There are so many stories I didn’t get to tell while at the Temple News. Stories about football players trying to kill me and the lovers that helped me get my foot in the door at the paper.
I’m left with all of this in my head as I bid adieu to the paper that gave me my start. I’m leaving the Temple News after this week and the field is closing.
But there are still so many ideas stuck in the field. Like the story of Russell Newman, the Temple football player who once threatened to kill me.
I was the little stat boy in high school, running around the field with a clipboard recording sacks and rushing yards. I was all of 5-foot-4, dwarfed by the big football players around me. When they smacked my rear end after a big play, my ass was sore for two days.
Russ was the biggest of them all. A hulking linebacker and fullback. When he hit someone, you heard it from the sideline — and you cringed.
One game in his senior year he had about nine sacks. During the game, during this monstrous performance, he came running toward me.
“How many sacks I got?!?”
“I don’t know Russ, I don’t have time to count.”
“What, you don’t tell me you don’t have time to count. I’ll kill you!”
“All right Russ, you have five.”
“Five? I got more than five!”
“I don’t know Russ. 18. How’s that sound?”
Of course that was Russell Newman then. Now he’s a father and, off of the field, at least, a lot calmer. Come April he’ll try for the NFL.
But that’s not the only story I’ve been dying to tell.
Also in high school I had an editor named Kristen Graham. On my first day at Temple, I walked into the Temple News’ quaint offices ready to become a sportswriter.
There was Kristen and her boyfriend, sports editor Sean McCann. The two will be married in May.
Kristen introduced me to Sean and the rest is history. Sean gave me a credential to Temple’s home opener against Maryland at Franklin Field — an excruciating loss — and let me run around tracking down Women’s World Cup soccer players at the game for a story.
Mia Hamm, the soccer princess, gave me the cold shoulder, so did the others. I just wandered around trying to talk to someone — Sean forgot to tell me about the press conference in the afternoon.
But Sean gave me everything else I needed and taught me a lot. So there’s a special place set aside in the field for the Graham-McCann’s.
There’s a special place for all six staffs I’ve been a part of at the Temple News, the best free paper people steal when they don’t like what’s printed inside.
So here’s a special thanks to all of them, especially the current staff. Thanks for putting up with my crap.
There’s so many other stories stuck inside the field that will never get out now. The lawnmower of a full-time job is coming by to cut them into blades of grass.
I do kinda like that freshly cut grass smell.
What do you think Russ?
“18! I had more than 18 sacks. I’ll kill you!”
No need. The field is closed.
Josh Cornfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org