SAVED FROM SHAQTIN’ By Arthur George-Special to BASN JaVale McGee is reclaiming...
My last page
NORTH CAROLINA (BASN) — These are the last seconds of a sportswriter’s career ending story. After several years of covering sports, he finally decided to throw in the towel and call it quits.
I lost myself, in the worldwide web, trying to Google myself. I lost myself, looking for my face on Facebook, only the find all of my old high school friends were fat and out of shape.
I lost myself, blogging and logging in my website, worrying about how many hits I had gotten….
I lost myself, in cyberspace, trying to find some space on My Space, but found out there was no space to hide.
I lost myself, drowning in an ocean full of information provided by the Internet as if I were being attacked by a sea of sharks that came in the form of spam, Nigerian scams, identity thefts, and security frauds.
I lost myself, reading Wikipedia weekly, every Wednesday, feeling like I was a well-informed whiz kid.
I lost myself, to late night newscasts, nicotine, and new moons.
I lost myself, traveling up and down long, lonely, country roads in an old clunker with no hubcaps, no oil change, no cash and no checks, in order to cover football games from South Carolina to North Carolina .
I lost myself, searching for the perfect story with the perfect ending, without realizing that the world wasn’t perfect.
I lost myself, in front of a cash register, in a small town convenience store, looking for loose change in my back pocket to purchase a newspaper, only to discover that my articles were nowhere to be found.
I lost myself, in the headlines, in the bylines, and in the deadlines.
But the bottom-line was, I was on the borderline of insanity.
Because…..I lost myself, in interviews and previews, looking for different viewpoints that might change my point of view.
I lost myself, in March Madness, Monday Night Football, Tuesday Night Fights, Wednesday night Bingo, Friday Night Lights, Saturday Morning Scrimmages.
And to the Sunday Evening News. I lost myself, to countdowns, showdowns, main events, exclusives, and one-on-ones.
Only to find, I was the only one in the room. I lost myself, to touchdowns, first downs, double-doubles, triple plays, and 4th downs.
Only to feel, letdown in the end. I lost myself, in prime-time, overtime, and half-time in four different time zones. And was forced to call time-out before the time ran off the clock.
I lost myself, in pre-games, pep rallies, Gatorade commercials and after parties where all the balloons popped and the confetti didn’t fall from out of the sky.
I felt like a quarterback blind-sided by too many concussion, a NBA first round draft pick, who blew out his knee in a pick-up game at Rucker park, and a MLB player striking out with the bases loaded in the World Series.
Because…..I lost myself, in stats, statistics, R.B.I’s, E.R.A’s but when I tried to add them all up, the numbers were all wrong. I lost myself, looking at SportsCenter, trying to stay centered, without being self-centered, hoping to find the winners and the losers.
Only to find, I had become a loser. Because…..I lost myself, babbling about basketball and baseball in bars with a room full of drunk, loud-mouth bastards from Boston , who all hated to go home to their wives after a bachelor party.
I lost myself, drinking decaffeinated Colombian coffee in Internet cafes, while entering college chat rooms in order to curse out Cleveland Cavaliers fans, who cheered the burning of LeBron’s jersey.
I lost myself, in cheap hotels, with cockroaches crawling on dirty carpet, while dialing 1-800-numbers in order to talk with a call girl from California , who claimed to be a Los Angeles Laker fan.
Yes. This was the first sign of my demise.
Because…..I lost myself, watching highlight after highlight as if it was Ground Hog Day. In other words, I shamefully had become an ESPN extremist…..
Different day; same thing. Same shit; different toilet.
Because…..I lost myself, to instant replays, bad calls, technical fouls, and point shaving while accidentally cutting myself shaving in a Barnes & Noble’s bathroom.
Because….I lost myself, betting on the Redskins, in the nosebleed section of RFK, with dark shades on. I lost myself, in Atlantic City , gambling on slot machines, blackjack, and poker.
I lost myself, betting against the Saints in the Super Bowl while spending the rest of my money on one dollar lottery tickets and cigarettes. But when the smoke cleared”’
I found myself, in a room full of smoke with 2,000 cigarette butts in a dirty ash tray and a bottle of raspberry-flavored Vitamin water in my hand as I sat on the toilet trying to write a story about Ron Artest.
I lost myself, as I puffed on my last cigarette, while coughing up green mucus from my blacken lungs, as I tried to convince myself that today was the day that I would kick my smoking habit and throw all of the these DAMN cancer sticks in the trash like President Obama.
But in the end…..I found myself, trying to be a big shot with an outdated press pass in the press box with bifocals, looking through some binoculars, only to discover that I didn’t have 20/20 vision.
Because….I lost myself, standing on the sideline of a Clemson football game with a cheap suit on, in a place called ” Death Valley ,” trying to pretend I was still alive.
But honestly, I was slowly dying….
Because…..I lost myself, typing on an old typewriter and a lousy laptop until my fingers cramped up. I lost myself, twitting and texting, until I began to lose touch with reality, by watching too many reality shows.
I lost myself, like a military solider with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Because……I lost myself, in a 24 hours news cycle, and developed insomnia, so I started taking sleeping pills to “combat” my restlessness.
I tried to go to sleep but…..I found myself, trying to hear myself talk on sports talk radio, only to be interrupted by the constant chatter of other commentators and the shrieking shouts of other sports reporters in my headphones.
I lost myself, in dumb debates that drug on for days, until I became delirious.
Because…I lost myself, covering million dollar athletes, whose “highest moment in the league” was doing a line of coke in the champagne room of a downtown Atlanta strip club.
I lost myself, applauding for athletes with bad attitudes, who only averaged eight points per game in the D-League, who wouldn’t give me an autograph after the game.
I lost myself, analyzing the analysis of the analysis.
In other words, I became a sports junky, who got high off of listening to a table full of sports reporters arguing about free agency and the reason why Vince Carter hurt the Orlando Magic during the playoffs, like a heroin addict, shooting up some of Frank Lucas’s “Blue Magic.”
It became tragic. But like the singer Amy Whinehouse, I refused to go to rehab.
I, in fact, couldn’t go a day without surfacing the net for stats or flipping from channel to channel, looking for some type of game, any game, or highlight from a game.
To be honest, I almost O.Ded. (Overdosed) on watching the Hard Knock Life marathon on the NFL Network during the 4th of July holiday weekend.
Why? Because I lost myself, shuffling through newspapers and fingering through sports magazines that were shattered across my living room floor.
So I canceled all my magazine subscriptions and threw all my old newspapers in the trash. And then cut off my cable, before shutting down my computer for the last time.
Why? Because I lost my love for the game….
Editor’s note: The article first appearred on Black Athlete.com on October 10,2010.