Dream job a nightmare

By Jeffery Armstrong

Last winter, I tried out for the ESPN "sports reality show" Dream Job, where one lucky person will win a year-long contract to work for the ESPN program Sportscenter, next to sports anchor Stuart Scott.

Dream Job is on ESPN right now ? it started last weekend as 12 finalists were picked in the contest and each week, a finalist is eliminated until the last one left standing is the winner. As of now, they're down to 10 finalists.

I really, really like ESPN and all it stands for, but I must tell you, the process for picking the 12 candidates was a complete joke.

To this day, I still don't understand how they could've picked 12 people from the millions who entered this contest around the country.

The Atlanta tryouts were held at the ESPNZone in Buckhead, starting at about 10 a.m. or so. Yours truly got there at 9, figuring I'd get a good spot and wouldn't have to wait long. Well, people must have been camping out there like Duke University students during the annual North Carolina game because when I got there, I probably was No. 200. No. 200! Overall, there had to be nearly 500 or 600 in line that day.

When I got there, I met all sorts of people n lawyers, bankers, real estate agents and college students and they were all interesting.

Too bad many men wore their best suits and many women wore their best dresses for this "audition." I didn't and I'm glad ? a suit wasn't necessary at all.

Everyone had to fill out an application dealing with sports while waiting in line for two hours or so. Once inside the ESPNZone, the Dream Job overseers herded about 20 of us to tables where we were given a 30-question sports quiz. The first 10 questions were easy, the next 10 were a little more difficult and the last 10 were monsters. You had to be like "Rain Man" on sports to get those last 10 questions right.

After that, 10 of us at the table get herded again into this other room where we stood like cattle, waiting. Then a guy comes in and then asks us impromptu sports questions, like who is the best center in the NBA or who is the best athlete in sports. The Dream Job guy points to one person to answer and then each person in the circle had to answer next, or you could interrupt someone else if you felt like it. So if you were a boisterous loudmouth who could talk over everyone, you stood a good chance of impressing the DJ guy.

And what made this last process even worse was that the DJ guy asking the questions wasn't taking notes as we answered the questions!! He was just standing there, listening intently (I guess) with his hand on his chin and responding to our questions. How could he tell who was worthy of moving on?

There were no cameras, no telestrators, no word prompters, nothing to see if you could handle reporting on television. It was disappointing, but a learning experience nonetheless. Sometimes a dream job may be just that ? a dream.

Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Thursdays. He can be reached at jarmstrong@news-daily.com.