Veteran USA Today sportswriter Christine Brennan travels to New Hampshire for a different kind of game. Brennan is part of the audience watching the Republican primary.
MANCHESTER, N.H., Jan. 8, 2012 — The big game for USA Today sportswriter Christine Brennan this weekend is the nation’s first primary vote.
“Just like you go to the Super Bowl for fun, we go to the New Hampshire Primary,” Brennan said Saturday as she traveled to meet four friends in New Hampshire. They’ve been meeting here as political tourists since 1988.
A sports journalist for three decades, Brennan and friends are political junkies to spend the days in the run-up to the primary trying to meet each candidate and attending campaign events.
“The best years are when there is a Democratic and Republican race,” Brennan said. “Four years ago, we met every single Democrat running and McCain.”
Although she goes to see old friends and briefly escape from her reporting beat, it’s easy for Brennan to draw a comparison between sports and politics.
“It’s exactly the same. There is a clear winner and loser, the playing field is defined, and there are regularly scheduled events. But most of all it’s a contest,” she said.
As journalists themselves, Brennan and her friends can empathize with reporters in New Hampshire chasing stories under the pressure of deadlines. A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Brennan recalls that students would get an “F” if they misspelled a name.
“I’ve been given a great gift, but you definitely have to double-check — and then quadruple check — your story,” she said.
Even though Brennan is sticking to sportswriting, she’s willing to make a primary prediction.
“If I had to pick, I would bet Romney will win,” she said. ” But if I ever predict in sports, half the time I get it wrong.”