KT’s ‘Cool’ First Sports Editor Camp (or) ‘Not A Fun Day’

Published 6:50 pm Monday, April 21, 2008

By Staff
Commentary by KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
June is turning into professional-athlete-month in Washington.
Washington’s own Terrance Copper, a professional football player, and Damien Wilkins, a professional basketball player, will be in town that month. It only seems fitting that a professional sports editor gets into the act.
Copper, a star with the New Orleans Saints, is going to hold a football banquet June 13 at the Washington Civic Center and a football camp June 14 at Washington High School. (Tickets to the banquet will be sold inside the WHS gymnasium from 5 to 7 tonight. Also, preregistration for the football camp will be held at the same time.)
Copper is going to have some friends help him out at the camp, including Reggie Bush, Marques Colston, Deuce McAllister and Vonta Leach.
While this will be Copper’s first camp, Wilkins will return for his annual “Fun Day” this summer. A star with the Seattle SuperSonics, Wilkins will be back in Washington on June 21 for the Fun Day festivities. (More information on the basketball camp and Fun Day will appear in a story in a future edition of the WDN.)
While thinking about these two big events, it dawned on me — why not follow suit and hold a camp of my own? Yes! I haven’t come up with a specific name yet, but I’m leaning towards KT’s “Cool” First Sports Editor Camp or “Not a Fun Day.”
While Copper and friends will be teaching various running routes and how to catch a ball, and while Wilkins will be instructing campers on how to pass and shoot the ball, I’ll be coming up with some nuggets of my own to teach aspiring sports editors. (Did anybody else just throw up in their mouth a little?)
This job is a lot more difficult than one might imagine.
For instance, say you have a power-outage delay at a Kinston Indians game and you have time to kill. Sure, you can partake in “Thirsty Thursday,” but what if the power comes back on and you actually have to cover a game? You’ll learn the right thing to do at my camp. (And where to purchase cheap, yet strong breath mints.)
Here’s another challenge. What about the ever-so-awkward man-hug with the football player? And it’s not usually the kicker, who is roughly your height and weight. No, it’s gotta be a defensive lineman who has five or six inches on you, who weighs about the same as a Buick. Oh, and the best part, he’s dripping sweat, the jersey just soaked in his perspiration.
It’s these same dudes who don’t have the decency to practice oral hygiene. You know the types — the guy whose football mouthpiece falls to the grass. He doesn’t wipe it off. He just sticks it back in his mouth, or wedges it into his facemask. Sure, that’s a clean, sterile environment. Oh sure, the helmet may get kicked around while on the sidelines. Or it will be slapped by a sweaty hand. Or collide with another helmet.
Mr. Stink Breath smiles and goes in to give you one of those ever-so-awkward man-hugs. Do you hug him? Do you claim you have chapped hands and maybe it would be better if you just bumped fists? Afterall, he can go into the locker room and change. You’ll be stuck with a somewhat sweaty and unbelievably stinky shirt for the rest of your work shift. What to do? Learn about it at camp.
It’s not just football. Far from it. Another occasional dilemma can creep up at baseball games. This is a true story. I just finished covering an ECU baseball game and went down to field level to talk with the coach and some players. One such player that was requested (whose name will not appear here to protect the gross) was leaning against the railing near the dugout awaiting to talk with various media members. Not normally a big deal, but the player had his hands shoved down his pants. WAY down. I swear, I think he could have touched the tops of his socks.
All I kept thinking was, “Don’t shake his hand. Don’t shake his hand. Don’t shake his hand.”
In fact, even a fist-bump at that level would have seemed rather “icky.” Do you man-up and shake his hand? Do you “pretend” to have a problem with your small microphone that requires two hands while you look anywhere except where his hands are located? You’ll learn all about this and more at my camp.
The camp is tentatively set for sometime in late June, a trifecta of sorts that is set in conjunction with the sure-to-be less popular camps of Copper and Wilkins.
The cost is a tin of breath mints and a pen. (I’m always stealing from my co-workers.)
Kevin Travis is the sports editor of the Washington Daily News. You may reach him at 940-4217, or by e-mail at Kevin@wdnweb.com. His blog, KT’s Take On Sports, appears at http://wdnsports.blogspot.com.