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Adventures in live TV

Chris Khorey | Friday, October 12, 2007

I got a phone call on Tuesday from ESPN.

They told me they were looking for someone to debate a Boston College student on “First Take” on Thursday.

People who know me know I’m not much of a trash talker, but I agreed. Who could turn down a chance to be on live national television?

The producer, Mr. Gabriel Goodman, told me that my Boston College counterpart was Jeff Weinstein, sports editor of The Heights, Boston College’s student newspaper. Goodman also told me that this debate would not be about Xs and Os.

“This is time for some good, old-fashioned smack talk,” he said.

We filmed live at WNDU. I found out that my only contact with Weinstein and the host, Jay Crawford, would be from the headphone in my right ear. I wouldn’t be able to see them. When I put the headphone on, the audio from “First Take” started playing.

A few minutes later, Goodman interrupted to say our segment was about to begin and added, “The other kid said he’s ready to kick your ass.”

I heard some music, and then Crawford talking. He asked me a question – Is Boston College the most overrated team in football?

I had been warned this question would come up. And the honest answer is that I do feel BC is overrated – although not horribly so.

So I said basically that, only I had been told I was debating and I most certainly did not want to have my ass kicked. I began “obviously they’re overrated, they haven’t played anybody!” I was doing my best Tony Kornheiser impression.

The next question went to Jeff – Is Charlie Weis overrated? This is how Jeff began – “I have a lot of respect for Charlie Weis.”

Uh oh.

Now I felt like a jerk. Jeff wasn’t trying to kick my ass at all. He was being nice.

I was asked about the infamous Letter to the Editor by Bob Griffin and I defended his position – rushing the field during a poor season because we beat an opponent that we defeat consistently when we’re good just reinforces that we’re bad and gives the opponent status that they didn’t earn during the game.

Then I was asked about if students at Notre Dame consider Boston College a “safety school.” I knew this question was coming – Goodman had talked to me about it. He asked me to find a “Backup College” T-shirt and show it on air. So I asked one of our sports writers for his, and I showed it to the world.

All through this, Jeff continued to be nice.

I felt like more and more of a jerk, but what could I do? I wasn’t about to sell out my friend Bob Griffin or lie and deny that a lot of Notre Dame students were admitted to Boston College as well.

After hearing me describe the shirt (I can only assume he couldn’t see me either), Jeff said “I’m very proud of the degree I’m going to get from Boston College.”

I told him I would be too. After all, Boston College is a great school.

So we ended on that positive note. But the damage was already done. Jeff was conciliatory and friendly, and I came out swinging and making a fool out of myself.

Jeff kicked my ass, and he hadn’t even been trying to.