Back in college, I mostly wrote news and op-eds. When we ran low on writers, however, I would jump in and write whatever was needed to fill the paper. I’ll share my disastrous attempt to write a sports story soon, but I thought I’d start with something I actually knew how to write: a music review.
I was the managing editor at this point, and my entertainment editor wanted someone to review the new Good Charlotte album. I wasn’t willing to spend my hard-earned money on that particular disc (we didn’t get many review copies in those days), but I suggested we review the new (at the time) Citizen Cope LP. It would give me an excuse to buy the album without feeling guilty for adding more music to my too-large-for-my-iPod collection. Maybe the best part, though, was writing something that, for the first time in a while, wouldn’t cause a controversy, which at the time was my specialty.
Rabble-rousing was quite possibly my No. 1 hobby in college. As an aspiring journalist, I wanted to dig deeper into every story. A simple feel-good fluff piece, in my hands, could become a conspiracy being covered up from the highest authorities within the university. I was determined to write only “real” news, hard news. The fluff was for the features editor.
One of the controversies I covered involved the university inviting Ludacris to perform. I went to a Catholic university, one that was so focused on its religious mission that it refused to allow a student production of The Vagina Monologues. Yet they were willing to invite a misogynistic rapper. (Note: I have no problems with Ludacris or his music. It was the fact that their policy made no sense, turning down an educational program because it could offend, but inviting a rapper who was potentially more offensive.) So I wrote about it. And not only did I write the news article about Ludacris’s invitation to the university, I wrote the official editorial as well.
While I was researching and interviewing, I had to look up Ludacris’s lyrics. I then read the lyrics to “P-Poppin’” to a university official. I was already working in porn at that point, so I took extreme delight in reading the very dirty lyrics to the dean; I had no shame, but he wasn’t so unfazed. It was an exceptional form of entertainment.
After that issue ran, with our editor in chief’s column also blasting the university’s slightly baffling decision, Ludacris’s concert was mysteriously canceled. I forget the reason they gave, but everyone knew it had to do with our articles. To say I became unpopular that week would be understatement, but oh the fun I had in the process!
While I was a student at St. John’s University, our basketball team went through a lot of, for lack of a better term, shit. There was the drug bust, the alleged rape of a hooker, the rumored involvement in the rape of a student, the banning from NCAA play, the sudden search for a new coach… They were busy fellas. But once they’d found Norm Roberts and things started to look up a bit, well, that’s when everyone else started to have issues.
At a game against Duke in early 2007, some SJU (or STJ if you insist on using the new abbreviation) fans caused the Red Storm to receive a technical foul by tossing t-shirts onto the court. The game that day was being broadcast to millions on CBS, and the fans’ behavior brought a lot of shame upon the university. Everyone had something to say about the lack of class the students and fans displayed.
Now, with a new coach leading the team, and the Red Storm kicking ass all over the place, it’s hard to believe there was a time when fans were anything less than enamored of the team. But for a big chunk of my college career, calling them “fans” would’ve been less than accurate.