Monday, August 17, 2009

Hey! I Know a Little Something About "The Most Hated Woman in Sports"

I opened my mailbox Saturday to find this:

The Duke lacrosse team, Alex Rodriguez, Eric Ramsey . . . when it comes to dirty laundry, Selena Roberts of Sports Illustrated and New York Times fame knows how to scoop up some of the biggest sports stories in the country and share with the world. Yep, she tells it all. But something is missing from her own bio in this fall's cover story.
Let's go back a few years, shall we?

Just months before we graduated from Auburn, Selena and I once took a road trip on a rainy Sunday night to Columbus, Ga. to see REO Speedwagon at a general-admission concert.



The opening act was (and this is even more embarrassing--for both of us, really) Richard Marx.




And one more thing: I'll take your REO Speedwagon and your Richard Marx and raise you . . . two backstage passes. That's right; Selena Roberts and I went backstage and met them all--REO Speedwagon and Mr. Richard Marx-- in all their '80s big-hair glory. Is this something I'm proud of? Is it something I think of every day? Absolutely not. But I think it bears mentioning here because while some folks might call Selena's current-day reporting tactics on A-Rod's steroid use "stalking," I say, maybe it's in her blood. Like a blue tick hound. I've seen her outside REO Speedwagon's dressing room. Impressive.
I also think A-Rod and the Duke lacrosse team and probably a few others may delight in being privy to this information in case they decide to strike back in a more formal way. "Sure, I played around with anabolic steroids, but where were YOU, Selena Roberts in winter 1988? Does the name 'Richard Marx' ring a bell?"
And a footnote, in the form of an excerpt from the story about Selena in Auburn Magazine:
She switches to journalism, having loved to write as a kid, and pairs it with her childhood fervor for sports by convincing The Auburn Plainsman sports editor to offer her some assignments. By Roberts' senior year, she's editing the section herself. "It was great fun, sitting around all night long, talking about life, politics, the world," she says.
Are these the words of "the most hated woman in sports"? I think not. These are the memories of a former 20-year-old holed up in a student union basement for 20 hours or more, trying to digest Maryland turkey (good stuff) and meet a deadline while the musical stylings of the Mamas & the Papas resonated from the cassette player in the corner.
These are also the words of a reporter who is now, herself, the news and is sporting a shiny crimson jacket.
That Selena. Such a rebel. An Auburn woman would never be caught dead wearing crimson anywhere, let alone on the cover of an alumni magazine.