Signing autographs hurt, but it was still cool…

Sometimes it is flat-out hard to just sit and think about what to write.

Hell, it is hard to just write when you are paid to do it. Work is work, no doubts there. I enjoy what I do there. But it is hard to be at home, relaxing and think, “Ya know, I haven’t blogged in a while. What can I talk about?”


Little kids, big stories

On Monday afternoon, a colleague and I went to an elementary school to talk about working for the newspaper to a large group of third, fourth and fifth graders – all of them wired up and restless.

The regional public television station brought a camera crew to show off being on television, while the local radio personality came to show off by getting the kids to say “Hi!” into his cell phone and having it broadcast on the radio a minute later.

As for me and Dan, the city editor, all we had was a big piece of paper that looked like the front page and big words like, “pagination…” Yeah. That’ll hold their attention, which it didn’t. The radio personality started signing autographs for the kids as Dan began talking about the newsaper. The kids ignored us, instead they crowded around the radio dude, pushing paper into his face and asking him to sign it and their arms and hands… yes… arms and hands.

Dan trudged on and I walked around with the mock front page paper that the kids glanced at and then went to the radio guy. I took the mic, “Hi, everyone. I’m Rob and I’m a sports writer…” Silence. I even heard a cricket, but it was a chair moving along the gym floor. “Does everyone like sports?” No reaction… “Aw, come on. Who likes sports here?” A few hands are raised. “How about baseball?” A few more reactions.

With a big smile and a lot of nervous energy pouring out over the kids, I started rolling off sports that they liked. The kids began to respond, taking over the process, asking questions. Soon, the radio guy was all alone and Dan was egging them on with questions and sports players names for them to respond to. I talked about meeting Ichiro, Shaun Alexander, Gary Payton, Joe Montana, Shaq, MC Hammer, everyone that I could think of. The kids went with it, rolling off names of players, asking if I met them or if I didn’t like them.

I was even asked who was my least favorite (Seattle) Mariner? I told her, “None. They’re all nice people.” Well, except for Ron Fairly, but that’s another story.

After 10 minutes of imitating an informercial pitchman, the head teacher told the kids that it was time to go…. and then they rushed me. I sat down on a desk to catch my breath when 75 kids lunged at me with paper, arms, hands and more questions. “Can you sign my arm?” “Make this out to Stephanie, please?” “Why do you have hair in your ears?”

I was given a pen and I started signing autographs for the first time in my life. Hey, I’ve seen enough baseball, football, hockey stars and rock gods signing everything that I just started writing. But there’s a trick to it and I picked it up quickly – look them in the eye, say hello, ask their name and say “You’re welcome” or “Have a good night.” The kids ate it up.

Dan signed a bunch, too. I don’t remember the exact count of autographs I handed out, but I was there for another 40 minutes – and I wasn’t slow, either. I had kids tapping me on the shoulder. I nearly got a paper cut on my nose when someone thrusted a piece of paper in front of me. I was overwhelmed.

And I really enjoyed myself, too.

When it was over, it was me, Dan and the head teacher, who was beaming. “That was wonderful!” she said. Yeah, it was…


On Monday Night Football, Terrel Owens and Nicolette Sheridan shared a “moment” in the Philadelphia Eagles locker room for all of the world to see.

It was fake, but it was the opening montage for the game between Philadelphia and Dallas last night. The game was good – if you were an Eagles fan. As a fantasy football player who has the Eagles’ Donovan McNabb and David Akers and the Cowboys’ Jason Whitten, it was a good night.

Then the backlash began after the game. The montage was a play on the ABC’s new drama, “Desperate Housewives,” which is basically the story of four wives or recently divorced women who sleep around with the neighbors. Think of it as Dynasty or Dallas but in suburbia… Yeah. Sheridan is one of the wives, along with Teri Hatcher (Lois and Clark) and a few others I don’t recognize.

Well, the National Football League, still hurting from the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction,” went apeshit, calling the opener “inappropriate and not in the taste of what fans want to see on Monday Night Football.”


I have three words for the NFL – Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Here’s three more – Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders.

This is a pasttime that shows cheerleaders bouncing around in two-piece outfits, in all types of weather, with up-camera shots of them smiling, cheering, smiling, waving, bouncing, bouncing, bouncing, and bouncing some more.

And they called the TO-Sheridan piece inappropriate. I call it hypocricy!

Not that there isn’t anything wrong with cheerleaders, um… bouncing, but just because Janet Jackson screwed up doesn’t mean that you have to find a moral high ground to save your ass. The NFL has been bought, sold and distributed as a sport with sex, violence and instant relays with multiple angles a long time ago. It is too late, NFL.

So, please, if you are going to stand there, get rid of the beer commercials “… and those TWINS!” the penile dysfunction medicine ads, the cars ads and anything else that uses sex or sexual imagry to sell product. But then, that won’t happen, now will it?

OK, that’s enough. Have a wonderful day, whenever you read this.

(c) R. Burns (photo credits: E! Online/Yahoo, , and )


1 Comment

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One response to “Signing autographs hurt, but it was still cool…

  1. WhizGidget

    Hear hear on the cheerleaders comments! Put ’em in granny dresses, cover those poor freezing girls up – they only bounce to keep warm, and it’s not thier fault they’re overendowed (whether natually or surgically isn’t relevant here). The hypocrits that run the networks really need to take a closer look at things. Fans don’t want to see that as part of NFL airings? Then they’ll just tune into Desperate Housewives (which is a good guilty pleasure and has high ratings), or CSI (gore factor and bugs), or Alias, 24, ER, NYPD Blue… all shows that have pushed the envelope on censors in the last few years that they’ve been on. Oh boy… I could go on – and I will, in my blog in a couple of days….

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