A phone call surprise

It’s not very often you hear from an athlete who makes an effort to seek you out and tell you that he appreciates something you wrote about him or her. It’s actually quite rare.

And that’s fine. I don’t write articles and features so athletes will say how much they like and appreciate my prose and my reporting. In fact, if they read it or not, if they like it or not, it doesn’t make much of a difference to me. If they like it, cool. If not, that’s OK too. If they’re indifferent, well, that’s pretty much what I expect.

That said, it’s always nice when you get a phone call out of the blue telling you how much somebody treasured what you wrote about them.

Throughout my years as a sports writer, this has happened only a handful of times. When I was in college at Georgia, I wrote a nice piece about Randy McMichael and his daughter (or was it his mother? Not sure, but I think it was his daughter), and he sought me out the next day to tell me how much he loved the story. When I worked at the Cincinnati Post, I wrote a nice feature about Xavier play-by-play man Joe Sunderman. A week or so later, I got an actual hand-written thank you card from the classy Sunderman.

On Saturday, as I drove to pick up my brother from the airport in Dayton, I got a call on my cell from Andre Revels. You might have seen this story I wrote about him recently, and he had just read it when somebody at work slid it across his desk. He said as soon as he read it, he knew he needed to call me to thank me.

Actually, he didn’t need to do that. If he hadn’t, I never would have thought twice about it.

But he called. And I’m glad he did.

No matter how jaded you become or how ambivalent you get about people’s opinions of your work, it’s always nice to hear that you’ve done a good job. Even a sport writer’s cynical heart can appreciate a phone call surprise.

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