Two things off the top:
No one can craft a good Curt Schilling yarn quite like Curt Schilling.
The guy has been all those things everybody keeps saying -- gutsy, tough, strong. But he's also been a little bit insufferable. His postgame press conference performance after Game 2 was typical: His manner is always gracious and unassuming, but his words are so self-reverent it's difficult to take.
In this business, we love a guy who answers a question with a story, kind of the way Schilling did Sunday when asked why he repeatedly said the day was the most incredible of his whole life. But when he went on and on about his determination to pitch despite the obstacles, and when he talked about seeing the signs on the way to the park extolling his toughness and wishing him luck, and when he repeatedly said he'd never use "God" and "unbelievable" in the same sentence ... well, he just sounded like a guy trying to write his own legend. He's Ken Burnsing himself right before our very eyes.
Fine, I guess, because he is creating a legend. It just seems like he wants to so badly he won't take no for an answer.
Ron Zook, on the other hand, has no choice. No is the only answer the University of Florida gave him. This comes after he coached under a constant barrage of criticism and second-guessing, raising a question: Is there another job on earth more overrated than being a head coach in either the NFL or at a high-profile college?
It looks like a stupid question at first glance, but think about it. There's prestige and glory and power -- don't underestimate the power -- but there's also a lot of miserable aspects to the existence.
The call-in shows and nutjob fans/alumni/talk-show callers is bad enough, but it's not the worst of it. The biggest problem, to me, is the perception of what it takes to be considered a hard worker in the business. It's gotten to the point where a guy who doesn't sleep in a cot in the office two or three nights a week is a slacker.
This Jon Gruden-induced fanaticism is pure insanity. Maybe it's time for someone to get a government grant to compare the won-loss records of the cot-sleepers with the guys who leave work at a decent hour, eat dinner at home and play with their kids before getting six or seven hours of sleep.
One thing is sure, though: Those guys living something close to a normal life better not let the word get out.
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Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.