Last night I had the opportunity to moderate a debate between Richard Deitsch, the most powerful sports media writer in the country(employed by Sports Illustrated) and Clay Travis, owner of the website OutKicktheCoverage.com and host on Fox Sports 1 College Football every Saturday with Erin Andrews and Eddie George.
What is a middle school counselor doing moderating such heavyweights? I’m sure everyone is scratching their heads on this question. Believe me, I am scratching my head too. I tried not to think about it too much, and just pretend they were boys I see in school groups…thirteen, fourteen year-old-boys full of zest and zeal.
Here is how it went down:Richard Deitsch first suggested me as the moderator on Twitter when he was tweeting back and forth with Clay. I was confused. I emailed Richard. What podcast? When? I need time to research. I only have a one-hour window in which to moderate something. I was startled by his suggestion, and I seemed to come up with every excuse why I couldn’t do it. Then I went to the Alabama vs. Aggie football game, and got to spend quality time with my brother and sister-in-law (who can analyze games better than most of the men on television). I guess some of Manziel’s reckless abandon rubbed off on me, because when I got home from the game, I emailed Richard Deitsch and Clay Travis, and said, “I’m taking charge and let’s do this thing.”
For the first few days I thought I’d be moderating a debate on football. Who was going to be playing for the Nation Championship? What round would Manziel be drafted? Then I googled “Richard Deitsch and Clay Travis” in one search term, and the whole landscape changed. They had been engaged in fair amount of Twitter trash talk. It was getting mean-spirited and ugly. What was I in for?
I stayed the course. I told myself. I could do it.
I had them each send me ten questions. I reworded them and made them less aggressive. I came up with my own questions as well. We three dialed in, and for better or worse, it happened. I think both men are really smart and funny and rather well-behaved. While some women may slam me for not focusing more on sexism in sports, (particularly how women are sexualized and objectified in their magazine and website), I tried my best to stay out of it. My strategy was much the same as with my boys in counseling groups at school. I lobbed a question out there, let them go, and occasionally redirected them. Have a listen and see what you think.
I will say when I had my boys group today, and they started talking Ravens, and Kate Upton and “The Book of Manning,” I felt unusually confident.