One of the great joys about being a sports writer is being able to tell people what you do for a living. In fact, it may be the greatest joy. You’re at a wedding and someone asks you what you do for a living. When you tell them, they immediately start asking questions.
What do you think about the American League this year?
Is LeBron going to be the next Jordan?
Do you think I should get on steroids?
No, someone actually asked me the last one.
The point is, if you ever want to feel like your opinion matters, become a sports writer. It doesn’t matter that you know you're full of it half the time (or in my case, 90 percent of the time). It does boost the ego. There is just one thing that happens when you’re a sports writer that some may not be able to accept. When you become media, you are no longer a fan.
Well, at least not at the games you cover.
You don’t cheer, or heckle. You can’t criticize the referees during the game (at least, not loudly) and you are expected to act a certain way. Consider this the first part of the column. Here comes the second part.
I was a fan for 22 years. For the last three, I have been an observer who has a job to do. And what was the first thing I observed? Some fans just don’t get it.
I am talking about a small, small percentage when I say some. In fact, let me clarify further. Most of the fans that I am writing about are the ones at the high school level, the 30-somethings (or older) who yell at high school officials. Look, I have no problem with fans being critical of pro officials. They are the best of the best, and they are expected to take some heat. Big time college officials are probably used to it as well.