I can still remember the day back in 1976. My stepfather, Ivan, was headed to a friends house, and I was forced to go with him. On our way to Gaylens house, he stopped at a liquor store and told me to pick out a magazine. I scanned the magazine rack like a tiger hunts for food. I knew he would never buy me a PLAYBOY, so I moved on. I scanned a little more and picked up the magazine that would change my life. With Wally Chambers of the Chicago Bears on the cover, I cracked open the first page and then another, and another, and another. I had no idea who Wally Chambers was, but this magazine was amazing. The name of the magazine? “The Sporting News.
I read that issue from cover to cover in about an hour. I couldn’t get enough of all the amazing stories, and stats. I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I was 12 years old.
I begged my mom for a subscription. She was surprised as I had never shown any inclination for sports. Unless you call terrorizing me sister as a sport, I was an aimless kid. For the next 35 years I had a subscription to TSN. It never took me long to read the magazine. I read it even quicker when an Angel was on the cover. Joe Rudi, Nolan Ryan, Lyman Bostock, Don Baylor, Bobby Grich, etc. You name the Angel on the cover, and that issue was toast.
It also opened my mind to the NHL, NBA, NFL, WHA, Tennis and Golf. TSN used to put box scores from all the sports in their issues. They also had in depth articles and columns from some of the best writers in the world. I was a voracious reader, and unlike school, I could remember just about everything.
Time went on, and as an awkward teenager, I never attended proms, formals, or pretty much anything where there were girls. Didn’t matter, I had the one friend that never let me down, and always had something new to offer. I’m talking about my old pal, “The Sporting News”.
Over time, TSN changed. Box scores were replaced by longer articles, and shorter columns. Athletes were recognized more for their off field personalities than their on field performance. No matter, I still kept my subscription.
Once internet took over, TSN’s days were numbered. I think the magazine had really gotten better over the past 2 years, but in our fast food society, why wait for a great magazine when we can get all our stuff from the world wide web instantaneously.
I guess you can sense my reaction when inside my latest sporting news it was explained that TSN will no longer be a bi-weekly magazine (They had stopped being a weekly issue a year or two before), and would be combining with the Sporting News yearbooks. There would be only 14 issues a year, and they would focus on individual sports. Oh yeah, there would be two double issues, as well.
I cancelled my subscription Tuesday. It broke my heart to do so, but it didn’t seem worth it anymore. I can get any number of magazines focusing on individual sports. At one time, The Sporting News covered all of them, noot always equally, but all of them nonetheless.
Now, for the first time in my life, I am subscriptionless. That day had to come, I just didn’t expect it to come now. I saved the majority of the magazines from the mid 70′s through the mid 80′s, so I can reminisce.
If our paths ever cross, don’t expect me to talk sports with you. I found out as a kid that people are more inclined to angry reactions when you disagree with them. I love sports, and love a great debate, but I also respect others opinions, no matter if I think they are wrong or not.
Finally, to my dads mafia buddy. You were wrong. Dave Righetti did not begin his career in the Yankee organization. we all know he was a Ranger farmhand, who was dealt to the New York in 1978.
I’ve wanted to say that for more than 30 years.
Thank you Sporting News for helping me find my way, and for never letting me down. You will be missed.
About the Author
Written by Bill Mahoney
O'kay I'll talk about myself a little. I've been working in the television/radio industry for over 21 years. I started at 2 so I am just a tad over 21 (That is a joke). My career has taken me around and and even out of the United States. Right now I call Vegas home, but I just never know where life will take me next. Until 2002 my irrational love for the California/Anaheim/LAA had taken me down some very dark roads, but with Arte Moreno in charge I finally saw the a light at the end of the road. I really love most every sports and having as much fun as possible.