It’s been a busy spring for the Kansas City Star. First, a reshuffling of its features department following the retirement of longtime features editor Mary Lou Nolan. That was preceded by the retirement of veteran Mizzou reporter Mike DeArmond, and before that, KU reporter J. Brady McCollogh bolting for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Talented sports reporter Rustin Dodd was recently named the new KU sports reporter, having done admirable work writing features and stat-based stories about the Royals.
Dodd wrote a welcome column today, explaining how he was raised on the Star, and KC sports.
So here’s a little background: I grew up in Overland Park; graduated from Shawnee Mission South; and read The Kansas City Star every morning before school. In short: I was raised on Kansas City sports.
Every year, my dad would pull me out of school on Friday to go to the first round of the old Big Eight tournament at Kemper Arena. (If I could re-live one day for the rest of my life, Groundhog Day style, it would be Friday of the Big Eight tournament.) Every year, we had a similar routine: Pick up Mr. Goodcents on the way, park near the train tracks, set up a short picnic on that stone Sundial between the arena and the Golden Ox… and then watch four straight games from the upper level of Kemper. (Eventually, we were even sitting up in the hump.)
I bring up this story for a couple of reasons. It will, of course, be a dream to cover Big 12 basketball and football; to watch games at Allen and Bramlage and Gallagher-Iba and Hilton.
But more than that, I feel like I have an understanding of what KU means to people.
He’s also a 2009 KU grad, which is a glaring omission on a beat that is scrutinized to no end by Mizzou and K-State fans. Just follow Sam Mellinger’s tweets to find out how often people accuse the Lawrence native of being a KU homer. Of course, KU fans call him a Mizzou homer, too, so he must be doing something right. Dodd covered the KU basketball teams’s 2008 championship run.
But no matter. Dodd covered KU’s NCAA run, and has written some great stories about the Royals, while simultaneously working on the copy desk.