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Freefall

Saturday
July 13, 2013

"Fold your wings
You'll need them more one day"
-Barcelona "It's About Time"

I haven't written much lately, though it hasn't been for lack of material. I have two or three half-finished columns which may or may not turn into something, some of which was a backlog from the three weeks it took me to write my Destin column. But it feels at times as if someone has hit the fast-forward button on my life, with the hours and minutes flying by faster and faster the longer it goes. It's an odd sensation, but one I'm slowly becoming accustomed to these days.

But just because I'm not writing as much doesn't mean I'm not reading or paying attention or keeping score. More than ever, to be sure, it's me against the world.

I rarely know what exactly I'm going to write before I start, which is part of the fun of it. Even as the writer I don't know what the outcome is going to be when I start. Sometimes that leads me down dangerous hallways, but that is the risk of self-expression, even in a controlled medium like this one. Writing for me is a pressure-release valve of sorts, and perhaps Twitter helps with that to a degree since I can very quickly post a brief thought and feel that difficult-to-describe sense of satisfaction that I get from writing, but it's not the same as a long-form piece.

Rather than go through and try re-writing the column I started last month, I'll tack in on here. Better late than never, I suppose. Think of it as a two-for-one, much like you might get at a club on Dale Mabry in Tampa. And to those who have patiently waited on my other writing obligation, don't think I've forgotten about that. Yes, I'm writing in code here. My elephant-like memory might be a curse and might torment me at times, but it allows me to retain information far longer than most people do about even the most mundane details. All in good time, gents.

Backlog

Friday
June 21, 2013

Congrats to my friend and former co-worker Brent Hatley, who has gone to work for the world-famous Neil Strauss in California. I predict it will be a successful partnership. While Brent's background is in radio, he has excellent management skills and should be able to adapt to whatever job duties that the notably multi-fasceted Strauss asks of him.

RIP James Gandolfini, who portrayed one of the all-time great television character as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos. I asked my friend Gwyn at work if she had ever seen the show and she said no, then mentioned that she was pretty young when it was on the air. I looked it up -- she was 8 when it debuted in January 1999. That made me feel old, but then again I'll turn 36 in a couple of months. I suspect I will have to get used to that whole feeling old sensation since I keep experiencing it more and more often.

Last night was a true test of my concentration skills -- my favorite NBA team, the San Antonio Spurs, was in the fourth quarter of Game 7 of the Finals against the Miami Heat. Trying to put together a newscast under those conditions, even with the help of Adderall, was a difficult task at best. People in the newsroom were openly cheering and/or bemoaning every play, but not me. And while it was great that everyone was pulling for San Antonio, it didn't make the process any easier.

Every part of the sports fan inside of me wanted to be watching each possession with rapt attention and not missing a thing, but I had a job to do. There is a certain persona I adopt when I produce a newscast, a calm demeanor that I work hard to maintain. This is not to say that I don't have outbursts of anger or profanity from time to time, but that is more the functionality of sanity maintenance than anything else. It's how I function best on the job, and that includes line producing/boothing a live newscast.

Staying in character is especially important at that point; when things turn chaotic or go horribly wrong, like they did when we had a major system malfunction one minute into my Sunrise newscast on Tuesday morning, everyone looks to you to find out what to do. In that role you have to be calm, be decisive, and communicate with your on-air talent in as clear of a manner as possible.

To be sure, had the Spurs won either Tuesday night or last night, I was ready to start celebrating like a madman. But, sadly for me, that's not how it played out. Sometimes the good guys don't win. And, in hindsight, it's impressive how spot-on Bill Simmons was in this article written before Game 6 of the NBA Finals where he wrote about how he thought things might turn out. There's a reason Bill has gone from emailing with me a dozen years ago to becoming one of the most influential people in sports media -- the guy knows his stuff.


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