Each sports activities author ought to have a Dave Arnold
In 1998, I used to be employed to assist cowl highschool sports activities. No drawback. That is one thing I might already performed for years.
I used to be additionally employed to cowl non-traditional and leisure sports activities like looking, fishing, bowling and softball. I am not a hunter, however I can inform a narrative, in order that wasn’t a lot of a stretch.
The most important a part of my new beats can be motorsports. Hit the brakes! Motorsports? What did I find out about motorsports? I by no means watched it on TV. I solely learn sufficient about it to place a headline on a racing story whereas laying out pages. I might by no means been to a reside occasion. There was that one wet afternoon whereas on spring break in Daytona the place some faculty buddies and I toured the museum on the speedway.
That was the extent of my information.
They employed me anyway.
The primary occasion I lined for the Mansfield Information Journal was the SCCA Runoffs, newbie sports activities automotive racing’s annual Tremendous Bowl. It was like attempting to cowl a a three-ring circus with eight races a day over three days.
These reminiscences at the moment are a blur as I merely winged it. However I made it by way of and my appreciation of motorsports grew from that lengthy weekend.
Early on in my tenure as I used to be attempting to determine this mammoth beat, I occurred onto three males who can be instrumental in setting a beginner up for achievement.
One was Steve Bidlack, the Mid-Ohio Sports activities Automobile Course public relations man. One other was T.E. McHale, a pal and former Information Journal sports activities author who had the beats I used to be protecting, however had moved on to work for CART earlier than a distinguished profession at Honda. It is laborious to say what number of tales, particularly early on, that they turned me on to, however suffice it to say it was sufficient to make a profession.
The third was a quiet, tall man with an ever-present bandana tied round his neck who was in any respect the sports activities automotive races.
Dave Arnold did not simply feed me leads — he did loads of that too — he taught me tips on how to cowl motorsports sort of like Obi-Wan taught a younger Luke Skywalker tips on how to be a Jedi.
Arnold was one other Information Journal alumnus, having lined racing for 40-year sports activities editor Fred Tharp in the course of the early years of Mid-Ohio within the Nineteen Sixties. A number of years later Mid-Ohio architect and proprietor Les Griebling employed him to be his PR man.
When Griebling bought the observe to Purple Roof Inns founder and famed motorsports crew proprietor Jim Trueman, Arnold stayed for some time earlier than altering careers once more. He would go on to work PR for numerous motorsports groups, producers and racing sponsors.
That is once I met him.
Arnold proved indispensable. He would give me story concepts or he would assist me make a connection to a supply. However most of all, he was a reservoir of historical past and information for me.
His Rolodex was enviable as he knew all the ability brokers, the well-known and the behind-the-scenes of us who make motorsports go. He had tales, heaps and plenty of tales. And when it got here to Mid-Ohio, nobody had a higher appreciation of what that observe meant to north central Ohio and the racing world than Arnold.
I am grateful to say that Arnold wasn’t stingy.
When Paul Newman died, Arnold fed me tales concerning the famed actor’s connection to Mid-Ohio and racing that went past the plain.
Who knew Mid-Ohio was the positioning of inspiration for the HANS Machine, the contraption that has saved numerous lives within the wake of Dale Earnhardt’s dying when it grew to become necessary? Arnold knew. And he gave me the inside track about how that security growth got here to be after a testing tragedy on the Lexington observe in 1981.
When Mid-Ohio was celebrating its fortieth anniversary, Arnold was my go-to man that season when it got here to background, conforming dates and details or just developing with story concepts.
Routinely he would examine in with me to see how issues had been going. We’d take pleasure in lengthy electronic mail give-and-takes concerning the newest racing scuttlebutt. He was nice about offering context for the varied cleaning soap operas that pop up in motorsports between sequence and tracks and sponsors. He’d lived it his grownup life and noticed the identical patterns repeat themselves within the sport.
On and on and on it went between the 2 of us for a decade and a half.
Residing in upstate New York, Arnold’s profession slowed, however our friendship didn’t. The emails stored coming, typically with bits of stories, however usually introspective about his life and profession, providing insights to his experiences and ideas.
It was throughout these exchanges that he gave me one of many largest compliments I ever obtained. I requested him why he was so type to me early on in my motorsports indoctrination and continued that kindness.
He merely mentioned he might inform I used to be definitely worth the problem of instructing.
I used to be touched.
Sadly, the emails began to gradual in frequency. He’d talked about a number of occasions that he could not keep in mind what he had for lunch, however he could not neglect his time spent in Mansfield and in racing.
Sensing that Arnold was probably within the early levels of one thing terrible, I might encourage him to write down me about a few of these way back enjoyable occasions he had in motorsports.
By 2016, I had moved on to the Marion Star and my motorsports obligations had been largely completed. I might retired from the beat so to talk. Additionally by then, I ended listening to from Arnold.
A pair weeks in the past, I noticed that my pal handed away from what I suspected he was struggling. It made me want I might one way or the other stored all these electronic mail chains that had been so wealthy with reminiscences and experiences and deep ideas. A number of electronic mail methods later, these are endlessly misplaced within the cyberworld.
However I nonetheless have the story clips and I nonetheless keep in mind his tales. I’m endlessly indebted to the kindness he confirmed to a newcomer.
Each younger sports activities author ought to have a Dave Arnold searching for her or him.
Thanks Dave. You had been value listening to.
Rob McCurdy is the sports activities author on the Marion Star and USA At the moment Community-Ohio and could be reached at email@example.com, work 740-375-5158, cell 419-610-0998, Twitter @McMotorsport and Instagram @rob_mccurdy_star.