Vol. 45, No. 4 May 2008 .pdf version
Dick Jerardi: Oscar! Oscar!
Joe Mitch: Breakfast another huge success
Bryan Burwell: Should USBWA question HOF choices?
Steve Carp: Try taking a break this summer
Men's Final Four sportswriting seminar winner
Writing contest deadline: June 15

Steve Carp

Try taking a break this summer, even if your beat doesn't

By STEVE CARP / Las Vegas Review-Journal

Some Final Four, huh?

Hopefully, you've managed to catch your breath and you'll get a little time to recharge your battery after what turned out to be a thrilling NCAA Tournament. Of course, with basketball being a year-round endeavor these days, that might be a little tough. But as we've discussed in this space before, a smart editor, a good editor, will make sure their beat writer gets some time off.

My guess is that most of you will take a week off, then get back to it. Some of you still had coaching searches to chase down. There's spring recruiting to finish up, and as we've come to learn, kids are making their declarations in April and May for 2009 as they look to get the recruiting process out of the way. So chances are you're going to be busy dealing with that.

The bottom line is that covering college basketball is no longer an October-to-March gig. It is 12 months a year, and it's not just who's possibly coming to the school you cover, it's also about those who are there looking to leave.

The rumor mill gets cranked up at this time of the year. Is so-and-so staying in school? Or is he going to put his name in for the NBA draft? A nd if he does, is he selecting an agent or merely testing the waters?

There are eligibility issues you find yourself staying on top of. Sometimes, they got part-and-parcel with a kid's decision to stay in school or go pro.

Maybe an assistant coach moved on and you've got to build a relationship with his replacement. Maybe there's a whole new staff to deal with. Or maybe it's reacquainting yourself with a familiar face, as the Bay A rea writers are doing with Mike Montgomery at California.

Regardless, it's time you're putting in, and you have no choice. You just have to hope nothing happens while you're on vacation. Because you know what's going to happen; you're at the beach, the cell phone rings. You look at the screen, see it's you're office calling and you say to yourself, "Uh oh."

Sure enough, it's your boss. Something's happened on your beat, and while the boss doesn't want to pull you off that beach, do you have the coach's phone number?

We've all been there. It's part of the beat, a beat that doesn't get to take many days off.

And yeah, it can be frustrating at times, dealing with all the I nternet rumors, chasing your tail to see if your coach is really looking to move on or if he's staying put. But in the end, it's part of the game we love and we accept it as a necessary evil.

Hopefully, all of you will get a little time to yourselves and make it to the beach or wherever they're not bouncing a basketball. And when you get back to it, you'll be energized and ready to go.

Have a great summer, and again, if you've got issues that relate to your daily beat, whether they're seating, access, wireless, whatever, drop me or Dick Jerardi an e-mail, and we'll see what we can do to help improve the situation.

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