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Vol. 45, No. 1 • November 2007 • .pdf version
Today's game: No let-up between final buzzer, opening tipoff
By STEVE CARP / Las Vegas Review-Journal
"Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends ..." better known as the college basketball season.
Between staying on top of recruiting during the summer, seeing if your team's starting power forward has sufficiently recovered from off-season knee surgery and any academic issues with the NCAA Clearinghouse regarding an incoming freshman, it's a wonder any of us have time to take a real vacation, see our families or take care of that little project around the house.
Unfortunately, covering college basketball has been a year-round beat for years now. And with the citizen journalists on the Internet breaking stories or rumoring about this kid signing with one school or another kid deciding to transfer, there's no time to let down our guard.
We talk all the time about coaches suffering from burnout. But what about the beat writers? How do we keep our batteries from flaming out?
In some parts of the country, we catch a break. Our football brethren in the SEC and Big Ten find themsleves doing their beat 24/7/365. But for our ACC hoops brothers and sisters, their lives are no different than those who cover Alabama, LSU and Florida football. In ACC country, hoops are a year-round passion. A day off is seldom.
So, again, I ask, how do we avoid burnout?
A lot has to do with our editors. The smart ones realize that it's not worth losing their beat person because they didn't scoop the country on the new ops guy. The good editors demand their people disconnect their computers, stash their Crackberries, put their cell phones in hibernation and get the hell away from the job.
Some editors have been beat writers themselves and they understand the daily pressure of coming up with copy. Others don't have a clue and ride their reporters like rented mules, especially those at non-union papers where the Guild would step in and demand they back off.
But I'd venture to say most editors are understanding and want their reporters to maintain their sanity. So they work with them to keep them out of the paper and away from their beats when the opportunity presents itself.
Hopefully, most of you have good relationships with your boss and are encouraged to take some down time. Chances are your coach is sick of seeing you day after day and I'm sure it's vice versa.
Maybe you managed to get to the beach with the significant other. Or you got to camp out with the kids. Maybe you rediscovered your golf game or used all those airline miles and Marriott points you've accrued to treat yourself to a vacation in Canada, Mexico or overseas.
Most important, you hopefully gave yourself a chance to decompress, let those e-mails in your in-box sit for a few days unanswered and catch your breath.
It's fall. It's time to go to work. Let the show begin!
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