This journalism thing can be a tough racket.
Aside from the death threats, the constant phone calls from parents who believe their son is the next Wayne Gretzky, or deadlines that bring my heart rate equal to that of a 325-pound-regular-McDonald’s-consuming-trucker, there’s another aspect that has proven to be most difficult—finding time for myself.
Meals have been eaten in the car. Workouts have taken a back seat (not that kind of workout). Finding time to watch the NBA playoffs has become more difficult than someone trying to pronounce my last name.
You’re probably saying, “Quit your crying” or “Does the poor baby want his bottle?” But let me give you a clearer perspective on my dilemma by taking you through a typical day of mine.
< *c>Thursday—June 16
7:05 a.m.—Alarm rings (smash alarm with fist).
7:20 a.m.—Wake up to alarm on watch that is placed on other side of room.
7:25 a.m.—Rise out of bed after realizing God will not answer my prayers to “take me now.” Turn on stereo to play Bruce Springsteen’s “Devil’s and Dust” (good CD).
7:27 a.m.—Take shower. Brush teeth. Shave (barely). Comb hair (barely).
7:31 a.m.—Pick out clothes to wear. On this day (drum roll, please) I don’t match.
7:35 a.m.—Have breakfast (today I feel like Snap, Crackle, and freakin’ Pop) while tuning into TSN’s Sportcentre.
7:40 a.m.—Make lunch. Make cup of frappe (cold Greek coffee), then take seat on bed and watch a little more TSN.
7:58 a.m.—Arrive at work. Then head over to Credit Union building, where our Electronic Publishing division is housed, for our weekly editorial meeting at the Round Table, as I call it.
9:05 a.m.—Meeting ends.
9:15 a.m.—Make a call to Steve Arpin for a story for that day’s Daily Bulletin (turns out the story would be used in Friday’s edition).
9:29 a.m.—Start writing story.
10:03 a.m.—Finish writing story (about 650 words).
10:05 a.m.—First cigarette.
10:11 a.m.—Glance through a few websites to see what’s going on in the sporting and actual world.
10:45 a.m.—Start researching game I will be watching later at 1:30 p.m. between Greece and Brazil in the Federations Cup from Germany.
11:01 a.m.—Get call from Jim Curr.
11:03 a.m.—Receive first page to paginate from my editor, Mike Behan.
11:12 a.m.—Finish enlightening conversation with Mr. Curr.
11:23 a.m.—Finish laying out page. Get back to researching game (things don’t look good for Greece—we’re missing one of our best strikers and our best defenceman is out).
11:36 a.m.—Receive press release from SIJHL listing its award winners. Season has been over for a couple of months now.
12:30 p.m.—Laying out that day’s Daily Bulletin is done. Editorial staff head to La Place Rendez-Vous to grab some lunch. I stay at the office, along with colleague Michael Hilborn, because there’s a classroom from J.W Walker that will be getting a tour of the Times.
Besides, I’m not really that hungry since I pack a lunch that would make that McDonald’s-consuming-trucker say “uncle.”
12:47 p.m.—Second cigarette.
1:06 p.m.—Tour arrives (and a big one at that).
1:43 p.m.—Get home. Turn on TV. Game is 12 minutes in. No score.
1:45 p.m.—Turn on TV in kitchen and start making salad with carrots and another sandwich. Make another coffee.
1:58 p.m.—Game is well-played, at least by the Brazilians, who are using some dazzling dribbling ability to break through the normally solid Greek defence.
2:04 p.m.—Phone rings. Ex-girlfriend from Greece. Wants to know how the past couple of months have been. “Eventful,” I state.
2:11 p.m.—Brazil scores on a beautiful strike from Adriano. I start cursing. Tell ex-girlfriend (Myrto) that I’ve got to go.
2:16 p.m.—Brazil scores again. This time on a cross from the left side that goes by two (two!) Greek defenders in the box to the trailing Brazilian forward on the right side. Brazil 2-Greece 0.
2:23 p.m.—First half ends (thankfully).
2:26 p.m.—Phone rings. Brother on phone. Haven’t talked to him for a little while. Same old.
2:46 p.m.—Second half begins.
