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SHEPHERDSVILLE - It is two days before Christmas and not a creature is stirring, not even the Sports Editor.
Which is pretty much par for the course according to Editor Tom Barr.
“It doesn’t have to be a holiday for Farner to take a day off,” Barr has said often to anyone who would listen. “How can someone who gets paid to go to ball games need a day off?”
Nobody ever said the Editor was subtle.
“Put a thousand monkeys at a thousand typewriters and in a few hours one of them will write Farner’s Christmas column,” Barr would say. “Plus, their desk would be way neater.”
There are no style points for neatness the Sports Editor will point out. Plus, we don’t have a thousand typewriters available or the budget to feed that many monkeys.
“And there is no style to most of your writings,” Barr answers. “At least to this point you haven’t made fun of me, my family or anyone else here at the office.”
“I’ve still got an hour before the deadline,” Farner notes. “Just give me time.”
“I would think that 32 years is more than enough time,” the boss responds.
“I’m the only writer in the country on a one issue at a time contract,” I point out. “Fill up two pages without insulting anyone or leaving large white space and I get another issue to try, try again to get it right.”
Just remember the credo of the community sports guys - if in doubt or short of good ideas, just throw another photo on the page.
“If I knew which way to point the camera I’d do the sports job too,” Barr says.
“Then we only need to find 999 additional monkeys,” I say, smiling at the thought of the boss trying to master such a difficult job as being the Sports Editor of a mid-sized community newspaper.
“Hey! Is that a dig at me?” Barr wonders. “I’ve warned you in the past.”
“And yet I’m still the Sports Editor,” I point out. “You can’t fire me anyway. My parents are subscribers.”
“Darn. I keep forgetting that,” Barr says. “I can’t afford to tick off that percentage of our readership.”
“I don’t know why you think this job is so easy?” Farner wonders. “Listen, Elton John writes a great song and for the next forty years he makes millions of dollars singing it over and over. I could write the greatest sports story of all time and three days later I have to write another one. And I don’t get paid millions working here.”
“Wow. It sounds like you have put a lot of thought into that,” Barr says. “There is just one little flaw in that scenario. You haven’t written one great sports story yet.”
“Hey, I’m just getting up to speed,” I say. “I’m pacing myself. I don’t want the expectations to get too high around here. If I write one great sports story every 32 years then you would expect another one in the next 32 years.”
“My only expectation at this point is to get one readable Christmas column out of you in the next 30 minutes,” Barr points out. “But if not, I’ve got the monkeys warming up in the bullpen.”
“Hey, that’s the third sports analogy you’ve used today,” I note. “Maybe you could write sports for a great newspaper...or at least for the Pioneer News.”
“I know a lot of people wish that Christmas would come more than once a year,” Barr says. “But not me, I’m perfectly happy that it comes just once a year. Once every two years would work for me.”
“And why is that?” I ask the boss who is smiling at his thought.
“Because if it came more often then I would be a part of even more of your inane Christmas columns.”
“Please, there is no need to be so complimentary,” I say. “I know you love the Sports Editor.
“Hey! Now that I’ve finished this column can I have the rest of the day off?” I ask.
Bring in the monkeys.
One thing that I have written for each of the past 32 years is that at this time of year I wish each and every Bullitt County sports fan a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
May there be golf clubs, basketballs and footballs under your tree on Friday morning as well as baseballs, softballs and tennis balls in your stockings. Then we’ll be ready to start on another great year of sports in Bullitt County.