One day, when I was a sportscaster at ESPN, I became enthralled by a story I read. It was about a young college football player who was pursuing a career as a doctor. The young man had recently discovered a gene marker that could one day lead to advancements in the way we treat heart disease. Because of this, he’d been invited to give a talk before 200 doctors.
How cool is that?
In his spare time, the young man played wide receiver on his college team at Washington University in St. Louis. On top of that, he’d been adopted by a man who played football in the NFL.
“I’d love to do this story!” I announced to my newsroom brethren. I was shocked when all I got was silent stares.
“It’s a great story, don’t you think?”
“No!” someone called out. “Washington University is a Division III school. No one cares about them.”
“I think you’re missing the point,” I said. “Brilliant kid. Adopted. Dad plays in the NFL. Despite rigorous studies, he still finds time to play football.” I scanned the room.
When I later took the idea to my boss, he agreed with all the others. This was not a story ESPN was interested in.
That is, until it was.
The next day, when Sports Illustrated hit the stands with a feature on the kid, opinions on the story changed course instantly.
“You’re going to St. Louis,” my boss announced.
So, I flew to Missouri to meet with the young man, who turned out to be charming and brilliant. Now I don’t recall any special reaction to the story, it was the reticent treatment I received in suggesting the idea that remains.
A few years later, I faced another news director who I thought might be interested in hiring me. He asked about my ideas on covering sports stories.
“I like to look at the people who play and coach the games,” I said. “Who they are underneath their uniforms?”
“No one cares about that!” he shot back. “It’s only about the numbers. The statistics.”
“I don’t agree,” I said.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that I didn’t get the job, despite having a worked at four other TV stations at that point. Still, if you fast forward to today, where the lives of players on and off the field are on bright display everywhere, I think maybe I was just a wee bit ahead of my time.
I’d like to think a good story is a good story whether the subject matter is news, politics, or sports. I’d like to think that numbers aren’t the point. The people are. Where they’ve come from. The problems they’ve faced. Their successes and failures. Their hopes and dreams. It’s this information that allows viewers—especially those of us without any fabulous skills—to relate to famous people. To see ourselves in them.
While I realize there are those who would argue the point, all I can say is that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
ANCIENT RUINS, HAUNTED MEMORIES, AND A RUTHLESS CRIMINAL COMBINE WITH A TOUCH OF MYSTIC PRESENCE IN THIS TAUT MYSTERY ABOUT A CRIME WE ALL MUST ADDRESS.
Contemporary Women’s Fiction/Suspense
September 13, 2021
Maggie, a National Park Ranger of Native American descent, is back at The Castle—an ancient pueblo carved into a limestone cliff in Arizona’s Verde Valley. Maggie, who suffers from depression, has been through several traumas: the gang rape she suffered while in the Coast Guard, the sudden death of her ten-year-old son, and a suicide attempt.
One evening, she chases a young Native American boy through the park and gasps as he climbs the face of The Castle cliff and disappears into the pueblo. When searchers find no child, Maggie’s friends believe she’s suffering from depression-induced hallucinations.
Maggie has several men in her life. The baker, newcomer Jim Casey, who always greets her with a warm smile and pink boxes filled with sweet delicacies. Brett Collins, a scuba diver who is doing scientific studies in Montezuma Well, a dangerous cylindrical depression that houses strange creatures found nowhere else on Earth. Dave, an amiable waiter with whom she’s had a one-night stand, and her new boss Glen.
One of these men is a serial rapist and Maggie is his next target. In a thrilling and terrifying denouement, Maggie faces her rapist and conquers her worst fears once and for all.
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