I bounced around from New York to Florida and eventually took a job in Detroit as a columnist at the Detroit Free Press. The sports appetite in that city was insatiable . . . and it matched my ambition. In a few years, I was not only penning columns, I was writing sports books, doing radio shows, and appearing regularly on TV, spouting my opinions on rich football players and hypocritical college sports programs. I was part of the media thunderstorm that now soaks our country. I was in demand.
Several of Morrie’s friends and family members had gathered to meet Koppel, and when the famous man entered the house, they buzzed with excitement—all except Morrie, who wheeled himself forward, raised his eyebrows, and interrupted the clamor with his high, sing-song voice. “Ted, I need to check you out before I agree to do this interview . . . Tell me something close to your heart.”
The program aired on a Friday night. It began with Ted Koppel from behind his desk in Washington, his voice booming with authority. “Who is Morrie Schwartz,” he said, “and why, by the end of the night, are so many of you going to care about him?” A thousand miles away, in my house on the hill, I was casually flipping channels. I heard these words from the TV set—“Who is Morrie Schwartz?”—and went numb.