Hello, sports fans! (And non-sports fans, too.)
Marietta Daily Journal Sports Editor John Bednarowski has just released his book, “I Write About Sports,” chronicling his award-winning, 14-year career covering sports for the MDJ.
The nearly 230-page book is a compilation of some of Bednarowski’s most memorable columns and stories, opening with former University of Georgia football coach Vince Dooley’s story of how a few members of the 1980 championship team had a pig roast to celebrate the end of summer practice — by stealing a pig from the university’s agricultural department.
The book also covers a multitude of other sports and topics, including the development of Kennesaw State’s football program, years of covering the Masters and its rising stars, the MDJ’s bread-and-butter coverage of high school football, and even an award-winning story he broke about Georgia High School Association’s misaligned basketball goals at the state championships.
“It’s hard to pick a favorite. It’s like choosing one child over another. However, the story of my career was the Georgia High School Association setting up the 2016 state basketball tournament baskets in the wrong place. The stanchions were set up a foot too close to the baseline, causing players to shoot 16-foot free throws and NBA-length 3-pointers. It was a comedy of errors from start to finish and ended with the GHSA moving the tournament out of Macon and to the campuses of Georgia and Georgia Tech,” he said.
Other notable stories are Bednarowski’s column on former Harrison High School quarterback Justin Fields’ decision to transfer from Georgia to Ohio State, Tiger Woods winning his fifth Masters and former Lassiter High School and UGA quarterback Hutson Mason winning his first college start against Georgia Tech.
“The book project was always something I threatened to do,” he said. “When my friend Damon Poirier, who also works at the MDJ, published his book, ‘Dark Places,’ it kind of spurred me on to finally make my project a priority. It was fun going through the archives and discovering stories I had forgotten I had written. It really brought back a lot of good memories.”
Bednarowski said the process of compiling the book wasn’t quite as rigorous as writing one from scratch, but still took a great deal of research and editing.
“The nice thing about this book is it was already written. The tough part was searching through the archives and determining which stories to pull. Initially, there were 120 or more, which was narrowed to the 75 or 80 that finally appeared in the book. Overall, it probably took a couple of months working on and off to decide on the final list,” he explained.
Bednarowski recently finished his term as president of the Associated Press Sports Editors, a 400-plus member organization composed of editors from across the country and leading papers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, ESPN and the Boston Globe, to name just a few. Bednarowski is only the second Georgian to have headed the 46-year-old association and represented the smallest newspaper to have had a president of APSE. In addition, this year, the MDJ was one of 10 papers in the country to win the Triple Crown for Best Daily Sports Section, Best Sunday Section and Best Special Section. Bednarowski also won Best Column from the Associated Press Managing Editors, and was named the best columnist in the country for small publications by APSE.
“I Write About Sports” is available on Amazon.com in paperback and for Kindle. Bednarowski said it will also appear in local bookstores over the next few weeks. To hear more about Bednarowski and his book, be sure to look for the podcast he did with Cobb Life Magazine Editor Katy Ruth Camp, “Sundays with Katy Ruth,” which will go live on Sunday, July 5 in the MDJ Podcast, available at mdjonline.com and wherever you get your podcasts.