Its a big deal to be on the front page of your hometown newspaper. When its a daily paper with a circulation of nearly 75,000 throughout northwest Iowa, its a big moment.
The brothers Univers have actually graced the front of the Sports page twice.
Once, in 1988, the brothers Univers were featured together with Minnesota Twins All-Star Kent Hrbek. The Twins were visiting Fort Dodge on their annual Winter Caravan, and since the bros. Nemitz are the biggest Twins fans outside of the TwinCities, we were the obvious choice to pose with the stars. Sure, it was one of those cheesy, "lets get some young kids to pose with the star to put a local twist on the photo!", but you know what? When you're 10 years old, and your hero is posing for a photo with you, it is the coolest thing ever. Even cooler when the star comes back on the Winter Caravan four years later, and you get him to sign the photo (an 8x10 glossy that the newspaper gave us). It is unequivocably my most treasured possession. You could take everything I own, but don't you dare touch my photo of me, my brother, and Kent Hrbek. Not unless you want to see me go Bronson from Deathwish, that is.
The second time one of the brothers Univers graced Page One is the one featured above. He was the lead baserunner on a double play. He got more crap for that photo than you can imagine. One, of all the photos to use, they pick the one where he's sitting on his butt. Two, he failed to bust up the double play, a huge no-no in baseball, which is of course captured for posterity. Posterior for Posterity, as I call it.
That clipping hung in the breakroom at the grocery store we worked at for 6 months, along with a post-it note: "Matt, get off your ass and get to work!". Hilarious.
There is a third time, but I don't talk about it. Makes me upset. So don't ask.
Why am I busting this out today? Well, I just hooked up my super fantastic brand new Epson Perfection 4870 Photo Pro scanner at the office, and I had to test it out on something...
Being the lifestyle photographer for a newspaper has got to be a tough job. Driving around, looking for people doing something interesting (but not interesting to write a story about), and getting the photo doing whatever that something interesting happens to be.
Once in early May of 1990, we were throwing a giant foam airplane, I believe it was 6 feet, in the city park that was adjacent to our house. It was a cool plane, I had got it for my birthday that year. My grandparents were retiring and packing a U-Haul to move to Florida, and needed me to lift a box for them. I ran home -- 500 feet -- and lifted that box. Was gone 5 minutes, tops. I come back to see some jackass from The Messenger writing a caption in his notebook as my brother and my buddy Doty look on. They'd had their picture taken by one of those lifestyle photographers. With my airplane. The bastards.
The next day, on Page One of the Lifestyle section, a photo of Doty and my brother appeared. The caption read: Matt Univers (left) and Ryan D enjoyed the gorgeous spring day by throwing their toy airplane at Snell-Crawford Park yesterday.
THEIR toy airplane. I have yet to get over this.
Son of a beesting, I just told the story I wasn't gonna tell. Damn it. Well, the puma's out of the bag, I guess. Hope you enjoy my misery.