Andy Frye has many guys' and writers' dream career… He writes for ESPN.com, mostly covering offbeat sports stories and preoccupations of the obsessive sports fan. You can follow his sports aficionado musings at @MySportsComplex.
What is your sports niche?
I write "out of the ballpark" sports stories, and have been lucky to do a number of great things. Besides My Sports Complex ChicagoNow blog, I write articles for ESPN and Red Eye about sports like sky diving and roller derby, and had a stint with the page called ESPN Music in which interviewed rock stars like Billy from Smashing Pumpkins, Morrissey and Jimmy Eat World about their sports hankerings.
What can people learn from watching sports?
There are a lot people who have an aversion at some point in their lives to sports because sports are "for jocks". But I think, especially for kids, finding a sport or game you like to play can boost your mental health and increase your quality of life. Also, the experience of being a fan of a sports team --whether pro ball or little league-- can add just a little bit of inspiration to our every day lives.
What can people learn from playing sports?
I've played a number of sports but was never a great player in any one sport. Sports is an ingredient in everyday life, just like food, language, education, so there is something to be gained by everyone no matter whether your pastime is picking up a ball, throwing darts, shuffleboard, fishing, bowling, or backgammon. Currently, I'm 42 and have traded soccer for roller derby (playing on a men's team) and when I get done with that I know that even in my 60s or 70s that I'll get something out of the next experience.
I noticed some banter on your blog about New Jersey. What's the context for a Midwestern girl like me? And, to build on something from a post of yours — for those of who don't watch reality TV (like me), what's a Jersey girl?
Being from Philadelphia I know a little about the sports rivalries between Philly fans and Jersey fans. We like to think that it's always Us versus New York, but often times the clash between the Flyers and the New Jersey Devils for example is just as good.
I'm from Philadelphia, so this joke is all I know: "Q: What's the difference between trash and a New Jersey girl? a: Trash gets picked up."
I think in the end though, the joke is on them. Why? Because the most famous people in the world from Staten Island are a bunch of nitwits on a show called "Jersey Shore".
Who's your favorite athlete and why?
For me stats and championships are one thing, but one's personality and leadership are important too. One of my favorites is Bonnie Thunders. She's the Michael Jordan of roller derby, who plays for Gotham, the four time national champions. In profiling Bonnie Thunders for ESPN, I discover her to be a favorite with a team focus and one of the world's most inspiring athletes. Better yet, she has four championship rings (LeBron only has two).
I'm also a huge fan of Charles Oakley, who used to play for the New York Knicks. He was a tough guy with class, who scored, protected his teammates and kept others in line. He was also one of Michael Jordan's favorite guys, and MJ was not happy when the Bulls traded Oakley to the Knicks.
Your eclectic content is very cool, how does the World Hot Dog Eating Champion fit?
I met Kobayashi the former hot dog eating champion when he challenged five Chicago Now bloggers at once to eat Italian Beef sandwiches (story and video).
Last, but not least — what team are you cheering for in this World Cup?
I usually cheer for England since I watch the English game a lot and support Man City, the current champions. But England tend to phone it in during the World Cup so I don't expect much.
I'm expecting to see Argentina make a splash. They've got the talent to win it with Messi and Aguero, and for once Brazil is definitely beatable.
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