Greetings from Buffalo, Knicks fans! I am here to eat chicken wings and return to my football comfort zone. Henceforth you will be back in the very capable hands of beat writer Al Iannazzone.
As I wrote in a column for the Sunday paper, being around the Knicks for a manic, eventful three-game West Coast swing illustrated what now should be obvious: These guys not only enter 2013 as the biggest New York sports story going, but also are the most intriguing NBA team east of the Staples Center.
Anyway, it was an experience. I do believe that I now have completed my NBA rookie writer hazing after covering a Christmas Day game against the Lakers in which two starters went down, then back-to-back buzzer-beaters in West Coast night games, both of which unfolded at the same time off-court injury news was evolving.
Do not try that at home! It certainly made me appreciate what Al and the other NBA beat writers do for their readers on a regular basis.
The weirdest moment came seconds after James Johnson’s buzzer-beating three-pointer Friday night, as reporters sitting courtside furiously rewrote stories in a mostly futile attempt to get the result into very late editions of the Saturday newspaper.
A woman jazzed by the exciting finish – and perhaps by adult beverages – stood behind us screaming into our ears for a good minute about how we all have her dream job, and that we probably don’t even realize or appreciate it. Or words to that effect. I didn't have time to focus on the rant or so much as turn around to see who the heck it was.
It was a ltitle surreal, truth be told. At that particular moment, it was the equivalent of encountering a team of plumbers wading into a basement flooded hip deep with raw sewage and screaming at them about how great their jobs are.
It was so ill-timed - in a way only a sportswriter would truly understand - I could only laugh.
But then, after the last player left the locker room, the final deadline passed and I had a chance to reflect on the entire holiday-week adventure, I realized that, of course, she was absolutely right.