Sunday, November 08, 2009

Getting punchy

Dave Kindred has an interesting column this weekend about fighting and the media. As in, punches exchanged between media members, or between a media member and an athlete. You can find it here; it is worth your time.

Kindred has seen a lot more of this stuff than I ever did. But I do have a couple of stories along these lines.

Once at then-Rich Stadium, the Bills were going through the postgame ritual of interviews at their lockers. One time, a newspaper writer was alone with one of the players. Then, a television reporter turned on the camera and stuck in a microphone, which showed a little impatience but does happen. But then the TV guy had the player turn away and do a one-on-one into the camera, leaving the newspaper guy behind.

Our print scribe patiently waited for the television interview to end. Then, and only then, did he launch a tirade against the electronic type. It's good thing the television guy got out of the way; he might have gotten a punch in the face.

The Sabres' original trainer was Frank Christie, a crusty old sort who used to challenge new, young reporters just for the sport of it. I saw an argument or two start up, but not many 20-somethings were willing to smack a 60-something, short, 140-pound trainer.

But speaking of hockey, Jerry Sullivan represented his profession well one time when working in Binghamton. He wrote a column that was critical of one of the Broome County Dusters, the local minor league team. Jerry went into the locker room for the next home game. The Duster in question looked at Jerry and said, "I ought to knock you into the wall."

Jerry paused for effect, and replied, "Well, if you do, it will be the first thing you've hit all year." The rest of the Dusters went wild, as their teammate was silenced.

We all should be so quick as Jerry was that night.

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