Heroes of the Game

Original Release Date:
September 19, 2000

Teleplay by:
Jim Hamilton

Excerpts from:
"Outta The Loop" by Joanna

"Place Your Vote!" Result:
Which athlete gets arrested?

Estimated Runtime:


Some of you may read this story and ask, "Where is Dana?"


We open with Natalie and Jeremy in the edit room.

Jeremy: Are you sure?

Natalie: Yes.

Jeremy: Really?

Natalie: Am I sure? Yes.

Jeremy: You're okay?

Natalie: I wouldn't be saying 'okay' if I wasn't okay. Okay?

Jeremy: Okay.

Natalie: Good.

Jeremy: Good. It just seems something has been bothering you for the past couple of days.

Natalie: Jeremy, there isn't. Hand me that tape.

Jeremy hands Natalie a tape, and she inserts it into the machine.

Natalie: 15-hour tape-delay for the East Coast. And we can't get our hands on the highlights until they are almost one-day old.

Jeremy: We can find out the results when they happen. We just can't get highlights right away because NBC paid over seven-hundred million dollars for their television rights.

Natalie: And they're making nine-hundred million dollars off the commercials.

Jeremy: It's their prerogative.

Natalie: So with everything else going on out there, we have to figure something out.

Jeremy: What else is going on that's bigger than the Summer Games?

Natalie: And you haven't noticed what else is going on out there? That's your job.

Jeremy: There is something bothering you.

Natalie rips the tape out of the machine and uses it as a pointer, nearly jamming the tape into Jeremy's face.

Natalie: What's bothering me is you don't realize there are other things going on besides the Sydney Games. We've got college football, pro football including last night's game between Dallas and Washington, the American League wild-card race, the National League East pennant race, there's a segment we need to do on Pat Day, there's a quote from Bobby Knight, and most importantly, we've got too many people who need to get on the same page because there is a lot more going on right now than just the Sydney Games.

Jeremy: Okay. There's more going on than the Sydney Games

Natalie: Damn straight.

Natalie pulls down the tape and slams it on the table. She picks up another tape and brutally tries to insert it into the machine. She is obviously having trouble getting it to fit. Jeremy takes a step back to observe the assault on the machine by Natalie.

Jeremy: Natalie.

Natalie: What?

Jeremy: Turn the tape around.

Natalie fires an angry glare at Jeremy.

Natalie: Why?

Jeremy: (taking one step back) It's backwards and upside down.

Natalie: I know that.

She delicately turns the tape around and gently places it at the opening of the tape machine. Natalie then slams it into the machine, forcibly making it fit perfectly.

Jeremy: Natalie.

Natalie: What now? It's in there isn't it?

Jeremy: Take a minute and take a deep breath.

Natalie inhales deeply, then exhales.

Natalie: I'm fine.

Jeremy: You're fine.

Natalie: I'm fine.

Jeremy: Okay.

Natalie starts editing the tape, cutting the highlights down to fit into a 10-second segment.

Natalie: All right, that will work. (turns to Jeremy) You've got the status on Johnson's injury?

Jeremy: Elliott was just wrapping up the phone call when we came in here to... finish these tapes.

Natalie: Good.

Natalie focuses back on her tape, while Jeremy goes to leave the room. He opens the door, hesitates, and turns around.

Jeremy: Whatever it is I did to upset you, I apologize.

Natalie: You didn't do anything.

Jeremy: I feel apologies are in order here.

Natalie: But you didn't do anything.

Jeremy: I feel responsible. Lately, you've been less than congenial to everyone, including myself. Thus, I feel I am somewhat responsible.

Natalie: But you didn't do anything.

Jeremy: Natalie.

Natalie: Jeremy.

Jeremy: Help me understand-

Natalie: Not now.

Natalie gets up to leave, and Jeremy pushes the door open for her.

Jeremy: Okay. Later.

Natalie walks through the door.

Natalie: Thank you.


We hear the hustle and bustle of the Sports Night newsroom. Phones are ringing and people are talking, either with each other or on various telephones. Dan Rydell arrives, just stepping out of the elevator, and makes his way toward his office. Dan is wearing a leather jacket and carrying a small paper bag in his hand. As he walks, he notices many new faces in the newsroom. Also, he can pick up bits and pieces of conversations: "...weather's good in Boston for the week..." "...had twelve points and eight rebounds in the qualifying..." "...after Monday night's game in Washington..." "...picked up her second medal of the games..." "...won the bronze in the women's team final..."

Dan walks into his office, and notices Casey focused on his computer screen and typing away.

Dan: Hey.

Casey: You're late.

Dan: Brought you your favorite donuts.

Casey: Lemon?

Dan looks puzzled as he mumbles out, "Uh, no."

Casey: Strawberry Cream?

Dan: Uh, yeah.

Casey: You're not late.

Dan: Didn't think so.

Dan tosses Casey the bag of donuts as he breathes a sigh of relief, realizing lemon is not Casey's favorite donut. Dan pulls off his jacket, hangs it on their coat rack, and takes a seat at his desk.

