It was just an empty glass bottle stinking of liquor, tossed into some bushes under the base of an electric transmission tower.
Why someone pitched it there, ten-year-old Chris Colston didn't know. The base served as a getaway—a kind of "fort"—for him and his bicycle-riding buddies. But the bottle sparked an idea, and he rushed home to his desk. He began to write about all sorts of assorted stenches: the bottle, a neighborhood friend's breath, a local skunk terrorizing the neighborhood, and the poop left in yards from the local dogs, whom he dubbed "The Ruff Gang."
So yes, it's OK to say it: Mr. Colston's first book stunk. But his passion for writing blossomed.
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).
While on the MLB beat, he once received a home phone call from the late Hall of Famer Ted Williams, who gave him vociferous political advice—even though Mr. Colston didn't ask for it; he received a note from Daniel Okrent, the creator of Rotisserie League Baseball, telling Mr. Colston he had written Rotisserie's "definitive" history, so he has that going for him; and while in San Francisco he nearly caught a Barry Bonds home run ball in McCovey Cove (well, that might be pushing it, but he was in the raft).
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 Hines Ward's shoulder. (Ward's shoulder turned out to be fine, and he won the Super Bowl MVP award.) 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. (Does that mean in a game of Rock-scissors-paper, Colston was Paper?)
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 3,000,000.) While on the NBA beat, he had the pleasure of receiving tips from Commissioner David Stern on how to avoid sinus infections. (It's simple. Install a steam room in your house. Anybody can do it.) But Mr. Colston's greatest sportswriting achievement was never being called an imbecile by the media-loathing San Antonio Spurs coach, Mr. Gregg Popovich.
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 (go figure). While he is not yet a New York Times bestselling author, he's not ruling out the possibility.
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 copies on Amazon.com). "Why should you care what Chris Colston thinks? Because outside that locker room, there might not be anybody who knows that team better," wrote the Roanoke Times in 2012. "Colston isn't just a Tech graduate; he's a Tech expert, a Tech historian. A Tech lifer."
(You can see those books under the "HOKIES" tab at the top of www.chriscolston.com.
Mr. Colston's home base is in Herndon, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC. He could go on, but due to national security risks, the United Nations has instructed him not to divulge further personal information for fear of global catastrophe. You can learn more about him on wwww.chriscolston.com.
Colston's horror/psychological thriller, I AM THE WOLF MAN, is available on Amazon.com. To buy, click here or on the cover (right).
My first book, written at age 10. Being a creative prodigy and all, I titled it "Mike and Steve and Chris and Brent and Billy."
In junior high, my classmate and I wrote a mystery book based on the Alfred Hitchcock "Three Investigators" series, and sold it to our junior high friends. Some of them even read it.
I AM THE WOLF MAN is a psychological horror thriller available on Amazon.com for $3.99.
© 2019 Chris Colston