Jason Kelly | January 25, 2017
If I accomplished nothing else — and a search confirms I didn’t — The Observer archives include at least one contribution that I haven’t tried to suppress from memory out of embarrassment.
While I was working toward that ’95 affixed to my name, I wrote a lot of cringe-worthy stuff for the paper, sports mostly. This was so long ago that the football team had a legitimate beef about not winning a national championship (1993) and the residual stature to be invited to an undeserved bowl game (1994). Happier times.
I covered men’s basketball, too, which was then slogging through some not so happy times. Part of that job involved making predictions for the upcoming games. Above each of my wild guesses it said, “Jason Kelly’s Pick.”
Real newspapers did that, so The Observer adopted the practice, but it was impossible to ignore the absurdity of my fortune-telling, say, the Notre Dame-Duquesne game. Since ¯\(ツ)/¯ wasn’t a thing back then, I had to come up with something.
How and when it went beyond the sports page, I have no recollection, but someone came up with the inspired idea to embrace the nonsense and incorporate “Jason Kelly’s Pick” into the dining hall menus. I was even less qualified for that task than the basketball scores. At least I went to the games. I didn’t eat at the dining hall that much, mostly grabbing and going or subsisting on Huddle burgers to sustain the late nights and early mornings up in the old LaFortune office.
Working for The Observer consumed disproportionate time and attention, more than any class — and I have the transcripts to prove it. My job wasn’t even that important to the paper, just to me, and I was hardly alone. Obsessive commitment is among the most enduring traditions of the paper that recently marked the 50th anniversary of its first edition, published on November 3, 1966.