By JOHN INMAN
Believe it or not, I was an award-winning sportswriter at one time. After seeing the way I’ve stumbled with words, adjectives, verbs and sentence structure for the last 32 weeks writing this column, you’re probably thinking, “Who in the heck does this guy think he is? Did he even take English in high school or college?”
No, really, I was. I won several awards, some for first-place honors. True, it may have been very early in my journalistic career, but it happened. I was a legend, even if it was in my own mind. That was in the past and now I’m ready to move on to bigger and better things. Like an author. You’re probably saying to yourself, “Brother, is this guy dreaming or what?”
Well, it’s true. I’m 64-years-old and two days ago (just had a birthday on Tuesday), of sound body (not real sure about that one) and mind (at least Cynthia thinks so), and because it’s just time. I’m using this public forum to make the announcement. Here and now.
I’ve been used to writing quick, two-page stories in a press box (one of my awards was for spot sports writing) so this will be a little different for me, especially time-wise. Hint: all you Heavener readers, be thinking of old pictures you can send me or stories you can tell. Don’t be shy, either. My email is [email protected] and my home phone is … well, let’s just say, I’d rather be flooded with emails than calls.
Why? My book will be entitled “Stop the Presses Reflections of a frustrated journalist, a wanna-be athlete and a fairly good fella” That should attract some interested readers, huh? I have a publisher lined up, even if it is a guy who lived two houses from me on 2nd Street in Heavener, Bob Babcock. He, too, of sound body and mind (I’m pretty sure on both counts), has been at it for a while now, authored a few (certainly more than one) books himself about his days and experiences in the U.S. Army and he’ll publish anything from anybody in Heavener. Obviously, you may be thinking. Seriously, Bob has a company called “Deeds Not Words” in Atlanta, GA (www.deedspublishing.com). One of his many mottos is “Everybody has a book in them.”
So, I thought, “Why not?” You only live once, buddy. Go for the gusto. “Stop the Presses” (pretty clever to use a newspaper term, I thought) will be centered around the Heavener Wolves football team, circa mid-1950s and early 1960s, plenty of pictures and more including chapters about my work experiences, coaches I’ve dealt with, interviews I’ve had with some of the greats from the sports world and a few facts and figures. I may even throw in a little about growing up in Heavener, of which I’m very proud (Cynthia would quickly second that motion).
I have even requested one of my closest friends, former high school coach,Maurice Cook, whose team in Longview I covered for years, to write the forward. I figure a person should always have a lot of trust in someone who’s going to write your forward, correct? Of course, the forward is not supposed to be written until the book is read. Maurice probably knows that.
For the time being, I plan to still write my weekly column, until I run out of material or because I’m too busy writing a book. After all, not everyone can put on their personal resume, “Lead sports columnist for the LeFlore County Journal”. What a way to cap an award-winning sports writing career, the book, I mean, not writing for the LCJ. Who knows, Maybe Brad Pitt will see it and want to make a movie from it. This is the week his “Moneyball” movie comes out. The only thing is, I would want a say-so on who plays me on the big screen!
Until next week’s Time-out …