Lee the Local Sports Editor

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As managing editor of the old Bayshore Independent, my multitude of duties included setting up our local sports section every week. The towns we covered all had children’s sports leagues and parents demanded detailed coverage. They rang my phone off the hook to make sure I gave due prominence to their offspring’s athletic feats.They also sent written reports of the week’s games… which I had to rewrite.

Most of these reports were written by parents who wanted their kids to be recognized as sports stars. So-and-so scored another hat trick! Little Bobby “the Italian Stallion” Beamish–the nickname was repeated numerous times–had an assist! Andy Kabonga led the Hooterville Hotspurs to another triumph!

Some of these kids were playing in several leagues at once–like it was a job or something–and any mention of them that I failed to make instantly provoked an angry phone call. I began to form an impression that none of these children ever just played a game for fun. I wondered if mere fun was ever part of it. Heaven help me if I left out a game. Parents must have scanned our sports pages with a fierce intensity.

I don’t miss this job. Mary Gesundheit smashed a double in tee-ball! She is surely destined for stardom!

My wife, who was the bookkeeper there, used to call me up pretending to be an angry parent whose child’s hat trick had not been given all the praise it should have had. She liked the way I mindlessly went into my spiel about how sorry I am but we can’t always find space for every single nuance of every single game, etc. Then I’d realize she was pranking me, oh, fap.

The Ol’ Sports Desk (Aughhhh!)

Here are some pictures of 12-year-old Nick Pratto during the 2011 ...

One of the more trying aspects of my job as managing editor of a weekly newspaper was to man the ol’ sports desk. All the reports of local sports wound up on my desk, and I had to rewrite it all for publication. I mean, you don’t allow your newspaper to contain such gems as “He done good, I seen it.”

These were all kids’ sports, school sports and recreation leagues. Some of these kids were signed up for sports every day for years on end, in several leagues at once.

So there I sat, reading about “Joey (the Italian Stalion) he kicked a goal and then he (the Italian Stalion) kicked another one too” and fielding phone calls that went, usually, like this: “My dawwwter got the hat trick in Fungus Township Yout’ Soccuh League this weekend and how come it wasn’t in yoah pay-puh???”

I wondered how many of these kids would grow up to be ax murderers.

With very little in the way of pro sports on TV in these days of The Great Lockdown, I have heard of men–it’s almost always men–desperately seeking for some sport, any sport, to watch. They’ll settle for soccer. They’ll settle for Professional Celebrity Co-ed Tetherball. Complete with color commentary by one of the living legends of Celebrity Co-ed Tetherball.

I grew up playing all sorts of sports, although my parents wisely kept me out of Little League. “You’d hate it,” they always said. I also grew up watching sports–but not ALL sports. Just the ones I was really interested in. My mother encouraged me to try to hit like Harmon Killebrew. He was brand-new then, and she was much impressed.

Now, though, I shun sports. I’d jump at the chance to play some softball, I still play basketball when I can–but sit there and watch it on TV? Absolutely no way. Sit there and watch brain-dead millionaires complain about how oppressed they are in America’s Racist No-Justice hell-hole? Not a chance.

I now believe organized sports is terrible for children and should be avoided at all costs. Let them play pick-up games with paper bags for bases. Let them play all day. But by all means keep them out of Precocious Primadonna Land.

You’ll be happy that you did; and so will they.