Dear Darwin column: It’s time to face my sports-writing fears |

Dear Darwin column: It’s time to face my sports-writing fears

Robert Valko
Dear Darwin

It’s often said that people should embrace their fears — take the bull by the horns and wrestle it to the dirt. Well, I’m deathly afraid of badminton. With that shuttlecock flying every which way, who knows what dangers lurk. That’s why I never attend the highly-volatile matches without my helmet. Tensions can also run high in the vendors’ lines, where people often place bets and argue as they order their super-sized cotton candy and peanuts.

Speaking of high-tension games, the Happyland, Oklahoma versus North Korea tournament was a real nail biter. Happyland took North Korea by three (yes, Happyland is an actual town). And the shoe fashions really made it all worth while. The majority of men followed the late Kim Jong-Il’s fashion sense by donning 4-inch platform shoes.

Anywhooo, getting back to Okla-bama, I will be on assignment there for the summer. I’ve been commissioned by the Mayor of Happyland to cover the local sports. This cost-saving move—combining sports, weather, movies and cotton candy sales—was inspired by recent layoffs at the Chicago Sun Times: The entire 28-member photography staff was fired and replaced with iPhone-totting reporters. The higher-ups made the cuts to save on payroll and produce a more video-based product. After the reporters were trained on how to turn their new i–still-got-a-job-nana phones on, they got cracking on shooting high-quality video clips for the city’s newspaper, however wobbly the footage may have been. Think jitter, not Twitter.

I must confess that, in covering Happyland’s sports, I will be facing some of my greatest fears: baseball, football, hockey and basketball.

Fear isn’t the right word, more like boredom-induced comas. I’ve never been able to watch sports. It must be my ADD. As I watched my first televised football game — at the age of 47 — I got frustrated (actually, at the age of 8) and said, “okay, enough of this,” and went back to more exciting things, like learning how to tie my shoes.

I play sports, not watch sports. My motto? Skiing off a 20-foot cliff, no problem; watching nine innings of baseball, big problem.

Alas, as novice sports announcer, I am bound to make mistakes. So please, let me know if anything sounds off. My first attempt at writing about sports is as follows:

This weekend’s lineup of games is sure to please. I’m especially looking forward to the pre-season football game. The Denver Bears are sure to upset the Chicago Broncos. As far as baseball, I’m sure the New York Mets will score far more touchdowns than the Vancouver Canucks. Of course, we can’t forget my Fantasy Knitting Picks. I will take Aunt Bee over Beverly Hillbillies’ Granny any day.

Eagle County resident Robert Valko is a graduate of Northwestern University. Email him with column topics at

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