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Meeting a legend

One of the best parts of journalism is getting to attend awesome events, have great access and meet some pretty famous people. This was part of the attraction I had to journalism when I first developed an interest for the profession while in high school. In many ways, the awe factor of meeting and interviewing celebrities or famous athletes has worn off, but not completely.

Last weekend I had one of the most memorable interviews in my experience as a journalist. I got to have lunch with Pete Rose.

I’m a baseball fan. I always have been, and likely always will be, and Pete Rose is a baseball legend. Whether it’s the way he played the game, or getting kicked out of the game for betting on it, Rose is name is transcends the sport. When I’m trying to decide if an athlete is really famous, I usually think about if my mom recognizes the name. If she does, then he has a big name. My mom definitely knows Pete Rose.

Anyway, I’m working on a feature story about Rose that is going to run this week. Rose works in Vegas 15 days a month signing autographs at a local sports memorabilia shop, and I thought that made a good story. I set up an interview, thinking I would get 15 minutes in the back room. But when I arrived, Rose said he was about to go to lunch and asked if I would like to join and just do the interview over lunch.

Of course I did!

So we went to lunch for over an hour, and I had a great interview out of it. I had the kind of access journalists hope to get when they do a big feature article, and I loved it. At first, I was somewhat in awe of baseball’s hit king, but I quickly had to get into journalist mode and make sure to turn a good opportunity into a good interview, and then that into a good story. I found out that is easier said than done.

As great a time as I had at lunch doing the interview, the highlight for me came right before we sat down to eat. As we were standing at the entrance of Planet Hollywood Restaurant, people are just staring at Rose, asking to get pictures with him and coming by to shake his hand. For the first time during an interview, I really felt like I was talking with someone famous.

Then I felt someone tap me on the arm. I turned around to see a lady, who I assumed would ask, “Is that Pete Rose?”

But she looks at me and says, “are you Garrett from Gridiron Glory?” I couldn’t believe it. I was standing next to a baseball legend, and I got recognized for a high school football TV show in Athens, Ohio. Priceless.

They were vacationing in Vegas from the Athens area, and recognized me from Gridiron Glory. It was a great moment, filled with irony, and probably a story I’ll remember for the rest of my life!

Category: Internship Thoughts

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