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We all start somewhere. I started here.

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 1.22.10 AM

So it’s 1:22 in the morning, and I have a Bleacher Report story due in a couple of hours.

I’m tired and ornery and angry. I’ve been in a bad mood all day, slaving over this piece; trying to fit in quotes, adjust words, come up with meaning. It’s been more miserable than usual—and I’m now two decades into some ferocious deadline misery.

A few moments ago, in delay tactic No. 321 (this blog post is No. 323—trailing the two pieces of toast I just ate), I pulled the 1989 Wampum, Mahopac High School’s yearbook, from the shelf. It’s actually the year my brother David graduated, but he left the book at home long ago, and I took it.

I digress.

I began skimming through pages when I came to the above image. It’s the staff of the 1988-89 Chieftain, Mahopac High’s newspaper. I’m the guy with the Jewfro and striped shirt standing in the right corner, wedged between Ari Pollack and Christin Conaway. At the time I wasn’t an editor or anything; just a scrub wanna-be penning shorts on the cross country and golf teams.

But I knew—like, knew knew knew—I aspired to write.

What, exactly, did that mean? Young, virginal, never-kissed-a-girl  Jeff Pearlman surely had no concept. But a few years earlier I’d guaranteed my mother I would one day work for Sports Illustrated, and I surely saw Chieftain as the first step on that path.

Now, nearly 30 years later, how do I feel?

I still loathe deadlines.

But I’m blessed to have them.

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