For all but one issue of the magazine in the past 14 months, our SCORECARD section has been written and edited by either staff writer Robert Sullivan or senior writer Craig Neff, or both, in what has proved to be an exceptionally prolific partnership.
SCORECARD is a special part of SI. It's the first place many readers turn, and we like to think of it as a magazine within a magazine, a section which mixes editorials, news items and short features from the whole range of sport, in a manner the less predictable the better. It's a job for which two heads can obviously be better than one. The Sullivan-Neff collaboration has benefited from a special chemistry. They are both transplanted New Englanders—Neff comes from Roxbury, Conn., and Sullivan from Chelmsford, Mass. And they find themselves now living within seven blocks of each other in New York's Greenwich Village.
"They complement each other perfectly," says assistant managing editor Jerry Kirshenbaum, who edited SCORECARD for six years. Sullivan, 33, has a particular interest in items on nature, conservation, skiing and tennis. You might say he's Mr. Outside. Neff, 29, gravitates toward political issues, international Olympic matters, track, swimming and wrestling. Call him Mr. Inside.
"They work out their schedules themselves," says Kirshenbaum. "And somehow they're still available for other assignments." Neff, for instance, has written basketball, football and baseball stories this year and covered the Goodwill Games in Moscow, the Asian Games in Seoul and the world swimming championships in Madrid while minding his share of SCORECARD. "I've grown attached to it," he says. "Even if I'm in another country, I'm on the lookout for items." (The one week they didn't edit the section they were working together on an article about the controversy over possible cocaine use on the New England Patriots that blew up after the Super Bowl.)
Like Lennon and McCartney, Neff and Sullivan sometimes have trouble pinpointing who wrote which parts of each week's section. "A few times we've actually collaborated on items, paragraph by paragraph," says Sullivan. "To me, SCORECARD'S the greatest assignment in the world. It keeps you on top of everything. The variety of tone keeps you on your toes."
Next fall, in Minneapolis, Neff and Sullivan will team up on another special assignment when Sullivan, a bachelor, serves as best man at Neff's wedding to Mikki Morrissette, a staff member with the Gannett Center for Media Studies at Columbia University. They first met in 1982, when she was an intern on the U.S. Olympic Committee.
As for Neff's choice of best man, we're not surprised.
SULLIVAN (LEFT) AND NEFF IN GREENWICH VILLAGE