As I'm wont to do every now and again, Your Friendly Neighborhood Sports Reporter is going through a cycle where instead of seeking out new entertainment — TV shows, books, movies, music — I instead find myself drawn toward the comforts of old favorites.
For example, I just finished introducing the family to "The Lord of the Rings" movies over a month's worth of lazy Sunday afternoons (and if you've watched the director's cuts of the three movies, you know they pretty much take a month's worth of Sundays to watch). I'm re-reading my old Stephen King books pretty regularly, and in one of my greatest parenting wins this side of the Mario-and Luigi-themed fourth birthday party, I've successfully gotten my daughter into one of my must-watch 1980s Saturday morning cartoons from when I was growing up, "Dungeons & Dragons."
Thanks to DVD and YouTube, nowadays that fondness for old favorites can also extend to sports. I think I've watched the final few innings of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series 60 or 70 times by now. There's nothing like watching 1980s/early 1990s-era NBA highlights to see the game of basketball the way I remember it, or typing in names such as "Walter Payton" or "LaDainian Tomlinson" or "Lawrence Taylor" into your Google machine and seeing what comes up.
This being the 2010s, my mood for retro sometimes only goes back a few years. As a matter of fact, right now I'm re-listening to "Serial," an enthralling, in-depth podcast about the murder of a high school student in 1999 and the eventual, controversial, perhaps mistaken arrest and prosecution of her ex-boyfriend — who, almost two decades later, still proclaims his innocence and is fighting through the legal system to get another day in court.
That I was listening to "Serial," a show about a terrible crime and a possibly wrongful conviction, just today on my ride up to work made it even more jaw-dropping when I logged onto the Associated Press wire and immediately came across the story of Nevest Coleman.
From the Chicago Tribune report, Coleman was a Chicago White Sox groundskeeper who in 1994 was convicted for the rape and murder of a 20-year-old woman. This past November — after spending 23 years in prison for the crime — Coleman was exonerated of the crime thanks to DNA evidence which linked the crime instead to another man. Earlier this month, Coleman was issued a certificate of innocence, wiping his record clean of the crimes and allowing him, finally, to resume his life.
And what was the first thing he wanted to do?
"His first wish, before he wished for a hamburger, was to work for the White Sox," Coleman's cousin, Richard Coleman, told the Chicago Tribune. "That's exactly what I told them."
And to their credit, the White Sox listened.
Coleman's former employer brought him in for a job interview and rehired him more than two decades after he lost not only his job but his reputation and his way of life. Nevest Coleman, now 49 years old, was back on the job as a groundskeeper Monday — at a ballpark named Guaranteed Rate Field, not New Comiskey as it was when last he was there.
Well done, White Sox.
Sometimes it's really cool to go retro.