Saturday, April 14, 2007
I'm often asked why I got into the news business. Way before I ever decided to become a journalist, I wanted to become a historian. So the truth about being glued to the television when that little girl got stuck in that hole somewhere in North Carolina, or not believing my eyes when the space shuttle Challenger exploded in mid-air, is truth about news becoming history, and me wanting to be connected to that truth.
That's why we raised our hands to cover Katrina. That's why Walter Middlebrook says if you're not ready to go to Iraq, you're not ready to be a journalist.
And of course there's the newsroom, that clubhouse of believers -- those seasoned newsmen and women who, by no fault of their own, will be forever in search of the moment that will define their career. When news breaks, the newsroom is alive.
Thursday I saw it for myself.
Sure, a cantankerous old white guy was fired from his job. But it was news. People were glued to the televisions. Reporters were on the phones calling someone -- anyone -- who had something to add to the analysis. No, it wasn't Flight 800. But it was fascinating to see. Said one reporter that sits near me: "So when are we opening up our Imus bureau?"
Yes, the Imus saga was far from being a historical event. But if it sparks the anticipated self-righteous debate about the backwards lexicon of misogynistic hip-hop, then who knows?
*"Piggybacking" was the popular term for adding on statements to the end of an announcement at morning meetings at Dublin School in Dublin, New Hampshire, where I attended from 1998-1999. Christopher Horgan, as I remember, did not coin the phrase. He simply made it what it was -- a school-wide inside joke that always made us giggle. He was the Headmaster, and he loved a good laugh.
In sports, us reporters go crazy about teams taking on the personality of their coach. Well Mr. Horgan was everything that Dublin School was. He was sensible, the school was sensible. When he was spontaneous, we were spontaneous. When he was happy, we were happy. He talked about us with an understanding of who we were. We loved him.
Someone sent me a facebook message that Mr. Horgan died of a heartattack this past week. His funeral was today, April 14, 2007.
I remember once that Mr. Horgan, who doubled as my tennis coach, told me that an opponent I was losing to was not better than me. He said, "you've got way better groundstrokes than him. Now go win."
He knew my problem: I had no confidence. From that day on, his interactions with me were all meant to build me up. He would tighten my tie. He'd restring my racket. He drove me to get a pizza. He'd ask me what I thought I could do on a test, then tell me what I was going to do.
So when I thought of Dublin, I thought of Mr. Horgan.
Today I am thinking about how I wanted him to see what I've become. I have a funny feeling he'd look at me the way he did when I came back and won that tennis match that warm day in the spring. continue...