25 Questions with Don

May 4, 2015

Who are you? Don O’Brien, 44

Tell us about yourself. I’m a staff writer at the Quincy Herald-Whig. I’ve been a writer at the Herald-Whig since 1997 and was sports editor from Jan. 1999 through Aug. 2012. I moved over the crime and courts beat on Aug. 25, 2012. My wife, Stacey, and I have two sons — Derek, 16, and Reid, 10. I’m originally from Galesburg and graduated from Eastern Illinois University.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be …
Michael Jordan’s accountant. After figuring out I was never going to make the NBA with my playing skills, I figured I’d ride MJ’s coattails.

andrewfezzadeluxetwobuttontuxedo1What would you rather be doing right now?
Wolfing down a box of Girl Scouts Thin Mint cookies and watching the NCAA Tournament.

Shhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone that … I used to be a tuxedo model in high school.

Other than your wedding day and/or the birth of your children, what was your proudest moment? It was either April 12, 1987 when Michael Jordan met me or on April 11, 2005 when I made birdie at No. 15 during a round at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., home to the Masters. April has been a pretty good month for me.

It really stinks when … people don’t know how to drive. It’s not that hard.

What word in the dictionary would your face be next to? Loquacious

I always laugh when … my kids laugh. It’s contagious.

michael_jordan_trophy_ringsInvite any three people, living or dead, to dinner. Who are they? Tony Romo, because I’d want to know what life was like with Bob Spoo and then with Jessica Simpson; Michael Jordan, and he’d have to wear all six of his NBA title rings; and Howard Stern, because we’d need someone to keep the conversation going.

At the end of a really long day at work, I like to … wrestle with the boys.

People who knew me in high school thought I was … easy to get along with. How else could I become royalty — Galesburg High School Prom King, 1989.

My most unforgettable brush with greatness was with …
Bob Feller. My job has given me the chance to see a lot of big sports stars up close, but Feller was the first big-time athlete I ever met. I was 12 years old at a baseball card show in Galesburg, and I was amazed a Hall of Famer was coming to my town. However, Feller was a complete jerk. I’ve hated him ever since.

the-jacketI would drop all my plans tonight if I had the chance to … play another round at Augusta National.

If someone gave me a million dollars, there is STILL no way I would … sell my Masters jacket.

America should be more concerned about … our kids. They’re all fat and stupid. OK, that’s too harsh, but I think we need to focus on education. (People, vote in favor of a referendum for education once in a while. It won’t hurt too much.) Plus, we have to get kids out playing again. Too much Nintendo DS and Wii rots the brain.

I’m OK if there’s ever a national shortage of … T-shirts. I have a million of them. (I still want to find another vintage pink “Macho Man” T-shirt I had back in high school.)

What place in the world would you most like to visit? Ireland. The O’Briens were the kings of Ireland at one point. At least that’s what my dad tells me.

What is the most useful piece of advice you have ever received? “Tell the truth and don’t be afraid.”

When I’m cruising down the road, I’m likely listening to … the Howard Stern Show on Sirius Satellite Radio. He’s a riot.

lI always get sentimental when …
I go back home and have lunch at Coney Island in Galesburg with my dad. Reminds me of all the good times I had a kid.

The older I get, the more I realize … youth really is wasted on the young.

If I had one “do-over,” I would … have tried out for the basketball team at Galesburg High School and been content at the end of the bench. Instead, I played Y ball. The Streaks were something like 4-23 my senior year. I couldn’t have hurt that team.

My favorite item of clothing is … my original Air Jordan shoes. I saved my newspaper route money for a month to buy those shoes, which I still have.

If I’ve learned anything at all … you never split 10s in blackjack and that if you follow the Golden Rule, you’ll be OK.