe on Twitter @joet13b