For better than a dozen years now, Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic have trudged through the predawn gloom on the way to work as hosts of their daily sports talk show, 'Mike and Mike' on ESPN Radio. And for that entire time, they've had to wrestle with the difficulty of waking up early, shaking off fatigue, and getting sharp and up-to-speed with the latest news before signing onto the airwaves at 6 am. "My alarm goes off every day at 4 o'clock," says Greenberg, who joined ESPN in 1996 as a TV anchor. "People always ask me if you get used to it. And the answer to that is, no." Golic, who played eight seasons as an NFL defensive lineman before becoming a broadcaster in 1995, shares his partner's agony. "I just don't think you can ever get used to it," he says.
The duo is billed as an odd couple: Greenberg is the nebbishy New Yorker and nerdy lifelong fanboy, whereas Golic is the beefy Notre Dame alumnus and former NFL enforcer. The contrast between their personalities was all the more apparent when the two discussed their strategies for shaking off the sandman during a recent "Subtember" event in New York sponsored by Subway. Here are their tips for how to rise and shine when you have to wake up before the rooster crows.
Just start moving.
"I don't think you can actually be prepared for anything before 5 o'clock," Golic says. Yet the demands of a daily 6 am to 10 am shift on ESPN Radio demands that Golic routinely wake up at 4:15 am – a torture, Golic notes, that he did not have to deal with even during the harshest preseason hazing as a former NFL player. He and Greenberg agree that the toughest hurdle for early risers is the first step.
"The mistake people make is laying in bed, thinking about how tired they are, but the most important thing is just to start moving," says Greenberg. His solution is to place his alarm clock far away enough from his bed that he is forced to shut if off. "I can't turn it off without getting up, which is critical." Once you're out of bed, the battle is essentially over. (Note: It helps to have a bedmate who will murder you if you don't get to the alarm fast.)
Credit: Ben Liebenberg / AP