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Dear Diary: Chris Fowler

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Dear Diary,

Tonight was a tough night. And I really thought things had been getting a lot better with Kirk and the play-by-play job. I try so hard, and Kirk is a nice enough guy most of the time, but sometimes he just makes me feel like I'm two inches tall!

The game wasn't very good. But it was ruined for me right from the start when Kirk made fun of me for going to the movies by myself Wednesday night while the rest of the crew went out to its swanky pre-game dinner. Well, that's OK these days because I've finally learned how to let a little teasing slide off my back after a few hours, and I haven't cried about that kind of thing in a long time, and that's just Kirk! He doesn't realize how his words affect people, because of course nobody ever says anything bad about him (and why would they? Hello-o...), and he's just not as sensitive and artistic as I am - he can't just go and sit in a theater and enjoy being alone with a movie, really soaking in the plot, analyzing the craft of filmmaking, totally experiencing the film without all the distractions of a bunch of people talking and asking you to miss whole scenes to get them popcorn. Just sitting there, alone, in the dark, away from people and the world, with myself and the art unfolding on the screen, is one of my absolute favorite things in the whole entire world. And I don't expect somebody like Kirk, who just loves to be around people, to understand that. He loves the dinner and is always laughing and joking, making these perfect toasts, but I always wind up sitting and eating quietly, because nobody will get into a real one-on-one conversation. A real conversation. It's like, I'm OK one-on-one, but not in front of the whole group, you know?

But did he have to say I skipped the dinner to go out alone on the air? Oh. My. God. I could have killed him! I almost died! All those old, bad feelings just came rushing back, and my mouth sort of went dry, and I couldn't talk. And my job is to talk! On the tape, you can probably hear me choke back a sob. And so I managed to say something good about The Departed and how it was worth it and then changed the subject back to the game. (Btw, I didn't really mean that about The Departed. I went in and thought it was going to be like, "Um, hello, Oscar?," because Marty Scorsese so totally deserves an Oscar - I mean, how could Taxi Driver and Raging Bull not even be nominated? He deserves to win just for that. And probably The Departed would have been a lot better without all the swearing. Why do they have to put all that in? I understand the need for realism, obviously, but it would be just as good a movie if they didn't say the `f' word every twelve seconds, you know what I mean? It's like, come on! I almost had to walk out because Mark Wahlberg used the `c' word, and I don't usually tolerate that. It's very degrading to women. It was also way too violent - why did everyone have to get shot in the end? I thought it was just gratuitous. But you have to love anything with Jack Nicholson! ** ½ ).

But diary, you would proud of me. During one of the commercials, I remembered what my therapist told me and I decided to stand up for myself. I had to do something to let Kirk know that I am my own man and he has to show me some respect! So I decided, when we came back, I would call him "Herbstreit." That probably seems small, but he totally hates that. He told everybody one time that he had a high school coach who called him "Herbstreit" during a practice, and so Kirk "misfired" a pass right where the sun don't shine (that is a really funny story when he tells it btw ; P)! But I was going to say it to him on the air, just like he did to me, so what was he going to do, right? And maybe he would realize by the end of the game that I was just trying to get him to see that the words we choose really do hurt sometimes. And we came back and I was just waiting, trying to build my nerves, and then this player for Clemson got hurt during a fumble in the second quarter. And when they came out to work on him and we were watching the replay, I dropped it in, real casual, I said, "Do you think he was down, Herbstreit?" (or something like that, I don't remember exactly - you know sometimes my noggin needs uncloggin'!), and for a second I thought he didn't even notice. And then he sort of turns to me and says, kind of surprised, so I couldn't really tell what he was feeling, "Did you just call me `Herbstreit'?" And I almost wet myself! I was afraid he was going to punch my lights out right there in the studio! And my body would go flying through the glass in the press box and would wind up landing on some woman and sliding all the way down to the bottom of the steps with a trail of blood and 53-year-old peanut shells behind it.

I tried to keep my composure, but I kind of stammered and all I could get out was to ask if he had ever called me `Fowler.' That was really stupid, but I was almost petrified. "What do you want me to call you?," I asked. "Mr. Herbstreit?" Stupid, stupid, stupid, Chris! Just hand all of your self-confidence and masculinity away, why don't you? "Kirk," he said, kind of glaring at me, and then back to the game. I was so glad when he changed the subject! But then I just felt really small and insecure the rest of the game, and I was worried he was going to say something else during a commercial or when the score got out of hand. I wanted to get out of there so bad, but I was scared about what he might say once it ended!

Well, obviously I made it out in one piece (that would be really funny if just, like, my hand survived or something and came back to write this entry lol!). But that was probably only because Kirk and Erin Andrews went out to some club or restaurant or something. -Sigh- I know Erin is a great girl and she would never really do anything with Kirk because she's just not like that, but I don't understand why she always goes out with him and laughs at all his jokes and goes over game notes in his hotel room. I tell a lot of great jokes, too, if I didn't get interrupted in the middle of them all the time. That always ruins the punch line. I flirt with her, talk about her clothes, have our little pet name, "E.A." (like the video games, not the weird alien). I kid about her hats sometimes (making sure to respect her boundaries, of course. We are professionals, after all - or pretend to be at least! ; D) Tonight, she wore her hair pulled back and a big, white windbreaker jacket, and she looked just like my first kiss back in the snow in Denver in the eighth grade. I think she and Kirk are still out tonight because his room is next to mine and I haven't heard him come back. I'm going to call her when I'm done writing this and make sure we are still hanging out tomorrow, because she said we definitely would, and she promised not to flake out on me again this time.

Well, anyway, diary, I've got to be going so I can make sure to hear when Kirk comes in and I know Erin is back in her room, too. I wonder what she will be wearing when I call? I hope Kirk doesn't totally hate me. I will let you know how all that works out!

Keep it real!

Some people can call him 'Herbstreit'