Living in Colorado has many perks. I feel extremely lucky to live in a state with so many great,and inspiring people. I am especially happy I had the chance to read Sam Adams’ great book, If You Don’t Believe Me… Lessons Learned from Listening to the Greats.
After reading Mr. Adams’ book, I wanted to learn more about him, and so , naturally, I asked to interview him. He agreed. You can go here to read my review of his book. Below is my interview.
What inspired you to become a sports writer?
A challenge. I used to write a so-called sports newsletter while at work. It was my way of making use of extra time on the job. I was a clerk at an insurance company. Instead of asking for more work from my supervisor, I’d finish my day’s workload early, and sit at the typewriter as if I still had work to finish – while pecking away about sports. I liked sports, so I’d put down my thoughts about whatever was going on at that time. At the time (1986), the World Series was the hot topic. I was writing the sports newsletter about my thoughts on the Series. I picked the Mets to win. One of my co-workers was a huge Red Sox fan. He took issue to my writings (and subsequent bragging about being right) and sarcastically challenged, “If you think you know so much (about sports), why don’t you write for a newspaper?” A few weeks later, I went to The Denver Post and joined the prep sports department as a part-time staffer. The rest, I guess, is history.
How long did it take you to prepare for your profession?
I worked six years in the Denver Post’s prep sports department, first as a clerk (gathering statistics for box scores) before being sent out as a correspondent to cover various high school (and later, lower-level college) events. Those six years served as the education in journalism that I didn’t receive formally from college.
Who is your favorite sport figure and why?
That’s a tough question. I’ve been around so many over the years. The obvious would be John Elway. I covered him during the latter part of his NFL career, when he was somewhat desperate to win a Super Bowl. I was at Mile High Stadium when the heavily-favored Broncos lost to Jacksonville in the playoffs, perhaps the lowest moment in Elway’s career. I was in San Diego when Elway got to hoist the Super Bowl trophy for the first time, and in Miami when he raced off the field after winning his second championship in what proved to be his final game as a Denver Bronco.
So that John Elway could harass me. No. Seriously, there’s an old saying – Go West, young man. I took it to heart. I was 24 years old living at home with my parents. I had a job, but no profession. A friend from my church was stationed in Aurora with the Air Force. He told me Denver was a good place to live with lots of employment opportunities. I saved a few bucks, sold my car, packed a couple of bags and a rode a Greyhound bus to Denver in September, 1984.
Do you have any advice for high school and college students who may be interested in a career as a sports writer?
Go to culinary school. No. Seriously, be wary of today’s media landscape. Newspapers are losing money and failing across the country. Online blogging is taking over – which might allow for more opportunities to be seen and read on the Web, but also might slow your opportunities to receive national attention and offers for your work from mainstream media outlets.
What are you currently doing?
I started performing standup comedy in the spring of 2001. At the time, it was just for fun – something to help me get escape the monotony of the day-to-day grind that comes with covering pro sports. I worked at the Rocky Mountain News for 13 years until it closed in Feb. 2009. Four months later, I won at the Great American Comedy Festival. I “turned pro” after the festival, and have been performing comedy full-time ever since. My Web site is SamAdamsComedy.com
Thank you Sam for doing this interview. It has been a huge honor learning about you. I am wishing you great success with your new career as a comedian.