Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Brenner: I’m the best sportswriter in the world

So I'm sitting here, writing my very last column, on my final day of work in the office of The Badger Herald. At this moment, I find myself pondering one of the great unanswerable questions in sports:

Why are (most) athletes so freaking humble?

It's like clockwork: A tremendous athlete, one who has obviously worked harder than Santa Claus on Christmas Eve to get where he or she has gotten in a particular sport, wins a prestigious award that most of us simply dream of winning; some ESPN-type personality asks said athlete for his or her emotion at that moment; and instead of saying something like "I've worked so hard, and it feels so good" or "This is a dream come true," they have to give that suddenly run-of-the-mill answer:


"I couldn't have done it without my teammates."

Um, why not? What did your teammates do that was so darn special? Maybe you're that much hotter than everybody else. Maybe your sheer presence scared the bejesus out of the competition. Maybe you were just luckier than Dave McGrath getting locked inside a Guinness factory with Dan Marino and Melissa Stark.

Maybe, oh maybe, you're just that good.

So why not shout it out loud? Grab some headlines! Say something outrageous, for once in your life!

Willis McGahee and Stephon Marbury have the right idea. By each declaring they were the greatest individual talent at their respective position (McGahee, a football running back, and Marbury, a basketball point guard), McGahee and Starbury ensured that moments in their own personal spotlight would never be in short supply.

Even better than their righteous attempts at self-promotion, McGahee and Marbury were brave enough to honestly admit their true feelings to the world. This is easier said than done for most athletes.

What you don't know is how many other athletes actually feel this way and never worked up the guts to admit it.

First, I spoke with Brett Favre in an exclusive interview. He said he hasn't stopped thinking about Terrell Owens' announcement that when TO was with Philadelphia, if Brett Favre was his quarterback, the Eagles would have been undefeated to that point in the season.

"Brett Favre's going to be honest with you, Brett Favre can't blame TO for thinking that way," Brett Favre said. "Nothing against Donovan McNabb, but the Eagles would have won the Super Bowl that year if they had good ol' No. 4 on their side.

"When I wake up in the morning, I piss excellence," Favre added.

Troy Smith did an okay job of reveling in his moment last Saturday when he won the Heisman trophy. Maybe a little too much credit was given to his teammates, but Smith was pretty professional as a whole.

But afterward, after throwing down a few cocktails, Smith was another big-time star with an image of humility to profess his love for his mirror.

"I'm the first Big Ten quarterback to win the Heisman trophy, I've heard," Smith said in a telephone call while intoxicated, or during a "drunk dial" for the college mind. "I'd like to thank myself, for being so talented … and I'd like to thank the voters, for helping to show that punk Brady Quinn who's boss."

Wait, this just in. Derek Jeter just announced his plans for the 2007 season in a press conference. His lone goal: try to be the best shortstop in the game.

"Y'all write this down, man, I'm pissed," DJ said at his news conference. "I'm so sick of hearing 'A-Rod this, A-Rod that,' why can't I get any press? The only time I'm mentioned in the press is when Jessica Biel is involved."

Wisconsin athletes, respectful as they all may be, are not immune to these pressures, either. When I tried to ask UW's own Sara Bauer, a generally mild-mannered women's hockey player, about winning the Patty Kazmaier award last season, Bauer stopped taping her stick long enough to look me in the eye and say, "Oh, I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am."

Ex-Badger running back Brian Calhoun concurred. "I'm the best there was, the best there is, and the best there ever will be," Calhoun said via text message. "That's all there is to it."

You see, these guys have the right idea. With that, I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you who's boss in the Wisconsin sports writing world. That's right, it's Mr. Mile High himself…

What? I'm fired for insubordination? You can't fire me! I'm the best sportswriter in the all the land!

Well, it's been fun, anyway.

OK, no, seriously. It's been a distinct pleasure holding down the Thursday column for the year of 2006.

I'll close by delivering my American Idol-esque speech. I'd like to thank past Heralders Mac VerStandig, Mike Robinson, Tom Ziemer and Adam Parks for helping me get involved with this paper. Shannon and Schmoldt .45, thanks for giving me a shot at an editors' spot, despite my freshman status at the time. D-Mac, Big Poppy and Klugs, this section turned out great this semester. Hopefully, our readers agree. As for you readers, kudos for putting up with my blabbering drivel from time to time, this job is all made worth it when people enjoy picking up this newspaper on a daily basis. Thanks for reading.

Send any comments or questions to [email protected], and have an awesome holiday break!

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *