I hate writing in the first person.
I was a journalism major in the eighties. My professors were all old guys who at some point were wearing fedoras with their press pass in their hat bands. At that time is was all about objective reporting. The writer was only supposed to write the facts, and let the readers make up their own opinions.
If I didn’t turn in articles that didn’t address “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, and “why” in the first two paragraphs, I could expect to have my ass chewed out and I wasn’t going to get a good grade. That was journalism not all that long ago. I never aspired to be an opinion columnist.
That’s a bygone era. In this day and age, not only does a reader have to figure out the agenda of the writer of an article. Now you have to figure out the agenda of the organization that is publishing it.
I knew I had to break my own rule about “first person” writing when I read a story about Kenechi Udeze becoming an assistant coach for the Minnesota Vikings.
For those who don’t Kenechi Udeze was the first round draft pick of the Vikings in 2004. A great draft pick, he was an all American from the University Of Southern California. By all accounts, there were no risks in drafting him.
In 2008, Udeze was diagnosed with leukemia. He battled through the cancer treatment to attend training camp in 2009.
His playing career wasn’t to be. The damage left by chemotherapy left him unable to compete at the level he was accustomed to. I think he has a possibility of having a great coaching career. Not only does he know the game, I’m sure he can put some real perspective into one of his player’s lives.
I could have easily written this story in the third person, making this article objective.
Unfortunately, cancer became personal for me. On April 29, my wife who is only 40 years old was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. A very aggressive form of the disease.
On Wednesday in the chemo ward was almost exclusively filled with the people in their twenties and thirties.
Cancer does not discriminate. Cancer does not care if you are the first round pick of the Minnesota Vikings. Cancer does not care if you are black or white. Cancer does not care if you are rich or poor. Ask Steve Jobs. Cancer does not care if you are elderly, or just a little kid. Cancer doesn’t care if you are gay or straight.
Cancer doesn’t care if you are my wife.
By the way, the two professors I respected the most both died of cancer. I think they will be both okay with me writing this.