Friday, February 29, 2008

Sportswriter Not Actually a Ninja

(Boston, MA) – Despite his name, Boston Globe hockey beat writer Fluto Shinzawa is not, nor has ever been a ninja. Shinzawa, who covers the bruins and NASCAR for the paper, denies any martial arts skills whatsoever, much less a lifetime of demanding training conducted in far off mountain temples where he forged expertise in stealth, assassination, and sacrifice.

“Yeah, at first when I started [in 2002] I thought it was a joke because I was the new guy, and I tried to pay no attention, but now I think they were serious. If I really was a trained ninja, don’t you think I would know more than the tripe that [Bruins GM Peter] Chiarelli feeds us? I’m hoofing it like everyone else.”

Shinzawa’s colleagues are less quick to brush off the possibility the young beat reporter is not a ninja. “I don’t care if he wrote about high school sports in New Hampshire,” said legendary Globe columnist Bob Ryan, "His movements are too fluid, his gaze too steady, and his temperament too even to not be a ninja. And you know what? I’ve seen him wrap his face before, crawling stealthily on the floor – just like they do in the movies - and in the office no less! He tried to deny it and went right past me. But I know his secret. And I honor his commitment to knowledge, justice and making deadline.”

When asked about Ryan’s recollection, Shinzawa flashed a hint of anger but remained calm. “Did he mention that there was a fire in the copy room? I poured my water bottle into my sweater and covered my face from the smoke. Bob was just laying there, making karate chop motions and yelling KEEYAH! at me. I think they said later he had smoke poisoning.”

While he enjoys his work at the Globe, Shinzawa notes the work environment – the ‘ninja thing’ as he calls it – contributes to his looking elsewhere for work. He says he endures the daily borderline racist comments because of his passion for hockey and NASCAR, and the opportunity to break news for a major daily. But thoughts of swift revenge continue to plague him.

I swear if [Globe Columnist Gordon] Edes asks one more time during staff meeting if my byline should be changed to Crouching Tiger or Hidden Dragon, I’m going to call our anonymous harassment hotline. Not that I care, but I don’t think there were even ninjas in that movie.”

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