Athens Review, Athens, Texas

September 17, 2013

JOE ELERSON: I just can’t get enough of the world of sports

Joe Elerson
The Athens Review

Athens — When you become a full-time sports reporter, the question of, “What do you do in your free time?” comes up a lot in conversations.

As most people would say, relax, go fishing, boating, kayaking, taking a drive somewhere or doing something non-work-related. I am the opposite.

When I am not covering a game four times a week or putting together the paper, the answer seems to be watching more sports.

Yes, I am a full-time sports junkie. I can’t help it; my parents always knew it was the path I was headed on as soon as I could walk.

I would run around the house with a microphone and a tape recorder and conduct interviews on whatever topic I could come up with.

There were times my parents couldn’t understand what I was saying. They told me when I was a little kid learning to talk I knew how to conduct the interview but they were confused at my questions.

Then when I got old enough to start collecting baseball cards, I would spend hours and hours reading the back of the cards trying to learn all of the players’ stats.

I got to be really good at it. Not as good as Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man when Tom Cruise could mention any player and Dustin Hoffman could tell you when they were drafted and how they performed in a certain year.

My parents always said they would see me in the ministry field or being a sports reporter. Relatives would always say we could see you on TV or the radio doing sports.

My love of sports consumes me at times. I spend most of my days talking about it to the point where people will ask me if I think about anything else.

I have to stay up with the latest happenings in high school, college and pro sports because the first time I met my girlfriend’s father, he asked me a sports-related question.

With him being a lifelong Texas Longhorns fans, the introduction went something like this.

“Hi, I hear you are a sports writer. I am a huge Texas Longhorns fans. Who is your favorite team?”

Without hesitation, I thought to show the UT Longhorns sign. After doing that, he said, “I think I am going to like you. How do you think my Longhorns will do this season?”

After careful consideration, I thought about it and said, “There are some definite question marks, but we should be pretty good.”

To which I got a nod of approval, so that was one time where my knowledge of sports paid off in a huge way.

If I was to do something else with my free time, it would take me a while to figure out what to do. Not because I don’t have anything to do, it’s just because free time is usually a rarity in the world of a sports reporter.

But ultimately when I can get away from watching sports, my free time is spent in front of my computer watching YouTube videos. It is the one time I can try to get my mind away from work related items but watching sports is usually a relaxing time for me at home.

If someone was to tell me to do something else during my free time, I would be bored because I have a hard time turning my mind off from the latest game or who made a mistake that I might need to write something about.

I had a whole day last Sunday to do whatever I wanted to with my free time after church and what did I do with that time? I came home and watched NFL football all day long.

I guess being a full-time sports junkie, my free-time would still consist of me going to a game and relaxing at the game. I know having the passion that I do for sports has me wanting to do something athletic.

Not necessarily playing a sports, which I will definitely try, but enjoying the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

It always seems to surprise me when people will say to me, “So, I guess you don’t get much free time with the job that you are in.”

I actually like the fact I don’t have much free time. It’s not that I don’t want that time to myself, but my interest in doing other things is usually short.

I may regret the day when I am told I have to retire. Then what will I do with all that free time? Only time will tell.

Joe Elerson is a staff writer for the Athens Daily Review. He can be reached at jelerson@athensreview.com.