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July 07, 2008

Quarterback Interns With Sports Illustrated In NYC

By Junior Quarterback Dan Whalen (Willoughby, OH)

This place is loud. The window of my sixth floor bedroom looks East over Harlem, and I can see the lights of Yankee Stadium to the north, the treetops in Central Park, and airplanes constantly landing and leaving at LaGuardia Airport. Usually there’s lots of noise, either at the intersection below, or from firecrackers and car horns, barking dogs, moving trucks, all sorts of things across the block. You can even hear the rumble of the Subway as it passes underground. Sinatra said this place never sleeps, and he’s definitely not kidding; even the fire alarm in my building seems to mind the pattern, randomly going off at obscene times of the night.

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All that in mind, it’s a pretty cool place to be in the summer. The whole reason I’m here is because I have an internship at Sports Illustrated that runs for two months from June until August. (A shout out is in order for Coach Slesh and Mike Jaffe. I owe you guys lunch at the very least.) The magazine world works on a separate schedule than everyone else, which gives me three days off per week instead of two. It’s nice, since it gives me plenty of time to check out everything the city has to offer. OK, maybe I’ll never see everything, but I guess you can’t knock a guy for trying.

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I work on the 31st floor of the Time & Life Building, just across the street from Radio City Music Hall, and down the block from the TODAY show—I’ve even got my own cubicle and telephone number and everything. I can just see myself answering “Dan Whalen, Sports Illustrated,” but other than my boss telling me what the Sunday night dinner special is, the phone has yet to ring, and it’s been almost six weeks. Maybe someone will dial the wrong number here sometime soon and my dream will come true. Hey, it could happen. But anyway, I’ve been editing and reading articles as they come in from the writers, and it’s pretty cool seeing the finished version of the magazine almost a week before it’s publication. Who knows, it looks like I may even be able to write something in there before they can me in August. Highly unlikely, but I thought about trying to sneak into the All Star Game at Yankee Stadium, maybe with that I’ll sneak onto the story list. Doubtful.

On my off days I’ve usually just been wandering the city. I have roommates from Colorado, Kansas City, and Brooklyn. It’s nice having a guy who knows New York around. We never get lost. If you aren’t careful, this place will swallow you up. It’s really strange being in a place like this for two months. At first I was worried about the fast-paced, get-out-of-my-way attitude that I expected from New York City, but it’s not bad, I’m keeping up. Two months is probably a little longer than most people would visit the city, I’ve got a little over three weeks left and I gotta say, I could really use a home cooked meal from mom or a night around the bonfire with my boys. Soon enough I suppose. But anyway, it’s been fun so far, I’ll give you a little run-through.

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The summer started out exactly how I’d expected it to; it was hot in the city, with the Subways feeling more like saunas than anything else, and no matter what time of day or night, it was incredible how many people were out doing things. The strange thing is, nobody here really cares what anyone thinks; when you think you’ve seen it all, there’s always someone or something unexpected at the next stop on the train or crossing paths with you on the sidewalk.

But on my first day of work I’d met a few other interns and we decided that since we were in New York and the Belmont Stakes was only a week away and that there had been a horse that was more favored to complete the Triple Crown than any horse in recent memory, that we’d give a shot at possibly witnessing history. That didn’t happen, the horse pulled up just before the final turn simply because his jockey said, “He was fighting me, he didn’t want to run.” Can you imagine that? Lebron James or Alex Rodriguez walking up before Game 7 of a Championship series and saying “Well, I don’t really feel like it today, best of luck to my team.” Right. The one thing we did see that no one expected was a 7’ 3” monster of a man named Shaquille O’Neal. You think he’s big on T.V? Well the camera may add ten pounds, but I assure you that it cannot do justice to the man. He is larger than the Hulk, and the gray suit pants he wore that day could have fit me and a few other people in them from the neck down. We could have made it like a potato sack race. The guy is huge, and he either really likes horse racing or was just doing some public relations work for his recent endorsement with Vitamin Water, where he is shown riding a horse and wearing jockey garb in one commercial.

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In other news, besides observing an extremely unsatisfying horserace in the 95-degree heat, I was also excited to see some of my friends who said they’d come visit me in the city. Most of them were just talking a bunch of trash, but I figured there’d be one or two who were true to their word. But I was pumped when Ashleigh (Tondo/Spartan women's basketball player) called me and said she was actually booking a flight out. What sucks, as with most things you get excited for—Christmas, Football Season—you wait and wait for the days to get here and before you know it, they’re gone. When she got off the plane and I saw her in the airport I was pretty stoked, I still couldn’t believe that she had really paid for a ticket and come to see me. The three days she was here flew by. We ended up doing most of the typical things you would probably do on a weekend stint in NYC; hung out in Central Park, did some shopping, went to the Bronx Zoo, saw a show on Broadway, and went out here and there to grab a bite to eat or just hang out. We also got a chance to see Fireworks on the East River on the 4th of July. They weren’t very good for as much money as they say goes into them. I kept telling her “There’s no way that’s the end, it can’t be over like that.” She said, “There was no finale, what happened to the finale?!” Maybe the boat with the finale sank into the river. But even after watching crappy fireworks in the rain, I was just happy Ash and I got to see them together. Even though I now have a few friends in the city, you can get pretty lonely without the people you care about, and some of the comforts of home every now and then.

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Speaking of that, next week my buddy Nick is coming out to live it up for a week. I told him I am going to have to work a day or two while he is here, because I took all my off days when Ashleigh came. “It’s cool,” he said, “I’ll just go hang out on Wall Street.” Nick seriously? You’re in New York and you want to go see how the business thing works? Get real.

The Summer is going by fast and slow at the same time, if that makes any sense at all. I get to do all kinds of cool things here. I’ve seen Kenny Chesney play at Rockefeller Center on the TODAY show, and I met some of the guys from the USA Olympic Basketball Team (Lebron, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade). There’s just so much going on here that I’m in awe every time I step out my door and into the world. My job is great and working for SI is a sweet deal, but I’ve got the rest of my life to work, I’m here in New York and I’m twenty-years-old so I guess I’m just taking it easy. I haven’t really been in a hurry like everyone else here, people move fast around me, but its just fun to watch. I lay low.

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I can say this though, I miss home. Two or three weeks in the city would be the perfect amount of time. Two months is a bit long. I just wanna get back and see everybody that I haven’t talked to since school let out. I want to get in the new weight room at school that I haven’t had the chance to use yet. I’d like to cook a steak on the grill with corn on the cob and a cold one with my mom. There are just things at home that make it better: family, friends, football. While I’m anxious to get these next three or so weeks over with and see everybody again, It’s crazy that we’ll already have begun defending our UAA Championship in less than two months! I’ve been itching to put on that blue #5 jersey and get back on the field with the guys. I’ve been working out with the Columbia University football team, and while it’s tough and the Strength Coach here is a really cool guy, they aren’t my boys, and I’m not allowed to wear “Case Gear” to the workouts. It’s also a bit strange when they break huddles and yell “Go Lions.” I put my hand in there, but I never say anything. In my head I’m thinking: “I’m a friggin Spartan.” So, from the Big Apple, this place that has so much to do and so much to see, I’m soaking in the moments, but even here I know that there’s no place quite like home.

Posted by: Creg Jantz July 7, 2008 09:15 AM | Category: Football

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Comments

First of all, where is my picture. Second, you spelled Dwyane Wade wrong. Some sports writer you are.

Posted by Corey on July 8, 2008 10:32 PM

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Posted by: cnj4 (Creg Jantz) July 7, 2008 09:15 AM | Comments (2) | Trackback