Nobody forced her to become a sportswriter


IF YOU ASK ME," said Slats Grobnik, "that woman sportswriter got what she deserved when the guy waved his whatsis at her in the locker room."

I didn't ask you.

"Then ask me and I'll tell you."

You already did.

"Oh. Yeah, I guess I did. What I mean is, she brought the whole thing on herself. If she hadn't been there, it wouldn't have happened, would it?"

If we weren't sitting here having a beer, we wouldn't be sitting here having a beer, would we?

"I don't understand what that means."

I don't either. But I thought it might shut you up.

"You still don't understand. So what was she doing in that locker room?"

She was there doing her job, as the laws permit, as the football league rules permit and as simple decency should permit. There is nothing new or novel about female sportswriters going into locker rooms. It's been going on for years.

"You still don't understand why it was her own fault."

Then please enlighten me.

"I seen her on TV. She sounds like a nice, intelligent, respectable girl. Good education and all that. So why would she do such a terrible thing?"

What terrible thing?

"Why'd she become a sportswriter?"

Ah, I'm beginning to understand.

"Didn't you do that for a while? Write about sports?"

Very briefly and many, many years ago.

"Why didn't you stay with it?"

Well, I found that most of the people I came into contact with were . . . I'm having trouble finding the appropriate word . . . they were . . . how shall I put it? . . . uh . . .


Ah, that's precisely the word I was groping for. Thank you.

"You're welcome. Yeah, I listen to these mopes on TV and I read what they got to say. And I never heard a worst bunch of moaners. They moan about not making enough millions. They moan that the coach don't appreciate them. They moan that they gotta go on TV to answer a question. They moan that they gotta take a drug test. They moan that they don't like their contract. Then when they get a new contract, they moan that they don't like that one either. You got more cheerful people in a hospital emergency room."

Yes, they do tend to be self-centered and take a narrow view of life.

"I listen to some of these jocks talking on TV and I ask myself how they got through four years of college. Then I ask how they got through four years of high school. This guy Dingleberry on the Mets."


"Whatever. I read that he got offered $3 million a year to play baseball. He says it was an insult. He's 28 years old. After one year, he pays his agent and his taxes and he's got $2 million left. He puts that in bonds, and he's got $150,000 interest a year the rest of his life. And he's insulted. If somebody would insult me like that, I'd kiss their galoshes."

They do tend to get a bit spoiled.

"If I got caught doing dope on my job, or getting sloshed, I'm out. With these guys, the manager says it's so sad and tragic and we should all be understanding, and they go away to a clinic to get their noses cleaned out, and when they come back the fans stand up and clap like trained monkeys. Then when the fan wants an autograph, he's got to pay a 10-spot before the mope will scribble his name."

Yes, they seem to be profit-oriented.

"They're making all this money, and getting all this attention, but they're too dumb to put on a bathrobe? When the neighbor lady comes over in the morning to have coffee with my wife, I don't run out of the shower and jump in front of her telling her, 'Take a look at this!' She'd call the cops. No, my wife would call the cops. No, my wife would stab me. I put on a bathrobe."

You've always been a gent.

"So what I want to know is why that woman would take a job like that? I mean, can an editor force somebody to be a sportswriter?"

No, there are alternatives.

"That's what I figured. She could be the kind of reporter who interviews normal people. Like when there's a tornado or a flood, and you ask somebody how bad their house got wrecked, they don't take off their underwear and wave their privates at you."

I've never seen that.

"Or if you cover a school board meeting and ask somebody on the school board about how big the budget is going to be, he don't unzip his pants and ask if you wanna peek?"

That would be unusual.

"So she decided on her own that she was going to be a sportswriter, even though she knew that she'd have to go in and talk to a lot of palookas who don't know nothing except you hit a ball, kick a ball, throw a ball and maybe break somebody's leg."

I assume that was her own decision.

"Then, it's like the old saying goes, you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas."

But the athletes take showers, so they don't have fleas.

"Yeah, you're right, so I take that back. Besides, most dogs have better manners."

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