An old buckeye never fully trusts a wolverine, a Trojan always looks askance at a Bruin and a Tar Heel finds little nice to say about a Blue Devil. All that makes special contributor William F. Reed a good choice to write both our weekly college football column (page 96) and the college basketball column that will begin in the Dec. 12 issue. Reed, you see, was a Pioneer. "I feel like I'm neutral writing about college sports because I went to Transylvania University in Lexington [Ky.]," he says. "Our basketball team was in the NAIA, and we didn't even have a football team."
Reed, 45, can't be accused of using sportswriting as a way to relive his glory days. He didn't get any further than sandlot football because, by his own admission, he "couldn't figure out how to wear a helmet and glasses at the same time." Nor did he do very well in basketball. As a teenager he spent a lot of time on the bench for the Park Methodist Blue Jays in Lexington's YMCA league. During one game, he was riding the pine beside the coach's five-year-old son, when the coach suddenly said, "Reed, get up here." Reed leapt to his feet, but instead of putting him in, the coach said, "My boy has to go to the bathroom—take him there."
Reed has been very much a first-stringer in his chosen profession. He covered high school sports for the Lexington Herald-Leader and later worked for The Courier-Journal in Louisville for two years before coming to SI in 1968. Here he covered everything from Mark Spitz's triumphs to the infamous Ohio State-Minnesota basketball rumble in January 1972. Later that year, Reed returned to The Courier-Journal, where he eventually became sports editor, a position he left two years ago to write a column for the Herald-Leader.
Just because Reed doesn't often have occasion to write about his alma mater doesn't mean he's not proud of it. "It's the oldest college west of the Alleghenies, which explains the Pioneers' nickname," he says. "But when you tell people you went to Transylvania, they snicker and make some remark about Dracula. I decided years ago that the university should stop fighting it and change the nickname to the Vampires."
Sports Feelings, a joint exhibition of photography from SI and the Soviet magazine Olympic Panorama, opened Nov. 16 in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian Institution. The show, which toured the U.S.S.R. earlier this year, will run through Feb. 5 and then visit Rochester, N.Y.; New York City; Chicago; Detroit; Los Angeles; and Seattle.
Reed's Pioneer spirit puts him above the fray.