If nothing else, it is great theater and, to me, no one captured it like a sports columnist named Sandy Grady. He was quick-witted and sharp-tongued, and his energetic sentences practically exploded off the page. He was funny, smart, and opinionated. I was captivated.

In Michigan, where I spent my adolescence, I felt the same way about another sports columnist, Joe Falls. Poor Joe. Somehow I found his home number (was it really listed?) and called him late one night after my high-school basketball team defeated a team he maintained would demolish us. "Joe Falls?" I asked when he picked up the phone. "Yeah?" he growled, sleepily. I couldn't believe it: This was really him. I was so nervous I could hardly speak, but I was able to blurt out something about him being a know-nothing and we showed him and ha-ha. "Good for you," he said, and hung up. I don't know what I expected. But I stood there in the phone booth feeling suddenly like a complete idiot.

When your high-school sports team achieves some miraculous victory, you hug and kiss your girlfriend or high-five your buddies. How many high schoolers call a sports columnist to gloat? Man, I wanted to be that columnist.

And now I am. Not that one, specifically. But … one.

People ask me all the time, "Where do you get your ideas?"

Newspapers are a great source, but I can't use everything I come across. One story I intended to write about, but never got around to was a university study that concluded women are more emotional than men (which seemed to me like, uh, duh, but I didn't want to say so for fear of getting all sorts of angry letters; you may write your letters now).