Tag:Gary Parrish
Posted on: August 5, 2008 1:29 pm

When fandom and work collide

So CBSSports.com senior college basketball writer Gary Parrish was featured in a Q&A on A Sea of Blue, a site dedicated to the University of Kentucky athletics.

What struck me was the following response --

ASOB -- You're from Olive Branch, MS, which is only a few miles from Memphis.  Did you grow up a Memphis fan or did you root for one of the Mississippi schools?

GP -- "I'm actually from Horn Lake, MS, but now I live in Olive Branch.  Same thing really.  But anyway, yeah, I grew up a Memphis fan. Keith Lee was my childhood hero, Penny Hardaway too.  But when I got out of college -- and before I got this job at CBS -- I covered the Tigers for five seasons for the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, and the 'fan' aspect totally disappeared.  I mean, sitting courtside at this years national title game should've been one of the highlights of my life.  But it wasn't.  I was indifferent to the whole thing, and I don't say that in an attempt to prove I'm impartial.  It kinda makes me sad, actually, because the main reason I wanted to be a sports writer was because I loved sports, and I don't really love sports anymore.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my job and consider myself lucky to have it.  But I have no emotional interest in any team in any sport anymore, and sometimes I wish that wasn't so because there's something nice about living and dying with a team." 

In a way I'm like this too, though not to the point where I don't root for anybody in any sport. After 10+ years in the sports media, while I still have teams I follow religously (see the logos of my favorite teams above), I don't get the sense of fulfillment I enjoyed in my youth.

I especially lived and died by the Miami Dolphins. Losses were especially painful. But through last year's 1-15 season I was numb to it and basically just shrugged it off. Perhaps it's just maturity. With three kids I have more important things to worry about than whether the Dolphins win or lose (though I'd still much prefer they win).

Perhaps if they ever turn the corner and become good again I'll feel that tinge of excitement, but it just hasn't felt the same since Dan Marino left (and Packers fans, trust me, though it's a bit ugly right now, a few years down the road you're going to feel the same way about Favre).

Which brings me to auto racing.

I find it hilarious the varying opinions whenever I write my Power Rankings of who I like and who I dislike. Some think I love Roush Racing. Some say I love Hendrick Motorsports. Others believe I have a vendetta against RCR. It goes on and on.

But quite honestly, what has happened to me over the years with auto racing is that I've become more appreciative of the sport as a whole, especially in the years since Dale Earnhardt Sr. died.

It's no secret since I've written it in a previous blog that I was a huge fan of Earnhardt growing up. And I was diehard. It was Dolphins 1, Earnhardt 2 in my book. So much so that when shopping for cars when I came of age, I wouldn't touch Ford and owned mostly GM products through the years.

That's no longer the case. I've come to my senses and realized how dumb that really was. I've missed out on some pretty good car deals

In any case, all these drivers, manufacturers, teams and whatnot are the same in my book nowadays. I just want to see some exciting. down-to-the- wire races. I don't care if it's Junior battling Kyle Busch or Scott Riggs vs. Dave Blaney, as long as I see a good show, I'm happy.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com