Tuesday, September 29, 2015

No way (I would write that story)

The year was 1980, I think, and I was in my second (and last) year as sports editor for a small newspaper in South Carolina.

I'd heard of a kid who'd played basketball a couple of years earlier at the local high school, and that year he was playing basketball for a college elsewhere in the state. I asked the local high-school coach if that was worth a feature story, and he said no; he thought no one would be interested in a full-blown feature.

So I kept track of the kid and wrote a short update periodically. I probably wrote something short about the kid four or five times over a year and a half.

One day I was talking to a guy who had played football and basketball at the high school the previous year, so we knew each other. While we were talking at halftime, the basketball player's mother caught me in the hallway beside the open gym door. And with the former high-school star (now a starter for the University of Georgia football team) and a bunch of other folks watching (and listening) in shock, she yelled for at least five minutes.

It caused a disturbance, as everyone in the gym and hallway could hear her.

A few days later, she came to the newspaper office and yelled at my boss with me in attendance. He patiently listened, then told the woman that I was the best sports editor he'd ever had. If I didn't want to do a feature story on her son, he said, it was OK with him.

She was appalled, of course, since her yelling got her nowhere. She stomped out in a huff, and, thankfully, I never saw (or heard) her again.

I never did a feature on her son. I might have done one if she'd been quiet (or if she'd asked nicely), but I wasn't going to do it after the way she acted.

No way.

EMAIL: tgilli52@gmail.com  TWITTER: EDITORatWORK

More blog entries by Tom Gillispie
• Advice for be and would-be novelists

Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie

EDITOR@WORK blog entries

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(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)

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