Not so secret tricks

When Cuddles and I worked together at The Cullman Times, we had a discussion about how we tried to avoid debates with general sports fans.

Our reasoning was simple — uneducated sports fans are incredibly frustrating to talk to.

I’m willing to talk general sports with anyone (fantasy, who’s having a good season, ESPN highlights, etc.). However, when it comes to debates about football strategies, baseball trades, etc., I almost always to remove myself from the discussion. It’s too damn annoying.

This rule applies to co-workers (non-sports writers), fans and even my dear Grandpa.

It would be real similar to me trying to have a political debate with someone. I know the basics of politics, but I wouldn’t really know what I was talking about once it turned into a debate about the economy, health care or another important issues. If I tried to act like I did, it would be a frustrating conversation for the other, more knowledgeable person.

There are a few rare exceptions I make to my rule (usually with people that are regular posters on this blog). One of those exceptions is my Uncle Phillip.

I credit Uncle Phil with getting me hooked onto sports at an early age. He knows a lot about baseball, and I had to study the game if I wanted to have a discussion about the sport with him.

Now Uncle Phil and I have a lot of differing opinions when it comes to sports. A lot. It usually makes for some lively debates.

We don’t always debate, though. Sometimes he will start a discussion based on my info from being a sports writer. We had one of those discussions on Thursday.

Uncle Phil sent me a text in the morning regarding the story coming out of Pittsburgh, where Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was pissed at ESPN’s Bob Holtzman for a reporting the team had a trick play planned against Baltimore.

“So how often or is it uncommon for press members to have access to ‘trick’ plays or even just access to info of ‘hey, watching for this’ for games?” Uncle Phil wrote. “I thought it was common and know that is was not to be public info. I think this ESPN guy may have hurt his career over a short-term story. Am I misreading something?”

This was actually a pretty interesting topic. I was watching ESPN when Holtzman’s report originally came on. It made me laugh.

I’ve been to enough football practices and talked to enough coaches to know one thing — if coaches want a “trick play” or personnel changes to be made public, they will let the reporter know. If they don’t want it known, they will tell the reporter as much.

I had a discussion about this with one of my favorite coaches, Clear Springs’ Clint Hartman. He had no problem with me reporting about possible tricks he had up his sleeve.

“The more other teams have to prepare for crazy shit like that, the less time they have to prepare for everything else,” he told me.

Now according to that article, Tomlin was miffed at Holtzman for his report on the “trick play.” It’s laughable.

First off, Holtzman didn’t watch practice and report on it. Two of the players told him about the play. Not his fault if they gave him the information on the record.

Secondly, it’s not like Baltimore was going to suddenly change up its game plan for a trick play that may or may not happen. It’s the NFL — coaches and players are prepared for pretty much anything.

I think Tomlin is either making up his irritation at Holtzman, or he should be directing that anger at the players for telling a reporter about the play. Holtzman was just doing his job.

What does everyone else think? If a coach or player talks about a “trick play” without it being off the record, is it OK to report it?

Job search update

Scouring the internet for job openings in Houston, I’ve tried to go away from general search sites and move to particular company websites.

I was looking up jobs at CenterPoint Energy, which I stumbled upon an opening for Corporate Communications Project Manager.

Here are some of the duties of the job:

• Serve as editor for CenterPoint Energy News, the company’s quarterly employee newsletter.

• Serve as contributor of e-News, CenterPoint Energy’s bimonthly electronic employee newsletter.

• Partner with Corporate Communications staff members to develop story ideas, assign stories, manage story approvals and deadlines, and edit contributors’ articles.

• Develop and implement communication plans proactively and as requested. Manage or assist producing a wide variety of communication materials, including:  newsletters, articles, brochures, presentations, video scripts and speeches.

• Write for a variety of audiences and formats, including print, broadcast, electronic and web communication.

Piece of cake.

Now if only I knew someone at CenterPoint Energy that could help me get this job…

Oh wait, I happen to be friends with a Service Area Director at the company. His kids play sports at one of the local high schools. We’ve been friends for about four years and usually go out to lunch every six months or so.


He said I can put him down as a reference and he’s going to make a call for me.

Hopefully this leads to something. Unemployment is getting really old…

Mad ramblings

• Spending five minutes at the Chick-Fil-A play area makes me realize how much I hate kids, with the exception of my own.

• Haven’t started watching the American Idol episodes I have DVR’d. I’m not hearing good things about the show this year, though.

• Doing another radio broadcast on Friday. I don’t think it’s online this time, though.

• Hopefully the Cubs getting Matt Szczur to give up football will work out better than the whole Jeff Samardzija thing did.

• Everyone continues to act this week like Troy Polamalu is the greatest player in the history of football. Yes, he is awesome…when healthy. Clearly those pimping Polamalu heading into Sunday’s game didn’t see how absolutely awful he was against Baltimore. It’s clear he is playing hurt and he won’t be a big factor against the Jets.

• I’ll post my championship picks late Friday night (bet you’ll never guess who I am picking in the NFC). Until then, here’s a little bit of smack talk for the Crappers…er…I mean Packers.

Bear Down and Keep the Faith!



About Joshua Buckley

I used to be a Sports Editor. Now I'm the Media Relations Manager at the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.


5 thoughts on “Not so secret tricks

  1. I actually threw down my phone and stopped reading when you mentioned your “favorite coach”. I had to go throw up….. maybe I will get back to the rest of your blog soon…..

    Oh, since you and Evan left the Galv News, it has been blocked by our server. Karma…. SMH

    Posted by Colts-Gal | January 21, 2011, 7:53 am
    • I said one of my favorite coaches. Obviously Warren and Van Meter are high on my list as well, mostly because they always tell it like it is.

      Funny about the GCDN website.

      Posted by Joshua Buckley | January 21, 2011, 8:32 am
  2. I think if a coach isn’t smart enough to say “hey, keep this off the record” if he wishes as much when speaking with a reporter, he reaps what he sews.

    That job would be mentally retarding for you, but it would at least pay well enough to keep the lights on. It would also probably be light enough in mental taxation that you could do some personal side projects for yourself. Or surf porn at work, either way.

    Buddy of mine up here is going to the game with his family. Four of them are Packers fans, two are Bears fans (including my friend), and they’ve had to strategize how to keep the Packers family members from getting their asses kicked at the game.

    Posted by southernmaninindy | January 21, 2011, 8:41 am
  3. I test transformer oil for pretty much every energy company there is, of course including CenterPoint. I wish I could tell you I had a direct connection but I rarely deal with our clients, that’s usually my supervisor’s job. I will throw your situation out there and see what he says. Maybe he knows someone…

    Posted by Katherine Morgan | January 22, 2011, 1:15 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: