[Vision2020] Giving Up the Life (Rick Reilly)

Scott Dredge sdredge at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 30 13:26:34 PST 2007

He's off to live happily ever after.  The end.


----- Original Message ----
From: Tom Hansen <thansen at moscow.com>
To: Moscow Vision 2020 <vision2020 at moscow.com>
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 1:11:13 PM
Subject: [Vision2020] Giving Up the Life (Rick Reilly)

>From the "Life of Reilly" (by Rick Reilly) column of the December 3,
edition of Sports Illustrated -


Giving Up the Life
By Rick Reilly

I was born the youngest of four, an attention-seeking missile, half
half caffeine and a leading cause of teachers' facial tics.  But I
had one clear dream - to work at SI.

So why now, after 23 years, am I quitting?

I mean, we're talking more than 850 bylines - which is funny, because I
thought I'd never get to 10.

I came to this job 100 feet over my head and with no snorkel.  I was 27
terrified of being fired.  I'd gobble aspirins and down them with
until my stomach blew out and dumped me into the hospital.  Twice.

I learned to control my fears with biofeedback - making one giant
last 30 seconds, puffing my cheeks out on the exhale until I turned
purple.  I looked like a nauseated puffer fish.  When I made my first
appearance, on a SportsCenter segment in 1988, my stomach was all
We were supposed to go live from my living room in two minutes, enough
to take a couple 30-second breaths to calm down.  I was in the middle
 of my
second when my then wife ran in, horrified.

"You're on the air!"

My earpiece had failed.  The host had asked, "Rick, is your book an
indictment of college football?"  Cut to me, peering into the camera
suddenly inhaling mightily.  But the host thought I was thinking hard
his question, so he waited.  The the slooooow exhale.  Still waiting.
Purple.  Surely, the answer was coming now?  Nope, another suck-in.

"Well," the host deadpanned, "we know he's alive.  We can see him

Eventually, I switched to decaf, and realized how much fun this job
be.  I got to smoosh cars in a monster truck, mush dogs in Alaska,
balls with Tiger, chase Lance, face Ryan and race everything from a
 blimp to
Indy cars.

One time I picked up the phone and heard, "Hold for the President,
One of my pals, no doubt.  The president of what, the Kiwanis?" I
Only to hear a gravelly voice on the other end go, "What?  No, it's
Clinton.  We're just laughin' our asses off over here over whatchu

Best moment ever?  In a men's shower.  Hours after he led his Denver
to a stunning win over Green Bay - ending his run of Super Bowl
- I could hear John Elway whooping and hollering alone in the shower.
know what?" I said to the old towel guy sitting on the bench next to
"That's the sound of redemption.  That's primal joy, man."  He shrugged
said, "Nah, we ran out of hot water."

Still, the big names and big events weren't the best part of the job.
best part has been my e-mail inbox.  I seem to have become the national
clearinghouse for stories about people overcoming disease, war or
 tragedy to
achieve great things - tales of courage and resilience that would melt
executioner's heart.

I could tell only a fraction of those stories, but the ones I did write
stayed with me.  You may read them once and forget about them, but I
from my columns all the time.  They call, they write, they tell me that
their lives just keep getting better.

Just one example from this year:  Do you remember Sean Cronk, the kid
Everett, Mass., with cerebral palsy but could make tons of free throws
 in a
row (SI, March 5, 2007)?  He finally got into a game and won a playoff
one.  Well, he's going to go to college, thanks to the guy I wrote
 about the
very next week - billionaire Kenny trout, who flies his sixth-grade
AAU basketball team in private 737s.  Troutt called Sean's mom and
"Anywhere Sean wants to go, I'm paying."  So Sean is going to junior
in the fall, with plans to transfer to UMass.  Nice.

My favorite column, though, was not about one person but millions - the
impoverished Africans who benefited from Nothing But Nets, the
campaign you and I started with the help of the United Nations
(SI, May 1, 2006).  Every week I hear about another kid donating his
mitzvah money, a Brownie troop sending its lemonade profits, a family
choosing nets over Christmas gifts.  We're at $16 million, and much of
has come in twenties and fives and rolls of quarters.  Nobody does
like sports fans.

Anyway, it's been my privilege to write for this elegant magazine and
wonderful readers.  Now I'll find out if my little voice can carry in a
whole new way.  You can reach me anytime at RickReillyonline.com, and
beginning June 1, I'll be starting a new job, which includes writing a
column and working in TV.  Of course, when I told my son Jake that, he
"Dad, it's not gonna be high-def, right?"

Right.  And I promise not to turn purple, either.


Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

Came a tribe from the north brave and bold . . .

"Here We Have Idaho"

"I-D-A-H-O Idaho Idaho Go Go Go"

 List services made available by First Step Internet, 
 serving the communities of the Palouse since 1994.   
          mailto:Vision2020 at moscow.com

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