Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Swift Punch in the Gut

Shreveport's own Stromile Swift, a player in the NBA, has been suspended for one game by the Memphis Grizzlies for "conduct detrimental to the team." It must not have all that detrimental. A one-game suspension is kind of a slap on the wrist. That's fine. Stro seems like a decent guy. Apparently, he openly disagreed with his rookie coach during the course of a game.
I saw the headline this morning and my stomach hurt. Stromile Swift , through no fault of his own, is a lanky metaphor for my disenchantment with being a local TV sportscaster.
When Swift was a senior at Fair Park High School, there was some suspense about where he would attend college. As a local sportscaster, I was out chasing the story. One of the low moments of my career took place in the basement of the Fair Park gym. There I stood, in a hallway with Stromile Swift. I, a grown man with children of my own, was trying to compel a high school senior to talk to me on camera. When he declined the opportunity, it was pretty much over for me. I hung in there for a while longer, but when the chance to move into another role at the TV station presented itself, I took it.I remember him standing there, wearing a McDonald's All-America warm-up suit, saying he couldn't talk to me. I told my wife that night that my morale had pretty much hit rock bottom.
Swift went to LSU and was a great player there, and he's making millions as a guy off the bench in the NBA. Good for him. Now, he's probably worth staking out. I hoped he learned his lesson about dealing with his coach.

Update: Swift has been traded to the New Jersey Nets. I guess that solves the coach's problem.

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