Golf, Journalism, Ohio University

Finding the good in plenty of bad

Over the past month (approximately) everything that could have gone wrong in the world of athletics has, according to me.

Let’s review: NBA Lockout, Jerry Sandusky, Bernie Fine, MAC Championship (I know, most people don’t care), Brandon Roy, Virginia Tech (not quite sports related), David Stern and Stephen A. Smith. I shouldn’t forget to mention Albert Pujols.

If I’m going to open up the book about ESPN personalities, I might as well add Urban Meyer and Matthew Barnaby to the list too.

I have been most captivated by the Jerry Sandusky and Bernie Fine stories, as I have written before.

To be completely honest, I don’t enjoy the NBA. However, its storylines have been very interesting over the past month or so.

Chris Paul being blocked from the LA city limits (figuratively), Brandon Roy retiring, teammate Greg Oden continuing his career* and my personal favorite Stephen A. ranting over the airwaves about whatever he sees fit has been enough to get me to pay attention for a while.

*If his time since he left the friendly confines of Columbus can be considered a career, posing a sick reality that the oft-injured center is staying in the league longer than his teammate, Roy, who has developed into one of the NBA’s best. Oden has made a ton of money, so in all technicalities it is an occupation. Bench sitting, that is.

Tiger Woods makes the list because he won again. Really, I shouldn’t say “again” like it is something that he has been doing. It’s only been a couple of years, car windows and lost sponsors since he claimed the top of the leaderboard at Sunday’s end.

For the record, Rory McIlroy won a real tournament that weekend. So did Greame McDowell.

The Mid-American Conference Championship between Ohio and Northern Illinois annoyed me for obvious reasons. A 20-point first half lead couldn’t stand up to the Huskies’ late comeback. It was enough to make any Bobcat fan cringe.

Being on the sidelines you could feel the momentum being sucked slowly from the Ohio side of the field over to the Huskies’. Demoralizing for anyone green and white.

ESPN has shown flashes of greatness over the last couple of weeks, but has shot itself in the foot — kind of. If on-air talent is representative of the organization, which I consider them to be — then it has taken a bit of a self-inflicted blow.

From a lead football analyst stealing the spotlight for moving away from the network, to a hockey guy getting pulled over for driving on his tireless rim, drunk at night… Yeah, not the greatest of months.

Plus, the network is getting a lot of flack (and praise, albeit) for its coverage of the Bernie Fine scandal.

It has also signed on Pulitzer Price winner Don Van Natta Jr. to it’s investigative team, which is relatively new and should pull together some really great stuff once it gets the ball rolling, which presumably the previous members already have.

Albert Pujols, baseball’s number one personality, arguably, is reportedly going to sign for $250 million over 10 years with the LA Angels. The organization was worth $184 million when the current owner purchased it in 2003.

I know how much revenue a player can bring to a team. However, the fact that one individual can be worth more than a franchise is grossly outrageous.

It should be depressing to flip on the TV, scroll down Twitter or read the news. Really, though, I’m more enthused by all of the negative junk going on right now than I am with the regular programming and sports news. This is because it’s something different. Even though I consider myself a true sports fan, I don’t care who wins the Heisman this season. It happens every year. At least this year’s voting is contested.

There’s real breaking news, actual reporting and true digging going on. This has spurred good competition between large and small markets in the breaking of huge stories, i.e. the Daily Collegiate during the Virginia Tech shooting and local sources outdueling the “experts” on free agency issues.

Mostly, it gives me hope.

This is because I want to be one of the people breaking this stuff down, finding the scoop and throwing it out there on a major level.

When I come across a byline that I don’t know, I try to find a quick bio. Most of the time it’s linked out from the same page. In doing this, I realize that most of the guys who are doing what I want to do have been bred out of hard work, not fantastic smarts or an overwhelmingly awesome education. In other words, they are in the position they’re in because they’ve put in their due diligence.

I have always assumed that the top reporters come from the top schools where they were the top students and so on and so forth. The more I know, the more I’m wrong.

And as backwards and odd as that sounds, I kind of like it that way.




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My name is Jim Ryan, and I'm a breaking news reporter for The Oregonian and OregonLive in Portland. I'm an Ohio University graduate from Gaylord, Michigan.

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