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Credentialed Media Only

June 9th, 2021 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Every sports writer who had much of a run in the profession had one:

The Credential Drawer!

Where credentials from past events were tossed to prove that he or she actually did attend and write about the sports event named on the badge.

Like, say, the 1980 Masters Tournament held April 10-13 … a golf event that just happened to be my first significant assignment following Super Bowl 14. (Pittsburgh 31, Los Angeles Rams 19, at the Rose Bowl.)

In the photo, above, you can see a typical sports credential from the era. Simple. Primitive even. Probably not much help in keeping real newspaper writers separate from the thousands of fans.

I came across this, this … I guess I should call it a “button” … after dumping out a big bag of credentials from various events.. About the size of a campaign button a person might have worn during an election, in 1980.

I was credentialed late for the big golf event at Augusta National, and I wasn’t a golf writer of renown — just the kid who had been given an opportunity by Gannett News Service to cover a big event on the other side of the country.

So, that perhaps explains how the media officials of the “tradition unlike any other” couldn’t spare the time to spell my name correctly.

(Have a look. Maybe I should legally change my name for the shorter version the media people came up with. “Oberjurgi” probably would be pronounced the same way.)

It was a bit risky to send me there. I had played some golf, very badly, and I knew the basics of the game, but it wasn’t like I was an actual “golf writer”.

Luckily, it was not the most exciting Masters ever played. The biggest names (Nicklaus, Palmer) got a lot of attention, as always. But the event was won by the 23-year-old Spaniard Seve Ballesteros, who led after every round in becoming the first European to win at Augusta. He looked good in that green jacket reserved for winners and went on to have a distinguished career.

So, the Masters. I remember the drive up to the clubhouse, a very long, U-shaped piece of road. The clubhouse looked then as it does now, a brilliant white-washed manse that brings to mind “Gone With the Wind” and Tara and Scarlett O’Hara.

I also remember the press room where the cream of American sports writers were hard at work, and the press conferences in the crowded room. And I recall the barbecue-beef sandwiches, which I ate for lunch and dinner.

The Masters “working press” credential takes me back 40 years, and it will go back into the Credential Drawer, where it can be taken out and admired sometime in the future.


1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Ben Bolch // Jun 13, 2021 at 5:40 PM

    I’ve thrown 99% of my credentials away but will probably regret that.

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