A sports staff has many components.
Pretty-boy writers. Information processors. Evil editors.
And the desk crew. The guys who write the headlines and lay out pages and select photos and trudge through stories to save embarrassment and or lawsuits.
They're an interesting bunch. Doug Simpson used to work on his father's farm. Tim Parks, Bob Cramer and Ted Harbin grew up in small Kansas towns, and all three graduated from Fort Hays State. We lead the world in Fort Hays grads.
Bill Bootz once worked for a pavement management company. Who knew pavement even needed to be managed? Jerry Smith is an Army veteran. Dean Bailey is the walking archives of The Oklahoman .
Austin Gilley umpired softball. Bobby Rockel honed a golf swing that makes him a 6-handicap. Al Herzberger was a cook. A life lesson: never underestimate the importance of a cook.
Which takes us to Legend's in Norman on a Sunday morning some years back.
Big Al was a college man at the time, working his way through school. He worked the line in Legend's kitchen; Al manned the saut station, his pal handled the grill.
A couple came in and, among other things, wanted eggs Benedict with the English muffins well-done, hash browns and a vegetable omelet. Uh-oh. No hash browns or vegetable omelets on the menu.
Can we make them, the waiter asked?
No, said Big Al.
Sure, said the kitchen manager.
So Big Al, a good soldier, started cutting carrots and broccoli. His pal started burning the English muffins. The kitchen manager began browning hash.
Big Al cooked one side of the omelet, was ready to flip it and then stopped. Does a vegetarian omelet have cheese? That, of course, depends on what kind of vegetarian we're talking about.
Big Al is a sharp guy. He runs our operation a couple of days a week. A quick thinker. Good decisions on the fly.
And this is what Al figured: Who doesn't want cheese on an omelet?
Legend's was busy that day. Plus, the line was crowded, with the manager making hash browns. Things didn't go as smooth as usual.
When the couple's order was plated and ready for transport, Al's pal accidentally brushed the well-done English muffins, and they dropped to the floor.
No problem, Big Al thought. No, no, he didn't put them back on the plate. He just grabbed two other English muffins and replaced them, forgetting they were supposed to be well-done.
So the waiter took the plates.
Uh-oh. Turns out a vegetarian omelet doesn't include cheese. Turns out when the lady said well-done, she wasn't ready to accept done well.
The waiter returned to the kitchen to report that the couple walked out, the woman in a huff, the man with a roll of his eyes.
The kitchen manager remains on duty, no doubt trying to please customers with particular tastes. The pal went on to adventures in Dallas. Big Al is putting out sports sections, including this very one.
No word on whatever happened to Beverlee and Howard Schnellenberger.
Berry Tramel can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.Archive ID: 804869