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Larry Brown Sports Tagline. Brown Bag it, Baby.
#pounditSunday, June 16, 2024

Reason No. 100 not to do drugs

There was a point in time in my life when I thought the only time I would ever hit a milestone would be if I took my eyes off the road. Along the way, I’ve tried bending the rules on what is defined as a milestone. What I have learned is that holding your breath until you pass out and hit your head on the table one-hundred times is not considered a feat. Nor does anyone ever aspire to surpass my quickness and deftness with the Dust Buster. However, I may finally claim a milestone ostensibly more significant than my planned goal of finding a more direct route to access silk and spices that doesn’t involve having to use the 405 freeway.

100. It’s such a celebrated milestone in sports. Hitting 100 home runs is always a memorable achievement in one’s baseball career. So is stealing 100 bases. When you reach 100 in basketball, you sign a contract with the Boston Celtics. When you hit one hundred in football, you find yourself charged with DUI and have your mug plastered all over TMZ.

For those in the sportswriting profession, writing 100 articles usually nets you an audience of tumbleweeds and a poorly made ceramic mug. My milestone writing assignments have typically bordered on the odd and awkward, which would be the title for my biography if a market for such a venture existed.

The first ever writing assignment I had in college was to interview UCLA alumnus Baron Davis during his triumphant return to Los Angeles while he was a member of the New Orleans Hornets. It was my first experience with an NBA locker room. To put it as poetically as possible, Baron was wearing nothing but a quizzical look when I approached him for a line of questioning that bordered on something borne out of a John Waters-directed P.E. nightmare. Lest there would be any misunderstanding, I did not ask about whether any penal code was being violated by such an absence of clothing.

It seemed appropriate or eerily coincidental then that, six years later, my first article for this website centered on athletes and their all-too-willing tendency to come as they are (apologies to Kurt Cobain). Perhaps it was trauma, or maybe my fifth grade level of humor at the time. But, I may have discovered more synonyms to describe a certain protuberance than ever before thought. Your move, Columbus. The article itself concerned the Brett Favre “Dong-gate” scandal, and, whatever the opposite of history is, was made.

Getting to 100 can be a celebrated achievement, or it can be a depressing mile-marker. Centenarians may seem like happy-go-lucky people, with all the perks of being able to keep one’s teeth in a glass on the nightstand, not having to be subjected to solid food, and freely being able to deride whippersnappers and roustabouts without having to worry about the consequences, but consider at that point you’ve outlived most of the people you know and have forgotten the rest. Perhaps ignorance is bliss. After all, it has subsisted me for, lo, these past 99 stories.

An Olympic track runner roundly lays waste to the 100 in under ten seconds these days. It took me that long to come up with a nicer way of describing one’s demilitarized zone (please see “protuberance”). Perhaps my legacy in relation to the writing career I’ve built with this website is my profligate use of words for which no one knows the meaning.

I’ve been asked before how I come up with the material for these stories week after week. (Well, no, I was never asked that but I’m feeding my ego here so try to keep up.) My answer would invariably be that I don’t truly realize what I plan on writing about until about three days after publication, at which point I’ve hammered out 1000 words of outdated pop culture references, including on occasion German Goth bands long ago forgotten, as well as a couple of ill-conceived jokes with just the requisite schmear of Yiddish thrown into the mix.

Before I realize it, I am asleep with my head lying on my keyboard and the article already sent off for printing. This certainly would explain why one of my articles contained nothing but ampersands, asterisks, and other illegible squiggly characters many times more entertaining than my usual drivel. Needless to say, the editorial standards of my usual missives are not very strict.

I’ll never forget the roots of my burgeoning sportswriting career. It was in third grade. I announced to the class that I wanted to one day be a writer. After intermittent bouts of laughter from teacher and fellow students alike, I resolved to accomplish that goal. The only problem was that I was missing the most fundamental aspects of being a book writer: I had no title and no subject matter. Flash forward many years and, while I thought I had a title in mind, apparently “The Naked Ape” has been taken.

Years after the first of many traumatic experiences along the way in my sports media career, I sat before a college counselor and announced that I desired a career involving covering athletes. Though I think she misconstrued my hopes as being some kind of underwear designer, the advice was to conceive of a very long stick at the end of which to tie my belongings.

Today, I can honestly say that I have showed all the naysayers that I was indeed good enough to carve out a niche as a sportswriter who supplements his non-income position by cleaning people’s porcelain on the side. I have reached the pinnacle of Internet sportswriting cognoscenti. I have written 100 articles. Yes, about half of them were plagiarized from Wikipedia. Some others were copied off the spare “Rules for Stud Poker” card that comes with a pack of Bicycles. But, I did it. That’s an accomplishment I can be as happy about as the college degree hanging above my desk with my name on it, artfully written above the whited-out name of the poor schlub who happened to leave his diploma lying around, unattended on graduation day.

In a perfect world, this space probably would have been used to spoof the fact that the one of the rare times Chad Johnson gets busted by the authorities, it’s for actually using his head, or that L.A.’s new Superman is in the throes of back surgery recovery: Someone tell Clark Kent to seek out an orthopedist. But, alas, I have used up your time on yet another Wednesday the only way I know how: With a touch of self-congratulations and random non-sports patter that has come to characterize nearly two years of dreck. On the bright side, there’s still more to come.


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