Jeff Pearlman

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J.L. Kirven, Tee Willis and Jared Emch make good

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So earlier this evening I had the honor of sitting alongside Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel and speaking to journalism students at Ohio University. It was a fantastic time, and for nearly two hours we told stories, offered advice, took questions. Wonderful stuff.

After the session ended, I was approached by a bunch of people saying hi and bye, hey and yo, thanks and good luck. I was also approached by three students who handed me business cards. Their names are J.L. Kirven, Tee Willis and Jared Emch.

To this, I say—Bravo!

Journalism in 2019 is hard. Finding a job in journalism in 2019 is brutally hard. With the decline in print, with the confusion via the web, one must scramble and bust ass and play all the angles. It’s still a marvelous career worth pursuing, but it’s significantly more difficult than it was, oh, 20 years ago. There are just as many aspiring reporters, but fewer traditional slots.

And, really, that’s where this praise comes from. Is there much (besides this post) I can do with the cards of J.L., Tee and Jared? Eh, probably not. But they made sure to hand them to me, just as—I’m certain—they’ll make sure to hand them to other journalists they meet along the way. It screams, “I really want this!” Which is a powerful and profound statement, especially when the other 100 students in attendance didn’t hand out business cards.

So I urge the trio to keep it up.

People will take notice.

A Fairleigh Dickinson alum celebrates

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So I asked my mother, Joan Pearlman, to write a guest post about her reaction to Fairleigh Dickinson university posting it’s first-ever March Madness victory yesterday. Here is what she has to say …

I recently learned of the success of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s basketball team. This was exciting and an unexpected surprise, considering the fact that I never knew they had a team. As an alumnus of FDU, also known at one time as “Fairleigh Ridiculous,” I must admit that as a commuting student, I never felt much of an allegiance to the school. However, in retrospect, I did receive a good education. Further, as a psych major/sociology minor, that BA degree opened many doors which led to a successful career in my fields of study.

Go, FDU!

Wait. The little kid from next door is getting married? WHAT?

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Steve and Emily.

Quick story: Back when I was in early high school, my neighbor and close pal moved from New York to North Carolina. I was not happy. Gary and I grew up together. Sleepovers. Driveway hoops. Sledding down Emerald Lane. On and on. Our boyhoods are intertwined, and he remains one of my best friends.

Anyhow, when the Millers left a new family moved in—the Strafaces. They were a couple with three kids. Two boys and a little girl. And while it was cool having new neighbors, it wasn’t quite the same. The boys—Steve and Paul—were much younger, and Pam (the daughter) was teeny tiny. It was sorta Hi and Bye and Hey and … yeah.

As time passed, however, I really came to enjoy the family and, in particular, Steve and Paul. When I’d come home from college they’d always be lingering in their driveway, often on a bike or scooter of some sort. I’d come over, chase them around the house, talk Yankees and Jets. It was fun, and seeing them get bigger and bigger was a pretty entertaining thing. These were good kids.

I digress.

Two minutes ago, while checking Facebook, I saw that Steve is engaged to be married. And I thought, “Wait. What?” Wasn’t he 10 yesterday, dashing through the ditch in a game of tag? Wasn’t he just asking me what I thought about Kevin Maas? And Pat Kelly? Doesn’t he need to catch the bus to Lakeview Elementary?

Time is a trippy thing. It really is. The days crawl. The years fly. You’re young, blink, you’re old. You grow used to certain things, then those certain things land atop their head. It’s a constant upheaval of names, dates, faces. A swirling of life that’s both reassuring and devastating. Hell, as I write this my daughter is learning to drive. When did that happen? How did that happen?

Steve Straface is engaged.

I’m thrilled for him.

And, oddly, a bit sad for lost youth.

You’re posting me up while wearing AirPods?

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Played basketball a few weeks ago against a kid who was wearing AirPods on the court.

It pissed me off.

He was, oh, 17. Maybe 18. And as one who was, long ago, 17 or 18, I knew exactly what he was trying to say: You matter so little to me as an opponent that I’ll simultaneously enjoy the sounds of Drake and kick your ass.

I’ve been there. I remember being a teen, placing meaning in every item of clothing, every slant of a hat brim. It’s the need to show I’m-so-cool-I-don’t-care, even though you’re actually so insecure you do care. That’s how social development works. Trial and error. Highs and lows. Testing, experimenting, finding a voice.

Well, the AirPods during pickup voice is one I don’t care for.

Because I’m 46, and because this kid was young enough to be my son, I wisely ignored his intended statement. I didn’t elbow him in the head or take out a knee. I didn’t talk shit or sling yang or call his game pudding. Instead, I did what old basketball players did: I immediately noticed he brought the ball to his waist before going up for shots, and repeatedly spiked it from his hands. I noticed he had no left, and played him hard right. I pump faked him four or five times before he realized he was being pump faked.

Then, at the end, I asked where he bought his AirPods.

Back at Ohio University

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So as I write this I’m sitting inside the Village Bakery & Cafe, one of my all-time favorite coffee shops. It’s located a stone’s throw from the campus of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and smells of roasted beans and muffins.

Anyhow, this is my second-straight year in town, and I’m psyched. The school of journalism flew me in to host a live episode of Two Writers Slinging Yang, my award-winning, 10 million-listens-per week podcast that has swept the nation’s attention is fun. I was even allowed to pick a guest, and Dan Wetzel—the terrific Yahoo columnist—agreed to participate.

