Racing's loss isn't lost on 'the other Poole' either
Saturday, May. 02, 2009
I was eager to make my mark when I arrived in Chapel Hill as in August 1979. But I quickly learned that Id have to settle for being nothing more than the other David Poole.
During freshman orientation, I tried out for the city news desk of The Daily Tar Heel. A few days later, when the city desk staff list was posted, I was heartbroken to find my name missing. My dismay turned to delight when I scanned the other desks and saw my name on the sports staff.
I phoned the news home to Florida, and soon my parents were bragging to their friends. David hasnt been on campus a week, and hes already found a career.
Eager to get started, I arrived earlier for the first meeting of the sports staff. Soon, I was joined by friendly, heavyset guy. We chatted a while I discovered hed been on the paper the year before and was happy to show me the ropes.
After a few minutes, I asked his name.
David, he said.
Yeah, thats my name, too. Whats your last name?
The blood rushed from my face. I leapt from my chair and fled the newsroom and certain humiliation.
I needed another life path, one in which I could blaze myself. But it was hard to avoid the original David Poole for the next three years, particularly after he became the DTH sports editor and author of the coveted Monday morning humor column.
Living in David Pooles shadow was a lesson in humility. Hardly a week went by without someone telling me how much they'd enjoyed my latest column. I should have used this to my advantage, particularly with the women. But Id explain how I was just the other David Poole.
The funny thing is that both of us did end up in journalism. I toiled in relative anonymity in papers in Virginia, while the original David Poole landed at the Charlotte Observer just as NASCAR was becoming big time. He soon had a national audience. People said David Poole was the best and that was OK, even if it wasnt me.
I never could shake the guy. When I started seriously dating a woman six years ago, one of her friends did a little Internet sleuthing to make sure Clare was not mixed up with someone featured on the sex offender registry.
Everything checked out, but the friend gave Clare this word of caution. Whats with the NASCAR thing?
Im happy to report that Clare agreed to marry me anyway, despite the fact that I had a distant connection to racin.
Hard to believe David is gone. His untimely death leaves a huge void in the NASCAR press corps. As for me, its kind of scary to think of myself out there on my own, the only David Poole.
David Poole (UNC 1983) is executive director of the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonprofit group that tracks money in Virginia politics.