13 Questions With Dan Wetzel

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1. Dealing Cards

RCS: You’re a national columnist for Yahoo! Sports, the biggest sports website. You broke the biggest story of last week about UConn’s recruiting transgressions. And Salon.com named you the country’s best sportswriter in 2006. But only a few years before that, you were dealing cards in a Michigan casino just to pay the bills.

What does a budding sports writer learn from splitting aces and raking antes?

Wetzel: I don’t think you learn anything in training to deal cards or craps. I think you appreciate how great this job is.   

You’re never going to hear me complain about my job, how hard it is and stuff like that.  There’s no heavy lifting. I worked construction to get through college.  That was hard work.  I literally dug ditches.  I appreciate the opportunity that I’ve been given to do this job, and I want to do it for as long as I can.   

I’ve had a few different jobs in journalism – a website called HoopsTV.com, Sportsline when it was really struggling, then Yahoo! when really no one worked for Yahoo!.  I’ve always looked at it as how can I make the job better? How can I help build the site up? How can I maximize the job, have fun, and work as hard as possible for different stories? I guess that’s what I got out of working odd jobs and going to “Casino College” when I was between opportunities.

It was fun though, great people and some great friends. And it was funny, all the casino jargon. We used to always say, "winner, winner chicken dinner."  Then a few years later I heard someone saying it on SportsCenter and I wondered if that guy went to Casino College too.

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