Wednesday, June 3, 2009

To be (or not to be) an interviewer

Thinking about D.J. Gregory interviewing PGA golfers, and writing and interacting with them, for some strange reason, made me think of Steve Mattison going along with me to places and conducting interviews. For me, or with people I often got to interview myself. Steve’s penchant for “talking to just anyone” always amazed me.

Once, we were in the San Francisco 49ers’ locker room, and Steve went with me as I had to get a post-game interview with someone (I don’t even remember who it was now), and I looked up and Steve was over chatting with O.J. Simpson. Asking O.J. about what it was like to be with the 49ers, a team to whom he was traded after a brilliant career with the Buffalo Bills. I taped everything Steve asked him and went back and wrote a story for my newspaper. It didn’t seem to phase Steve at all, that he had just interview one of the greatest NFL stars ever. I wish I had kept the recording, because, as we all know, Simpson has become famous for something other than running with a football in his arms.

Another time, we were, shall I say, in a very classy place enjoying our drinks and food (that’s all I’m going to say) and who else but Paul Hornung, Tom Brookshire and Pat Sumerall – all NFL stars-turned-TV broadcasters -- happened to walk past. Steve stopped them and told them how much he was enjoying their broadcasts and what great playing careers each had had and proceeded talking about something else. More than just kissin’ up to them, it was a really good spirited conservation. Just like it was anyone talking nonchalantly to anyone else.

Steve was like that, though. He could strike up a conversation with anyone. I always liked having him along with me when I had to go to Dallas Cowboy games, or something. He wasn’t afraid to ask anyone anything and it often helped me.

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