Choices - April 8
April first, I received a call from a contestant
coordinator for ESPN's Stump the Schwab. She said the
show wanted me to appear in New York for a first-round
taping on 4/7.
There was a problem though. Pope John Paul was near
death, and I could not walk away from my job and my
co-workers to fly to New York to tape a TV show. I
explained to the contestant coordinator that the death
of the pontiff was a major story, perhaps the "story of
the year," and my role as a copy editor comes first.
I asked that the tape date be moved to a Saturday or
Sunday. No dice. I asked that the tape date be moved to
a day after the Pope's funeral takes place, or after a
new pope is chosen. She responded by asking that I
"sleep on it" for the weekend.
I left a message with her the next day, repeating what I
told her Friday night. In other words, I said no.
One of this show's gimmicks is that they want
contestants who sacrificed "important moments of their
lives" for sports. So you'll probably see someone who
missed a friend's wedding, missed a graduation, even
missed a funeral for a sporting event on this season's
edition of "Schwab".
But as a Roman Catholic, Pope John Paul II is the only
pope I know -- I'm too young to remember Paul VI or John
Paul I. And as a copy editor, being on call and at work
is my duty. Everything else is second. When news of the
pope's imminent demise became public, co-workers came to
me when they found out I was Roman Catholic -- asking me
about Roman Catholics traditions, sacraments, etc. I
helped them with copy about the Roman Catholic Church
that may confuse non-Catholics.
Choosing to tape a TV show over dealing with the pope's
death is a slap in the face to my job, my co-workers and
my faith. It's a shame that the people behind "Schwab"
fail to realize that there are more important things in
life than taping a TV show, especially with a tragedy
that affects more than one billion people worldwide.
Deep down, I know I made the right decision, and I know
and friends agree with my choice. But there's a part of
me that wishes
the *Schwab* producers could understand why I made this
James Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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