Sunday, March 8, 2009

The best way to a sports writer's heart...

Most sportswriters are underpaid but over fed! Lotsa free food. Everywhere sportswriters go, whether it’s a high school football game, a high school track meet and/or especially a pro sporting event such as the Dallas Cowboys or an NBA game, there always seems to be something to eat, mostly buffet-style. That means all-you-can-eat.

Take Craig and me for instance. We were both underpaid, or believed we were, that’s one reason we changed jobs, but we also were both over eaters. Not so much now. The first time I met Craig was at a Cowboys game and he can attest that the Cowboys always had plenty to eat in the press box. When Clint Murchison and Tex Schramm ran the show, the press box food was delicious, more so than when Jerry Jones took the reins. BBQ all the time, soft drinks whenever you wanted them. Mercy! One time I took dad to a Cowboys game and I told him all the food and drinks were free, so it was okay for him to help himself. He was a little uncomfortable with it, and asked me if it was always like that. It was pretty much the same with high school games, although on a smaller scale. Think high schools don’t know the way to a sports writers’ heart? It’s through his stomach!

I went to several NBA games in Dallas and it was pretty much the same way with the Mavericks, too. And the Texas Rangers baseball games. Plenty of food to scarf down. And at every high school track meet I covered, there was usually a spread for you would die. Craig wised up and got out of sports writing and into banking business. Me, I changed jobs not so much because of the work, but I got into PR work with a college, and one thing I always had to do was make sure there was something to eat, or something for snacks, when we wanted something covered. Kinda like, “If you feed them they will come.”


At March 8, 2009 at 12:26 PM , Blogger Craig Hall said...

Sadly the schools I was covering back in those days did not worry about taking care of us writers. I guess that is because I was covering the small schools and you got the biggies. Plus I seldom went up in the press box. I usually took pictures and covered the game from the sidelines.

The Cowboys did do it right back then. I probably put on five pounds every time I covered a game. You forgot to mention they also provided beer. I saw a few writers so sloshed I am surprised they could write after a game.

At March 8, 2009 at 7:22 PM , Blogger Glen Lazalier said...

Free food is a double-edged sword. It's awfully easy to overeat when it's free.

I've really been enjoying your blogs about sports writing.

At March 8, 2009 at 7:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, you mentioned the Cowboys' food spread being not as good when Jerry Jones took over. Similar story for the Rangers when Tom Hicks took over, but worse. They started charging the writers for meals. Some paid up, some ate somewhere else, but nobody ate free anymore.

Also, back in the old days when Randy Galloway worked for the Dallas Morning News, he brought his own beer and food to the press box. He didn't want to take any freebies from the Rangers because he didn't want to feel obligated to them. That way he could write what he wanted and rip 'em to shreds if he thought they needed it, and more often than not they needed to be ripped. - Jim Patterson


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