No. 10: Get on ESPN
Wabeno Travel Blog› entry 3 of 6 › view all entries
Back in 1998 I made a bet in high school with a classmate that I would be on ESPN within 10 years. We had a $100 riding on the deal, and to date, neither of us will pay up. I contend that I won the bet, while Travis is adamant that he has won. It’s a stalemate 2 years later.
I gather that I’ve clearly been on ESPN at least a half-dozen times, just not in the conventional sense. It’s true I haven’t sat at a desk reading off the latest Sports Center highlights, but I have been a part of the highlight reel. It helped that I sat front row for Badger football for 3 years, coupled with sitting courtside for basketball games, had made me a regular face in the crowd during my 4 years in Madison. While it was cool to see my face across the TV screen , I argue that I won my high school bet when ESPN.com would pick up my articles off the University Wire. Travis disagreed. I guess we should have put the bet in writing.
I’ve always been into sports. I’m definitely not the most athletic person in the world, but easily remembering stats and an acute understanding of a variety of sports, had my friends and family assuming I’d be working for ESPN someday. My sophomore year of college, I responded to an ad looking for sportswriters. I didn’t think I’d enjoy writing sports, but I figured I’d give it a shot before dismissing it. Turns out, I liked it. For three years, I worked as a beat writer covering women’s soccer, women’s basketball, volleyball, men’s basketball and men’s hockey. I wrote a lot of wrestling, tennis, football and softball on the side. When I left Madison and headed to Washington, DC, I did some freelance writing, but never pursued a career in it. I’ve made/am making some attempts to parlay my sports writing background into some travel writing opportunities, but who knows where that will lead.
My most infamous moment on ESPN came my last year in Madison. I was attending a men’s basketball game as a student and was standing in the front row of the “Grateful Red” student section. My friend and I had made a sign to try to get on TV. Some guys behind us had the grand idea that we should write on the back of the sign that “Pardon the Interruption was next.” I handed him a marker and told him to go to town. So this random guy writes on the back of the sign and I hold it up for the cameras to catch. That night, I get home and turn on ESPN to catch up on the day’s events. When they get to the Wisconsin highlights, they end by showing me holding this sign reading, “Pardon the Interupption is next.” Then they cut to Tony Kornheiser commenting on how great of an education Wisconsin students were getting and he recommended that I take Spelling 101. I had no idea that this guy had failed to spell-check his writing. I feel the humiliation of that moment alone was worth $100.
Once again, Travis disagreed.