Wednesday, January 25, 2012
An Ode to one of my Heroes
These were the first couple of post-college years. I was living in Boston, in a studio on fashionable Newbury St. no less, while making $17,000 a year, working 90-100 hours per week as the assistant sports information director at Harvard.
Time of my life.
My daily commute, Green Line to Red Line, from Copley Square to Harvard Square, always began with the purchase of the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald from the street vendor who sat on his stack of papers outside the steps down to the T.
When I left Boston for New York in 1989, as much as anything in Boston, including Fenway Park, Beanpot hockey and The Sevens on Charles St., I missed those two papers.
Remember, kids, this was before there was the internet, much less an app for that. There was something about the writing talent those papers had...and still have to this day. Names like Leigh Montville and Charlie Pierce come to mind. They were the columnists of note back then, at the Globe and Herald respectively. But there were also writers like Steve Fainaru, who covered the Red Sox for the Globe. And Mike Globetti, who wrote about college footbal (and hunting and fishing) for the Herald.
These guys could make you think and make you laugh.
And the one guy who always managed to make me think and laugh is still at it to this day, delivering columns on all things related to Boston sports. I'm talking about the one and only Dan Shaughnessy, who finds a way to capture what's going through the hearts and minds of Boston sports fans and articulate it in a manner that makes you feel like you know the guy from, I don't know, the hardware store.
His column on the Patriots securing their spot in the Super Bowl is just another example. He ties history and emotion and one-liners into a neat package like no one else. Having gotten to know Dan professionally over the last 20 years there's another thing I admire about him. When he delivers lines that he knows might pierce the skin of the athletes he's covering, he's always there in the clubhouse or lockerroom the next day, just in case there's an athlete who wants to "address it."
In the world of non-stop snark we live in today. Snark without accountability, I might add. That's a trait that still helps set Shaughnessy apart.