One of the biggest complaints about being a sports journalist is the schedule.
Nights and weekends are not a rarity, they are the norm.
Sure, sometimes this job means you get to cover games for a living and gain free entry, but when all the stadiums close and you are finished with deadline and the paper is put to bed then you are left with a social life that is rather non-existent.
Because of this journalists tend to have a pretty small circle of friends. I mean, seriously, how many people do you know who go mini-golfing at midnight once a week? I bet that answer is one – because you know me.
Another thing about journalists is they tend to move around a lot. It’s rare you get a job at your hometown paper and never leave.
There are a variety of reasons for this – it could be that your hometown paper is tiny and the pay is abysmal (who am I kidding, the pay is abysmal at all newspapers) or it could be that your hometown paper is gigantic and they aren’t hiring 22-year-olds straight out of college (who am I kidding, all newspapers want these days are kids who are willing to get paid abysmal wages) or you might just want to travel the country.
All three situations applied to me.
So off I went to the Idaho Press-Tribune in Nampa, then to the Odessa American in Texas, then to The Daily Courier in Grants Pass, Oregon, back to Odessa, then on to the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Washington, and finally to The News Tribune in Tacoma.
All that traveling has left me with a disparate group of friends strewn across the country. It cost me one marriage, and landed me a new wife – who happens to be a newspaper woman herself. It’s also given me life-long friends who have been through the daily wars that are daily deadlines.
There is a certain bond you get when you work in newsrooms with people from many political backgrounds, in far flung reaches of the country, with few similar sports rooting interests, and covering everything that is good and bad in this world.
I still talk to people to this day from each of my newspaper stops, no matter if I haven’t seen them in 15 years.
All of this is a roundabout way to get to the purpose of our trip to Newport, Oregon, recently.
When I found out Geoff Folsom was getting married at long last, it didn’t matter I hadn’t seen him since I had moved away from the Tri-Cities in May of 2014. We were going no doubt about it.
Geoff was hired at the Odessa American a few months after me. He worked as a news reporter and moonlighted on weekends as a sports reporter. During our weekly Fifth Quarter video parties, he was often the highlight, inventing songs and generally mocking the teams and towns he had just covered.
Eventually he worked alongside Veronica and they became good friends. After we all went our separate ways from Odessa – Geoff moved to Georgia – we reconnected at the Tri-City Herald.
Veronica likes to say she was the reason he got hired, as she gave a sterling reference. I like to take claim because I pushed and prodded management until they hired him.
So, in a way, we are both responsible for him meeting Maria and getting married. Ha.
Anyway, being present at their holy union was a treat.
Getting to sit at a table with Geoff, former co-worker Ben Maki, Veronica and I, reminiscing about our time in Odessa was just the cherry on top.
– Craig Craker