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Your first star interview

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by PhilaYank36, Aug 6, 2007.

  1. PhilaYank36

    PhilaYank36 Guest

    I was just talking about this little tale with the gf when I got to wondering what it was like for everyone else when they interviewed their first big-time athlete?

    For me, it happened back on Aug. 14, 2003. I had just become the sports editor for my college rag in my senior year when I came up with the idea to do a series on sports rivalries. Since I went to a Philly-area school, I decided to devote a part to the Eagles-Giants rivalry and while I sent another writer to take care of the Eagles (which he neglected to do asshole), I went up to Albany, NY to talk with the Giants. Only one tiny little thing complicated matters:

    I just had my first shoulder surgery two days prior.

    So, I take a 6:30am train to Penn Station, then switch to Amtrak and head north to Albany. I finally get to UAlbany & arrive at the media hub, and I feel like a giant, doped-up jackass (thank you, oxycodon). Two guys were busting the chops of one of the female reporters, which she unflinchingly returned fire. The players start filing in and the first guy I'm able to pull aside is Strahan. I was expecting a gruff conversation with him, but it was surprisingly light, free-flowing and enjoyable. I even had him at a loss for words with one question, too. Tiki was very enjoyable, even showed me his new Masseratti (sp?). I had a great time deal with both the players and the staff.

    Anyway, 4:00 rolls around and I'm back in the hub getting ready to head home when all of a sudden, the freakin' power cuts out. Ladies and gentleman, the day I chose to come up to Giants training camp was also the same day as the 2003 Northeast Blackout! Freaking great! After a few hours and a long, un-nerving bus ride, I get back to the train station, where the power had thankfully been restored. Unfortunately, the rest of NY & NJ could not say the same thing, so I spent the night, not even a week out of major shoulder surgery, in the Albany train station. During that time, a train pulls in from Montreal and couldn't procede any further. One of the passengers was this attractive Frenchie who only had a vague idea of what clothing was and not once, not twice, but three times asked me if I had any weed on me in the span of 15 minutes.

    Thank goodness for oxycodon. And there was more than one reason to be thankful! ;D
  2. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    This topic has been covered before a few months ago: http://www.sportsjournalists.com/forum/threads/33134/

    But, I'll offer my tale once more. ...

    From Oct. 22, 2006:
    Last year, I was doing a feature on a member of the Chicago Bears, so I wanted to talk to a few players. I make my way over to Urlacher before anyone else does. He's changing, so I ask him if he has a few minutes, and he tells me, "After I finish dressing, you got it."

    By that point, everyone had made their way over to him, leaving me on the outside looking in. Knowing that my questions had nothing to do with what happened in the game, I let everyone else pick away. He was cool enough to talk with me for a few before the PR guy snagged him away.

    After that, I asked Kyle Orton if he had some time: "Nah, man, I'm done."

    Just like his career.
  3. Chris Young, when he played for the Rangers.

    As far as really big-time, I've done several one-on-ones with Lovie Smith.
  4. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Group setting: Michael Jordan at the 2000 U.S. Women's Open

    One-on-one: Mark Grace and Chris Chelios were right around the same time back in 2001.
  5. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    Literally the second story I wrote at my college paper (and second story I ever wrote that got published) was inteviewing UGA's Vince Dooley the day he was leaving office as athletic director. He was one of my idols, so I was nervous as hell. My questions were filled with tons of ummms and uhhhhs. The story was pretty weak because I didn't know what I was doing at the time, but Vince could not have been nicer and treated me just like I was a reporter from the AJC.
  6. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Notable: Jimmy Carter and Evander Holyfield on Jamaica's Election Day '98; Dr. Timothy Leary (by phone) to preview last in-person multi-media presentation (University of Iowa); Pete Rose a few weeks after he got out of jail (and I asked a question that got a response that still makes me chuckle at the moment), also interviewed him the next year at the same event; Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson, Dave Johnson, Marion Jones (when she was still in HS), and many others.

    But the more I think about this (and yes, it's been threaded a few times here), I think back to a girl named Erica Sumi. My first year in the biz in Long Beach coincided with her freshman year at Wilson High. She ran cross country. Shy beyond extreme. The first time I interviewed her it was like pulling teeth to get one answer. Understandable. Well, I covered a lot of Moore League XC that fall of '89, and each time I talked to Erica the more she opened up. By the end of the season she became a tidal wave of quotes. I guess it was the comfort level. In '90 she was totally comfortable with me, and in the corner of my eye at some meets, I'd watch her give interviews to other papers and remember the first time I tried to get her to say one word. Strange that that was 18 years ago. Seems like yesterday still.
  7. Chad Conant

    Chad Conant Member

    The most enjoyable one I've ever done was with Ron Zook. Guy really is hopped up on happy pills.

    I had to keep from stepping on my tongue with Greg Norman at the 1997 World Series of Golf. I'd been out of school for a couple months and the biggest name I'd interviewed was Gary Trent. Norman was great.
  8. Mayfly

    Mayfly Active Member

    On the phone - Kevin Mench. Junior year in college, right after he hit his 7th home run in 7 games. Played phone tag for a while, but when we got in touch, we talked for a while. He was quite nice and down-to-Earth, and happy that I was writing something about him.
  9. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I interviewed Shaquille O'Neal in 1991 when I was in high school and he was still at LSU. He could not have been nicer...
  10. mench is a great dude
  11. cougargirl

    cougargirl Active Member

    John Elway. At his daughter's high school basketball playoff game in Denver. Surprisingly a very cool interview.
  12. Faithless

    Faithless Member

    Herschel Walker after he ran for almost 300 yards against Ole Miss, fall 1981. He was a sophomore at Georgia, me a freshman working for the Ole Miss student daily. Another reporter handled the news conferences while I went looking for Herschel in the UGA locker room, and found him in a corner locker by himself, putting on his street clothes. During the interview he kept addressing me as "Sir" and spent more time praising how others played - his linemen, the rest of the Georgia team, and even the Ole Miss defense. I interviewed him again in spring '85 when he played in the USFL (New Jersey at Memphis). He was the same Herschel. He called me "Sir" and didn't want to take credit for his performance, instead praising the play of others.

    First non-sports star interview: Susan Akin, Miss America 1986. We were classmates at Ole Miss.
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