Sitting Down With Sportswriter and Everyday Champ1on Nick Lilja
Nick Lilja is an experienced columnist. He has written for The Daily Barometer, Touchdown Illustrated, The Forest Grove News-Times, as well as been featured on CBSsportsline.com, ESPN.com and countless other non-reputable sites that used his columns and likeness to make money.
While strapped to a keyboard, he continually excels at writing. Outside of writing, he balances his time between his job, and his job, and his other job. He took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about life in and out of the newspaper.
Nick Lilja: It's been awhile, how are things? How does it feel to be a repeat Everyday Champ1on?
Nick Lilja: Pretty good. I'm currently working two jobs and writing for another job on the side. Carpel tunnel has never felt so good. As for being a repeat winner? I could care less. It seems like everyone gets this thing now. If this award were actually special they wouldn't have given it to Oregon State golfer Alex Williams (just kiddin' buddy).
NL: So you finally landed a real job as a real newspaper reporter, how does that feel to stick it to all of the people who said you wouldn't make it?
NL: Great, I actually wrote a letter to every person who ever doubted me. Personal and hand written—the whole nine yards. I put it in an envelope. I licked the stamp. I walked it to my mail box. And tore them all to shreds. It was liberating.
NL: So you still don't like the haters?
NL: No, I love the haters. In fact, I sent a fruit basket to the guys at www.pure-orange.net. They are the only reason why I am where I am at today. I mean I would probably still be writing about how awesome Cole Gillespie was if I hadn't gotten the idea to piss them off.
It was great because I met one of them face-to-face a few weeks after a particular article and the guy took a swing at me! And missed! That had to be the funniest trip to 7-11 in my life.
NL: Are you referring to lambasting then-Oregon State Beaver quartetrback Matt Moore?
NL: No, that was way later. I'm talking about proclaiming Jonah Nickerson the best pitcher on the Oregon State baseball staff in 2006. Man people were furious. I remember the final line was something like: “Dallas Buck may be the big man on campus but the best man is Jonah Nickerson.”
Who knew talking someone up was so horrible? It turned out the guy who took a swing at me was actually Dallas Buck.
NL: So that's what made you want to be a writer? A bunch of people on a fanboi forum?
NL: Totally. I checked that website like five times a day just to see who I could piss off. And because I didn't do any real journalism. I just check for topics on that site and go straight to the newspaper. I'm pretty lazy.
NL: I'm sensing sarcasm...
NL: Me? Never. If there is one thing I never do, it is write with a sense of humor. Go google my name, I've never written anything funny.
NL: So do you like your new job?
NL: To be honest, it's great. I get paid to go to high school football games and watch kids make plays they can gloat about for the rest of their lives. I watched some kid take a screen pass 96 yards for a touchdown last week. You know he will never forget that. And he won't let his friends forget it either. Even when he's 40. Eating a pizza at Shakey's.
NL: So you have to be hating on someone these days, who is it?
NL: Bloggers who try to cross over to reporting. Man these guys piss me off.
NL: Any reason?
NL: Because I know they won't read this. Look, there is nothing worse than someone with no journalistic training trying to write a coherent article or column. There are two types of guys like this: Either they end up using a bunch of similes and metaphors and never get to the point. And by the time they do get to the point, their point sucks.
Or, they think they have the answer that no one has thought of yet. Guys post “THIS IS HOW YOU BEAT TOM BRADY!!!” and its 300 words about using the Sam Blitz. Great. I'm sure Chuck Cecil, Titans defensive coordinator, never thought of that.
Besides a column that is 300 only words is still 300 words short of making a real point.
NL: Didn't you start out without a journalistic background and wasn't your first column full of metaphors, similes and only 349 words?
NL: Next question.
NL: What do you do besides writing?
NL: I work at a stereo hifi shop. There are some good deals, but sometimes I sell stereo equipment that no one in their right mind should be buying. I sold a system to a guy the other day for $40,000. That is twice my salary. I understand spending an even grand on a good stereo but 40? I almost fell over when he said what he wanted.
NL: Last interview we asked what it was like to be a small town celebrity, has that answer changed?
NL: No. But it's nicer in the real world. Because while a lot of people think you are a piece of crap they know that you have the power to talk bad about them in the paper so they give you a little more respect.
Like just the other day I was walking out of the grocery store and someone didn't slam the door in my face. It was stupendous.
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