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AN AGGIE LINE: USU cheerleaders perform during the Aggies' final exhibition game. It's time to cheer for basketball. / Photo by Brianna Mortensen

Today's word on journalism

Friday, November 10, 2006

Q&A with Ed Bradley:

Q: What single issue should be covered more at CBS News?
A: Foreign news.

Q: Have you ever been assigned a story you objected to? How did you deal with it?
A: When I first started in New York at WCBS radio, the assignment editor automatically assigned any story that had a minority in it to me. I objected to being typecast and told him if I didn't get a variety of stories -- as other reporters did -- then I would take it up with the news director.

Q: If you were not in news, what would you be doing?
A: If I had the talent, I'd play bass guitar and sing in a kicking band.

--Ed Bradley, reporter, "60 Minutes," died yesterday of leukemia at age 65 (2006)

Hello autumn -- goodbye tennis

By Joey Hislop

October 16, 2006 | Ahhh, the splendor of October! The leaves are changing colors, temperatures are dropping, the scary movie industry is out in full force and you can almost smell the hot apple cider in the air. What a wonderful time for everyone.

Well, everyone except me. You see, I am one of those rare birds who spread their wings wide in the summer and then go into hibernation in the winter. I am a cash-strapped tennis player.

Now, don't get me wrong -- I love autumn, too. But when the leaves start falling so do temperatures, and then pretty soon the snowflakes start falling. As you can imagine, this makes for bad tennis conditions. Unfortunately for me, when the weather outdoors turns inhospitable, there are very few places to go indoors in Logan. As of today, there are a total of eight indoor tennis courts in all of Logan that are generally accessible to everyone. However, all of them cost money in one way or another.

For starters, there's the Sports Academy and Racquet Club which has only four courts. It used to have five, but recent remodeling and reallocation of space has brought that number to only four. Why they decreased the number of indoor courts, I'll never know. I wasn't on the planning committee. I guess they want more sports academy and less racquet club.

Also, since they are pretty much brand-new, they aren't cheap. A regular membership to the Sports Academy costs more than $500 a year with a tennis fee on top of that which pushes the cost just completely out of range for a poor, young, married college student like me.

Next we have the Logan Recreation Center (also known as the Rec Center, which might as well be spelled "wreck" center). There are only two courts there. If you ask anybody, they'll tell you that they're cramped, with only about 15 feet of baseline, the roof leaks and since they're probably the only affordable indoor courts in town they're almost impossible to reserve during the winter. A membership there costs less than $100 per year, which is better than $500, but as I mentioned, the facilities are limited.

And finally, the last two are found right here on the USU campus in the Nielsen Field House. If you've been in there you may have seen them. I've seen a number of different courts in my day and I have yet to see another like these. It's like playing on bouncy glass, that's the best way I can describe it. As you may know, the lower level of the field house is covered by a rubbery surface which is rough around the track and glassy-smooth everywhere else. If you've ever played on grass, you might be able to relate to it. The ball stays low and skids.

Add to this the obstacles of scenery. Inside the field house it's very hard to keep track of the ball with the backdrop being so distant. It messes with your depth perception by distorting what you see. Then there's the icing on the cake -- that huge green military-like net thingy that is meant to stop tennis balls from going onto other courts. The problem with that is that it doesn't stop anything. It has more holes than swiss cheese. These courts are in serious need of an overhaul. I doubt they've been refurbished in more than a decade.

So, as you can see, where tennis is an activity free to the public in the summer, it becomes an expensive proposition during the winter, unless you're a college student and can use the field house (which I am for now), or unless you're an individual with money to burn (which I will never be, due to the fact that I decided to go into journalism).

I had thought about just giving the sport up all together and just focusing on my other passion -- running -- but that only lasts until I ask myself why I'm running: to get in shape for tennis. You see the dilemma. So I guess there's nothing to be done about it. I either become a millionaire, move to Florida (or someplace else tropical), or I go into hiding until April when there's no more snow on the ground.

Now you can see why tennis is thought of as a sport for the rich -- you have to be rich to play it year round. Well, it's a long winter. I guess I had better find a new hobby. See you in April.


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