Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Sports Reporters: Gossip, Tall Tales and Pure BS

The sports reporters* filled the air with gossip, great conversation.

If you were a fly on the wall for the Sports Reporters quarterly luncheon in Salem today you heard great gossip, considerable speculation, believable lies and a ton of nostalgic recollection. These things, which resemble the old store porch bullshit sessions I remember the old guys having on the general store porch in Cranberry, N.C., when I was a kid. The difference is that those old boys passed around a pint of Cobbs Creek whisky--lasting all day--and we settled for iced tea and water.

The juicy portion of the conversation came early when a couple of the writers began gossiping about the resignation of the immensely popular high school principle and the school's football coach within a couple of months of each other. I won't get into the nature of the gossip, but it is the kind sports writers live for.

These guys, like so many people who are or have been sports writers, full of general information. John Montgomery, who has been a sports writer and a sports publisher, mentioned at one point that this group would be great at sports Trivial Pursuit. I suggested we would be great at Trivial Pursuit, period. Sports people love trivia.

Roland Lazenby and Page Moir.
The topcis today ranged all over the place (and I will admit I don't usually talk a lot about sports, but I was a sports writer for 17 looooooong years) included, but certainly were not limited to: a basketball player named Curry, the flop as a basketball tactic, Roland's new book on Kobe Bryant (he's being driven crazy by Little Brown editors), a former Virginia basketball player named Garland Jefferson (Mike Ashley and I shared some great stories about Garland), Roland coaching wrestling at Blacksburg High when Page Moir (later Roanoke College basketball coach) was a hoop star, Kobe Bryant's $24,000 diamond studded baseball cap (it's for sale, limited edition, as you might imagine) and even politics. Roland, who is as liberal as I, speculated that "whoever we end up with as president, the country is lost." Lots of heads nodding on this one.

I really like these luncheons ("luncheons" are for a group; "lunches" are smaller gatherings, like maybe two sports dudes) because the conversation is brisk, intelligent and often very funny. Yay, sports guys.

(* From left: Author Roland Lazenby, Roanoke College hoops coach Page Moir, historian Rob Freis, former publisher John Montgomery, Jimmy Bain, nationally known sports writer Mike Ashley, me.) 

My old Business Journal colleagues Rob Freis and John Montgomery.


  1. "high school principle"? My principal objection to this is on principle alone.