Monday, April 25, 2011

Pay it Forward

Today's blog is dedicated to my Advanced Sports Reporting students. Well, most of 'em...

I need to thank a lot of people as the school year winds down and dis a lot of people as the school year winds down.

Let's get the unpleasant stuff out of the way first: praising people.

Thank you, Brad, for making the transition for me into JSM editor as smooth as you could possibly make it. Someone likes you. I received seven submissions before I even put the word out I was taking over. Now, if I could just find a book reviewer...

Thank you, Louise. I owe you one. You did what you were supposed to do, nothing more or less. No hard feelings.

Thank you, Doreen. You kept things flowing and who woulda' "thunk" you'd be the reigning dean in longevity when you stepped down. Your tenure was as fluid as it was long. Congrats.

Thank you, Steve. You have a future in higher education. Stay with it.

Thank you, Mary, for hours and hours and hours of tireless copy editing. Not just editing, but the kind that makes other people's work better. Your classmates appreciate your class. As do I.

Thank you, Sarah. Somehow, some way, I laugh when I read your blog. Southern Belles ain't the ladies they be cranked up to be now, are they? Well, not always.

Thank you, resident grad student. I threw you a bone. You turned it into a three-course meal and more and helped out fellow students trying to do the same. Very selfless.

Thank you Cy Cy. You rescued others and put their interests ahead of your own. That is the kind of thing future great journalists are made of.

Thank you, Carolyn. Your next Wine Basket gift is en route (jk). It will be coming for Christmas. I'm not here doing what I'm doing and loving every gratifying minute of it if not for you.

Thank you, Mike. With your help, B-T-G got off on the right foot.

Thank you, Deborah Harry. You remain my blond ambition. And inspiration. Thank you, Vicki, my muse, even though you remain at "the heart of it all," as it says on the license plates, in Ohio. May your three girls continue to thrive.

Thank you, Clio. Could there ever be another as sweet as you? Loving, caring, attentive, asking only for the same in return. And cuter than any who came before you. You may have never been in the show, but you'll always be my "Best of Show." When you get to the final destination, your bark will come back, louder, bolder and better than ever. Although it could never top your heart.

Thanks, Jess. Great to see you the other day. You're OK. For a lawyer.

Thanks, Joss. You remain selfless, no matter how much your demons sneak attack.

OK, enough praise. Time for the crabby award handouts.

For those here who rode the "el" way past its final stop, dynamite in hand trying to pave a path well after it had already been marked and dug, may you sit on the dynamite. Lit dynamite. You know who you are.

For those still in silos, look up, dig out and be aware of what's around you. The rest of the world is coming. Are you ready? You know who you are.

For those who think 3 equals 6 and a 7 & 7 needs three fruit garnishes on the side, time to go back to the drawing board. No, wait, unfortunately, you're already there...

For those training the future journalistic minds of tomorrow, tell 'em the truth - it's tough out there, and it's not going to feel fair sometimes as you job hunt. Remember, instead, to tell 'em what Jim Valvano said, something about never giving up, never, ever giving up.

For those out there taking a smoke break - stop. You're fouling the air I'm breathing too.

I could go on thanking many more and dissing many more, but I'm not even sure who all these quips refer to anymore. Which is probably a good thing, in case anybody asks. Like someone's lawyer...

In closing, to borrow from Phil Ochs, "The three men I admire most, the father, son and the holy ghost, they caught the last train for the coast, the day, the music, died..."

It didn't die. They just turned down the volume. Crank it up. Oh baby, crank it up. And thank you ASR for B-T-G 2011. Nice job. Love you all.

But don't let that influence your reviews. Good night, Gracie...

Howard Schlossberg is editor of the Journal of Sports Media, with his first edition due out next year. He's an associate professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago, where creativity and learning are embraced hand-in-hand. And he still writes sports for the Daily Herald in Chicago's northwest suburbs.