Wednesday, December 3, 2008

O.J. to Idaho

I've had a wide spectrum of reporting assignments over the years. Dressed up like a woman, went about my business for a couple of days, and wrote what that experience was like during the height of the Tootsie craze. Hung out with shadowy gringos who were aiding the Contras in their jungle war along the Nicaraguan border in the early '80s. Rode in the back seat of a limo with exercise guru Richard Simmons (don't ask), conducted several backstage interviews with various rock groups (KISS minus the makeup, being one example), covered darn near every major sporting event out there, including a couple of Olympics, and made my way to remote Alaska (before anyone ever heard of Sarah Palin) to profile Larry Csonka, the former football great turned outdoorsman.

In terms of variety, though, nothing I've undertaken comes close to equaling the reporting montage I'm about to experience. Over a 10-day period that begins Friday, I will:
1) Have a courtroom seat in Las Vegas for the sentencing of O.J. Simpson (Friday).
2) Have a ringside seat for the Oscar De La Hoya/Manny Pacquaio (now there's a great vowel dump for Scrabble players) championship bout at the MGM Grand (Saturday).
3) Have a pressroom seat at the Bellagio Hotel in Vegas to cover the annual baseball winter meetings (Monday through Thursday).
4) Spend a day or two interviewing Marlins pitcher Matt Lindstrom where he grew up near the Snake River in Idaho.

The challenge here isn't so much the journalism. It's the packing. I mean, my suitcase is stuffed with every imaginable article of clothing, from the coat and tie J.G. suggested I wear for O.J.'s sentencing to the gloves (they're black, and they fit), thermals and ski cap I might need if Lindstrom and I go snowmobiling, as he has suggested. Not an easy task squeezing all of that into a piece of luggage, but I am managing.

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