Anyhow, I’m gonna get funky and broadcast the even live via Twitter and Facebook Live. We’ll take questions from people around the world wide web and hopefully have a dandy ol’ time.

Sometimes this gig kicks ass.

The Nearly Everything Store Lacks a Whole Lot of Nearly Everything

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So I was in Eagle, Colorado for a few days, and a woman inside an alpaca store (yes, you read that correctly) asked if I’d been to the Nearly Everything Store.

No, I had not.

“Well, you need to go.”

I went.

The Nearly Everything Store—in the heart of the town’s lovely-but-small downtown—didn’t have nearly everything. Or even close to everything. Or even 1/1,000,000,000,000th of everything. It had candy and medicine and T-shirts and candles and greeting cards. It had hats and hunting gear and pencils and erasers. It had cough drops and glue and shoelaces.

Among the things it didn’t have:

Lionel Manuel’s spleen.

The remains of my great aunt.

Dog food.

Snakes.

DVDs of “All Dogs Go to Heaven.”

The arm hair of the guy sitting near me in the airport.

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Any item with the number 543,664112 printed across the front.

A Steve Trout Chicago White Sox baseball card.

A Steve Trout Chicago Cubs baseball card.

A Steve Trout New York Yankees baseball card.

A Steve Trout Seattle Mariners baseball card.

My oven.

A mask depicting Gerald Ford.

Three drops of infected blood.

The autobiography of Elizabeth Holmes.

Authentic Graceland carpet.

The smell of french fries.

Slave pigeons.

Elbow grease.

Alf-themed Frisbees.

But, again, they did have candy.

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Silence of the mice

He had a good life. I think.

He had a good life. I think.

Daughter DMed me last night, somewhat unhappy. Her mother (aka: the wife) doesn’t want anything to do with mice. Her brother (aka: the son) doesn’t want anything to do with mice.

Alas, there was a mouse caught in a trap. With me on the road, it fell to Casey …

“What do I do?” she asked.

“Get a garbage bag,” I said. “Open it on the floor. Then scoop the mouse up with a shovel and dump it in.”

“But it’s caught in the trap,” Casey said.

“So?” I asked.

“How do I get the trap off?” she replied.

I laughed.

A lot.

Corinne Terrone, hidden thoughts and the n-word

She's angry and racist.

She’s angry and racist.

Back when I was a kid, growing up on the mean streets of Mahopac, I had a classmate who felt very comfortable using the n-word in reference to African-Americans. He said it, he said it often, he was anything but shy.

Nowadays, on Facebook, I see him with black colleagues, smiling in photos.

It’s possible he’s changed. Maybe, with exposure, he’s learned the error of his past ways. But it’s also possible he’s simply learned to keep his true ideas in check. On the inside, he’s the same guy from yesteryear. On the outside, he loves everyone.

I bring this up because a New Haven woman named Corinne Terrone made the news recently for going of on a racial rant in a supermarket, dropping the n-word multiple times toward blacks in the store. You can read more about it here.

Anyhow, while the story itself didn’t shock me (Newsflash: There are racist assholes!), the reaction of one of Terrone’s longtime neighbors caught my eye. His name wasn’t provided, but he’s African-American and told the newspaper, ““She’s always been the sweetest woman in the world.” He added that he’s never seen Terrone exhibit racist behavior; that his grandkids played with her children.

It just reminded me of Mahopac, and race relations, and how I sorta understand why African-Americans in this country would be skeptical of whites.

That’s all.

EggBoy

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EggBoy is my hero. And I’m not kidding. He’s my fucking hero, and were he here right now I’d present him with a cape and the key to my house.

In case this all means nothing to you, EggBoy is 17-year-old kid who, yesterday afternoon, walked up behind the awful bigot, Australian senator Fraser Anning, and smashed a raw egg atop his skull. Now, I’m not a proponent of violence. Truly, I’m not. But if ever a statement needed to be made, it was at this moment, when Anning was standing there—in the wake of unspeakable tragedy—spewing Nazi-like propaganda. Fuck, Anning literally blamed the murder of 49 Muslims … on Muslims, and Tweeted DOES ANYONE STILL DISPUTE THE LINK BETWEEN MUSLIM IMMIGRATION AND VIOLENCE? He later added, “The real cause of the bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place.”

So when this happened …

… well, the sound of egg smashing atop that asshole’s head brought me nothing but bliss.

One more point: Courage doesn’t come cheap, but false courage does. See, false courage is daring someone to take your gun. It’s false, because you have a gun. One that shoots bullets. So challenging me to take it from you, well, it’s hardly a challenge. Same goes for Donald Trump talking tough about how manly he is. Yeah, you’re manly surrounded by Secret Service agents at a rally attended by 5,000 of your wackiest backers.

Real courage, though, is doing something where, ultimately, you know you’ll likely get pummeled. But you walk forward anyhow, because the cause is righteous. So there was EggBoy—small, anonymous, entering the lion’s den armed only with a cell phone and a raw egg—doing what he felt was righteous. Making a statement against xenophobia. Taking an ass kicking because he felt it worth it.

Fuck yeah.

Showtime Book
Love Me, Hate Me Barry Bonds Book
Sweetness Walter Peyton Book
The Bad Guys Won Book
The Rocket that Fell to Earth Book
Boys Will Be Boys Book

Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life