By Robyn Vines Smith
Sports. Not really my thing. Yet, I married a sports writer. He talks about sports. My eyes glaze over. Somehow, it works, and has for 16 years. Eight years ago, we had a kid. Now I’m really stuck with him. If I’m honest, maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, Mark Smith and I have put up with each other for a long time. It’s yin and yang. It’s Christmas fanaticism (him) and Scrooge (me). We recently celebrated our lucky 13th wedding anniversary.
We both worked at the Albuquerque Journal, but we met for the first time in the smoky haze of a karaoke bar with friends. We didn’t particularly like each other off the bat, but his date that night declared as he drove her home that he and I would make a good couple and suggested he ask me out. He did. I said, “you mean just as friends, right?” And he was bummed after that, though he will pretend to remember none of this. I changed my mind soon after, asked him to go for a glass of wine after work one night and the rest is history.
For 14 years, we could gaze romantically at each other across the newsroom. We could, but we didn’t. Because that would be weird. But we both worked there. I was a copy editor. He was a sports writer. Over time, I found I could tolerate a little bit of sports exposure here and there without developing too bad of a rash.
I started out in journalism through the process of elimination. That is, eliminating one college major after another, switching to this, then to that, then to journalism. I graduated in the ’90s from UNM, realized I didn’t want to be a reporter under any circumstances, and went into newspaper copy editing. It’s awesome. You get to tear up other people’s writing with an arrogant, judgmental pen, all while never having to produce anything impressive yourself (although I did win a few regional and state headline writing awards).
I initially wound up in Bakersfield (it’s not that bad, guys. Seriously – there are palm trees!) to work at the Bakersfield Californian, because one can only work at Souper Salad for so many years before trying to approach being an adult. I met a guy named Chris Ramirez at the Californian and found out he was coming to Albuquerque to work at the Journal. He was my connection to a job at the Journal, and he was the person who invited me to the karaoke bar and introduced me to Mark. See? Fate!
I remember the thrill of being in a newsroom back then. I felt like being part of the media meant being a part of something so big and so important. I felt so proud of my profession in those days. I remember being bewildered when someone would leave the profession to work in other industries. Why would anyone give up being a part THIS? Honestly, I loved it right up till the end, especially on election nights and nights we got bribed by management with pizza, in hopes we’d forget that we hadn’t received raises or bonuses in 8 years. I wanted it to be like it is in the movies, with phones ringing urgently, and typewriters clacking loudly and everyone hollering and rushing and keeping pints of whiskey in their desk drawers. It’s not, by the way, though I’ve heard great stories from before my time.
I love copy editing, so being a part of Enchantment Sports ignites that thrill in me again. I know, I know. There’s still that complicating factor of the whole sports thing, but it’s growing on me. These days, I’m a public school teacher. I teach third grade, and I have a whole new passion ignited in me. Teaching kids is an amazing privilege. Plus, just wait till I get ahold of their essays! Watch out, third-graders. Here comes my red pen.
Robyn Vines Smith was a newspaper copy editor for 16 years, a professional blogger for 5 years and is currently a public school teacher. She is also the webmaster and a copy editor for Enchantment Sports. She is married to Enchantment Sports editor-in-chief and founder Mark Smith. Contact Robyn at enchantmentsportsNM@gmail.com.