The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


February 1, 2012

Super Bowl players ain’t got nothing on me

— If all the non-stop coverage is to be believed, the Super Bowl will once again be played this weekend.

I’m a little apathetic toward the whole affair, namely because I can’t remember watching more than a quarter or two of any National Football League game over the entire season. Prior to writing this diatribe, I had to be reminded which teams were going to be playing.

I don’t necessarily have a problem with football, but as I have stated before, I’m a baseball fan. I have a larger problem with grown men being paid obscene amounts of money to play a game for three hours, once a week. And some of them don’t even play the whole two hours.

I’m pretty sure a third-string bench warmer on either the New York Giants or New England Patriots makes no less than eight times my annual salary, and they don’t even play in the game. They make no less than eight times my annual salary to sit on the bench, watch the game and flirt with cheerleaders. I’m jealous, to say the least.

Meanwhile, I sit here at my desk, typing away and face just as many occupational hazards. There aren’t just the physical injuries that go with a reporter’s job — paper cuts, sore typing fingers, carpel tunnel from mouse usage, etc. — but there are the injuries that hurt your pride.

What kind of injuries hurt your pride? Well, there are the emails that say, “You got this or that wrong” or better yet, the ones that accuse a non-partisan reporter of being a communist or in the “back pocket of Fox News.”

There are other occupational hazards. How many football locker room doors have signs that say, “No guns or weapons allowed on the premises”? Well, there’s one of those signs on the front door of The News Courier.

I’ve had plenty of brushes with danger since entering the journalism field some 13 years ago. I’ve had death threats, lawsuit threats and threats of general bodily harm. I’ve been cussed at, yelled at, demeaned, despised, degraded, depressed, repulsed, rebuked, refuted, overlooked and overworked. But, that’s just part of the job.

Maybe things would have been different for me if I had found simple joys in donning a helmet, shoulder pads and hitting another person hard enough to knock them to the ground. Maybe, just maybe, I could be a third-string bench warmer sitting on the sidelines at the Super Bowl, watching the game and flirting with the cheerleaders.

Then again, I would have missed out on a slew of unforgettable moments. Third-string bench warmers don’t get access to active crime scenes, get to talk politics with movers and shakers or inform communities about important issues on a daily basis. That’s one advantage I have over the benchwarmers.

I don’t know if I’ll watch the Super Bowl, as it would be a shame to end my self-imposed NFL blackout. Maybe I’ll just eat some hot wings, reminisce about my own career and doctor my injuries.

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