IT WAS JUST AN EMPTY GLASS BOTTLE stinking of liquor, tossed into some bushes under the base of an electric transmission tower.
The kids living in the growing subdivision would huddle inside the base of the tower and it served as a kind of de facto "fort." The night before some of them must have had a party. They left their evidence behind.
The next morning, 10-year-old Chris Colston and his bicycle-riding buddies stopped for a break inside the tower, and they took turns putting their noses up to the bottle to catch a whiff of the alcohol. It was horrible, rot-gut stuff, but it sparked an idea in Colston's mind. That afternoon he wrote about all sorts of assorted stenches he encountered: the liquor bottle, a neighborhood friend's breath, a local skunk terrorizing the neighborhood, and the poop left in yards from the local dogs. So, you could say Mr. Colston's first book stunk.
The books about his neighborhood pals eventually gave way to sports. He went on to become an award-winning USA Today and USA Today Sports Weekly sportswriter, covering the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball. He now writes novels and shares his life experiences and his love of writing with high school English Honors students in Northern Virginia.
Mr. Colston's journalism career began at a rural newspaper in Craig County, Virginia (circulation: 300). From there he spent 11 years spearheading a sports newspaper in the athletics department of his alma mater, Virginia Tech (circulation: over 3,000). He then joined USA Today Baseball Weekly, where he worked his way up from copy editor to assistant operations manager (circulation: over 300,000; so basically, he found papers with circulations that start with the number three, and then kept adding zeroes).
When the magazine became Sports Weekly, Mr. Colston jumped into the world of pro football and served as the pool reporter for two Super Bowls, where he once incurring the wrath of former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher for asking too many pressing questions about the status of his star receiver's shoulder. During that time he won national writing awards covering the NFL—and once stumped Hollywood's The Rock by asking him who might play New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick in a movie.
After Sports Weekly merged with USA Today, he covered the NFL for both before becoming a full-time NBA reporter for USA Today (the circulation trend continued: at the time, over three million.) In his travels, Mr. Colston banked a wealth of memories by covering big-time sports from the inside. He has weaved those experiences into a rollicking ongoing series featuring young sportswriter James Hoak.
Mr. Colston is also the world's leading producer of books about Virginia Tech football, including the acclaimed eight-volume series GO TECH GO: THE INSIDE STORY BEHIND THE RISE OF VIRGINIA TECH FOOTBALL (available in both e-book and paperback on Amazon.com). He lives with his family in Herndon, Virginia, but due to national security risks, the United Nations has instructed him not to divulge further personal information for fear of global catastrophe.