2:53 p.m.—Phone rings. Myrto again. Wanted to tell me some things.
2:57 p.m.—Phone rings. Myrto again! Wanted to make sure I understood what she told me.
3:15 p.m.—Reception starts going screwy. “Video trouble is temporary” So is my patience, I yell back.
3:22 p.m.—“Video trouble is temporary” displayed again. Throw plastic bowl that was eating salad out of.
3:23 p.m.—Clean ranch dressing from carpet.
3:26 pm.—Phone rings. Not Myrto.
“Yeah, I’d like to reserve a spot for this Sunday.”
“A spot for what?” I ask.
“On your campground.”
“I don’t have a campground.”
“But if you want, you can reserve a spot on my extra bed for $40 a night.”
“No, that’s okay. Thanks anyways, guy.”
(Funny thing is that this same guy called on Friday asking for a site again).
3:28 p.m.—Phone rings. Wes Gilbertson from the Times (summer reporter from Cochrane, Alta.—it’s not his fault, he was born there).
“Yeah,” I say in a rushing manner.
“You sound upset. How much is Brazil winning by?
“Shut up. Greece is down by two and you wouldn’t believe the phone calls I’ve been getting.”
3:31 p.m.—Make that 3-0 for Brazil as I hang up phone. Throw phone to ground. Look to ceiling and start cursing.
3:35 p.m.—Start rubbing BenGay on my thighs. Why? From the soccer game I played night before for ITS. We lost 7-0 to Emo (last game we played against them we won 7-0).
3:36 p.m.—“It has been a good day for Brazil and a bad one for Greece,” says the announcer. “Gee, ya think?!” I shout back while switching to my right thigh.
3:40 p.m.—Game done. TV off. Put sandals on. Out the door.
3:41 p.m.—Arrive at office.
“Is it over?” Wes asks.
“It was over before it began,” I respond.
“Are you crying?” my editor queries, who proceeds to list off reasons why I should’ve gone to the Rendez Vous for lunch—such as the nice breeze and beer.
“You probably thought you could influence the outcome by watching?” he asks.
“That’s why they lost,” notes my colleague, Melanie Béchard.
“So who’s going to win the U.S. Open then?” Mike asks.
“[Retief] Goosen, so that probably mean’s he’ll finish last,” I say (Goosen heads into final round on Sunday with the lead, but doesn’t win).
3:50 p.m.—Out of office. But not before Wes asks, “So what was the score again?” I answer. John Pierce adds, “Sounds like they could’ve used you.”
3:51 p.m.—Third cigarette. Head over to Paul Morrison’s place (he is the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship’s new emcee).
6:05 p.m.—Finish interview. Fourth cigarette. Head home to grab quick bite.
6:27 p.m.—Pick up friend and teammate, Ashwin Fernandes. Playing Taggs at 7 p.m.
6:40 p.m.—Arrive at field. Put gear on.
6:48 p.m.—Receive gift from Josiah Morris. Gives me a LIVESTRONG armband. Begin to stretch. Head back to gym bag, and find VIVA BRAZIL! OLE, OLE, OLE! Inscribed on note pad.
Wes smiles (remind myself to put voodoo curse on Wes).
8:01 p.m.—End of first half. Score 2-0 for Taggs. Down players. Rush over to car to head to VanJura Stadium at Pither’s Point to cover Sight & Sound game. Taggs would “hang on” to win 2-0.
8:16 p.m.—Fifth cigarette. Arrive at diamond. There was traffic. Make it for first pitch.
10:13 p.m.—Three cigarettes later, game ends.
10:28 p.m.—Finish interviews.
10:37 p.m.—Arrive home.
10:43 p.m.—Turn on TV. Replay of soccer game is on. Watch a bit. Start crying.
10:54 p.m.—Call friend. Take shower.
11:15 p.m.—Heat up potatoes and meatballs (this is usually dinner time for me).
11:16 p.m.—Head to office to download photos from Sight & Sound game.
11:47 p.m.—Out of office.
11:48 p.m.—Bedtime cigarette. Arrive home. Watch more soccer. Cry myself to sleep.
Just another typical day.
This journalism thing can be a tough racket.