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.
Since 2004, ESPN has simulcast 'Mike and Mike' on TV, adding a hurdle to preparing for a gig that previously allowed radio hosts to get away with wearing their native garb (which is to say, stained shorts, torn T-shirts, and ugly sweaters). Mike and Mike are given special dispensation to wear whatever they like.
"I would've gone into early retirement if I had to wake up at 4:15 every morning and put a friggin' suit on," says Golic. "That would've been the end of me." That said, attempting to pull together even the most basic outfit while fumbling around in the dark clearly puts one at a disadvantage. Greenberg's solution is to get ahead of this daily problem. "I pick out my clothes the night before," he says. "Sometimes I may have my wife help me pick out combinations, but it's the ultimate waste of time because generally you don't even see my pants on air because I'm sitting behind a desk. I mean, we could be wearing shorts or pants or Zumbas back there and no one would know the difference."
Golic's system is less refined: "I couldn't care less what I wear," he says. Thus, he relies on a four-pair rotation of jeans and the same tennis shoes every day. For shirts, he relies on good luck. "Rarely do I turn my light on in the closet. There's generally enough light from the bathroom to light up the closet a little bit," he says, "so I know if I'm picking out a T-shirt instead of a regular shirt. That's really all that matters."
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