With a little more time on my hands than I usually have, I've once again taken up the effort to trim, and eventually organize by category, the various newspaper articles I've been saving from the past several years.
I usually do this sometime after Christmas, but before the New Year. I never really spend as much time at it as I should, thus, I never really finish. It's a bit like baling out the ocean. Obituaries and sport stories dominate, but there are others that get the 'archive' treatment. Scotch tape when needed, and scribbled date, when it's not part of what remains after trimming.
For some reason I started thinking about how televised sport stories always seem to work in that whoever the subject is, they've managed to get where they are after enduring catastrophic events in their lives, directly, or indirectly.
What could be a straight story about the event itself is instead encumbered with three-hankie Lifetime movie moments that wail over the good family dog that got run over by the tractor-trailer that showed up in the driveway after the faulty GPS system told the driver I-86 was the next right. And how the athlete got over it and showed up in lane 5 today.
Human athletes aren't the only ones who get the triumph-over-adversity treatment. Being a horse racing fan, I collect a fair number of stories about the equine athlete. And there are plenty of those animals who have survived what for us would be a cough, or a rash, but for them is escaping an ailment that would have surely put them in the slaughterhouse rather than the winner's circle they're now standing in.
Russell Baker retired from writing his NYT 'Observer' column on Christmas Day, 1998. I'm not that far behind, so I won't be trimming any of his columns in the stacks that face me, but I never stop thinking about things I've read.
Digital research saves me from spending the hours it would take to find (if even successful) the two columns I'm sure I saved where Mr. Baker mentions a fellow reporter on The Baltimore Sun, John L. Carr, who he credits with writing the best words about weather that were never published.
Mr. Carr, when asked to produce a story about the weather turned in one sentence: "Every day we have some weather, and yesterday was no exception."
My own take on the triumph-over-adversity angle (humans and horses) would go like this: "Once they survived being born, they went on to do great things."