Confessions

You’ll want to read this, I think.

Frank Deford: There are many roles a man plays in life. Son, Husband, Father, Breadwinner. If he is successful: Star, Boss, Grand Old Man. But nothing, I believe, is quite so thrilling as getting to be The Kid. That is, you, as a novice, are accepted by your elders into their privileged company. You are not quite their peer. You are on trial, tolerated more than embraced, but at least you are allowed to step into the penumbra of the inner circle, to sniff the aroma of wisdom and humor and institutional savoir faire that belongs to those old hands. It’s a heady sensation.

It was at SPORTS ILLUSTRATED that I was, for the one time in my life, The Kid. I had come to the magazine fresh out of Princeton. Understand, in 1962 it was hard for someone like me not to move to the head of the line. Women and minorities were not given such opportunities at that time, so competition was limited to my own kind: the male WASP. On top of that, I was a Depression Baby—and, even better, conceived during a bad dip in the Depression. Except for my dear parents, nobody in America with any sense was having babies around the time I was born, so when I came out of college and dutifully did my six months in the National Guard, there were only a handful of us coming into the job market.

Also, I had Bill Bradley in my hip pocket.

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