(And, just to warn you further, my ego is going to be the star of this post. So, if you like me right now, this may post leave you with a liquid Tylenol-like bad taste in your mouth. And if you really don't like me, you'll probably start making voodoo dolls with my likeness.)
So anyways, I was at my godparents house last Sunday watching the Super Bowl. Since the game was broadcast by NBC, Bob Costas led the pre- and post-game studio discussions. Naturally, this sparked a conversation with my godfather.
"Hey, Brian," said my godfather, cuing over to the TV. "That could be you in ten or twenty years?"
I LOL'd. A soccer journalist becoming the next American spokesman for all things sports? What's next? A game show host sitting on the board of a first division soccer club?*
(*Oh, snap...you mean Drew Carey REALLY is on the board for the Seattle Sounders? I mean, I know he loves soccer, and he's probably got alot more money than I'll ever see, but...R U SERIOUS? What service will he perform, other than playing FIFA '09 when Taylor Twellman and the Revs visit and making passing Sounders references on "The Price is Right"?)
Now, my godfather, who also happens to be my uncle and a second father to me, really has little interest in soccer.* His team is Benfica by virtue of my late-grandfather. It's a family thing. Like eating rabbit at Easter. Aside from that trailing interest in the sport, my uncle knows little more about the beautiful game.
(*And that's OK. I don't expect to brainwash the entire world to love soccer just yet. Besides, I'm still working on ideas to coerce Nicole Scherzinger into marrying me.)
So it's funny to me that he sincerely believes that his godson, a soccer journalist who has earned the equivalent of car payment during his burgeoning writing career, has the potential to someday sit at the roundtable with guys like Boomer Esiason, Jerome Bettis, or even that blowhard from MSNBC.
Of course, my godfather is biased. We're of the same blood. But, he sees my passion for sports. He's called me completely out of the blue to ask me the most random of sports questions.* He understands that while I may have ceded my dream to play professional sports, I have acquired another through the realm of sports journalism.
(*One particular call came less than five minutes after an English final. After about two hours and half hours of non-stop writing on literary discourse, my brain - or what was left of it - was essentially charcoaled toast. The fact that I could find my car afterward was a feat in itself.
So anyway, my right pocket begins to buzz just as I'm opening the door to my car, and it's my uncle. "Brian, I just have a quick question for ya. Why are the Minnesota Twins called 'the Twins?' " I forget exactly what I said, so to avoid of misquoting myself here, I think I said something along the lines of St. Paul and Minneapolis are the Twin Cities, and thus, the baseball team is called the Twins. I even said something to the effect that their logo has/once had a picture of supposed twins shaking hands. Did I mention my brain was toast at this point?)
But my uncle brought up an interesting idea. It dawned upon me, as a journalist, that Bob Costas is the embodiment of American sports journalism. Almost anyone who holds an iota of sports knowledge knows who he is. You know an event is big when Bob Costas is either there, or speaking on it.
In essence, becoming the next Bob Costas is dream much like the dream of playing professional sports for both aspiring and successful sports journalists. It's like putting on the pinstripes, sporting the star, or wearing the white.
And who knows? Fantasy allows us to dream. Maybe in 2029, when MLS Cup, or whatever it's called then, will become a premier television event, much like the Super Bowl. A pre-game, halftime, and post-game studio show will be required. Somebody's gotta lead the discussion. Why not me?
Alas, reality will likely step in and grant the title of "the next Bob Costas" to someone who is much better versed, more knowledgeable, and well-connected. That is fine. But I guarantee you that he not be better looking than me. Nor will he have the acute insight to proffer that Dave van den Bergh is the soccer equivalent of Sean Morey. So long as those variables remain in place, I can accept the next Bob Costas' existance, whoever he is/will be, as legitimate.
Meanwhile, I am what I am. Journalism is not my full-time gig. I simply write here whenever I feel like it. I've been afforded enough respect among my peers to write semi-regularly for an online soccer publication and appear on a weekly radio program. I've met and interviewed some really cool people. And you know what? In my own little world - my world within the world - I am the next Bob Costas.
And that's absolutely fine by me.