Dan: And I have plenty to say today. I'm in the zone again.

Casey: Again?

Dan: Yes. I was in the zone yesterday, and it continues today.

Casey: Good.

Dan: I am Dan.

Casey: Dan the Man.

Dan: Yes, Dan the Man I am.

Natalie enters their office.

Natalie: Hey, guys. Just wanted to warn you-

Casey: Shoosh. Dan's in the zone.

Natalie: Again?

Dan: Yes, again. I was brilliant yesterday with my college football recap, wasn't I Case?

Casey: Yes, you were Daniel.

Dan: And I shall be brilliant once again today. And you know why?

Natalie: Cause you're in the zone?

Dan: Cause I'm in the zone.

Casey: Again.

Dan: Again.

Natalie: Good for you, Dan. I guess it's all right to assume you two have read the memo about Kornikova?

Casey: Oh, that.

Dan: Who sent it?

Natalie: J.J.

Dan: That explains it.

Natalie: Explains what?

Dan: Why I didn't read it.

Casey starts waving a hand in the air trying to get Natalie's attention.

Casey: Teacher, oh, teacher? I read my homework assignment, Miss Hurley.

Natalie: I'm trying to be serious here.

Casey: And the memo is a piece of garbage.

Dan: It's from J.J. What did you expect?

Natalie: J.J. is going to be sitting in on our next run-down. I expect you two to have something prepared.

Casey: He's sitting in?

Dan: Uh-oh.

Natalie: Yes.

Dan: That means one thing.

Natalie: What's that?

Casey: J.J. wants to cram something down our throats, and tell us to smile and say we like it.

Natalie: Guys, damn it!

Dan: Whoa!

Casey: She's pissed.

Natalie: Guys, you need to write this. I came in here to give you advanced warning because I don't want to see you get into trouble. This is the thanks I get?

Casey: She's right.

Dan: I'm sorry.

Casey: We're sorry. Thank you, Natalie.

Natalie: Thank you, guys.

Casey: Not a problem. (holds his bag up and offers it to Natalie) Donut?

Natalie: Thanks, Casey. (reaches into the bag and pulls out a donut) What kind?

Casey: Strawberry cream, my favorite.

Natalie: Great. (takes a bite) I thought lemon was your favorite?

Dan: What?

While chewing, Natalie turns her head and smiles an evil grin at Dan and then leaves the office.

Dan: Strawberry cream, right?

Casey: Is it?

Dan: Casey.

Casey reaches into the bag and pulls out a donut. He takes a huge bite out of the donut.

Casey: Yum.

Dan: Casey, what... you've got icing on your face.

Casey: Where?

Dan: On your upper lip.

Casey tries cleaning off his upper lip with his tongue, reaching up as far as he possibly could go.

Dan: Other side.

Casey: Oh.

Casey drags his tongue across to the other side of his mouth. He finally reaches it with one big lick, and smacks his lips signaling his clean upper lip.

Casey: Got it?

Dan: Yeah. Napkin?

Casey: No thanks. (takes another bite out of the donut)

Dan: Anyway, what's this Kournikova thing?

Casey: We have to write a promo for an uncoming 'Heroes of the Game' special.

Dan: How long?

Casey: Two minutes.

Dan: Two minutes!

Jeremy enters their office, fearfully looking behind his back and trying to see if Natalie is anywhere near them.

Dan: Jeremy, have you seen this Kournikova thing?

Jeremy: Who hasn't seen Kournikova?

Dan: We have to write two minutes of stuff promoting her.

Jeremy: Well, you can only say 'hot' so many times in two minutes. Just try to control your drool; you might short-circuit the wiring in the studio.

Casey: (laughs) What did you need, Jeremy?

Jeremy: Just wanted to let you know, Dan, that Johnson's injury from last night's Cowboys-Redskins game isn't as serious as it was first to be thought. He should only miss Sunday's game.

Dan: (writing on a piece of paper) Johnson, got it.

Jeremy: And Casey, the Indians are going to rest Finley for the Red Sox series.

Casey: Wow, that's big. Thanks.

Jeremy: No problem. Does Natalie seem all right to you two?

Dan: I thought it was that time of the month.

Jeremy: It's not. Has she said anything to you about anything I did?

Casey: Did you do something?

Jeremy: I hope not. I already offered an apology.

Dan: So, you did do something.

Jeremy: I don't know. She's not saying.

Dan: I feel for you, man.

Jeremy: Thanks, I guess.

Casey: It's probably just a phase. 'This too shall pass.'

Jeremy: I certainly hope so. (starts to leave and then turns around) Oh, yeah. And J.J.'s going to be at the next run-down.

Casey: We know.

Dan: J.J. wants to talk about Kournikova.

Jeremy: At least she's a good topic. Hey Dan, there's a Russian name you don't have trouble saying.

Casey: Let's practice our promo for Kournikova right now. Got a watch on, Jeremy?

Jeremy: Yes.

Casey: Good. Time us, starting...

Jeremy looks down at his watch waiting for Casey's signal.

Casey: ...now. Hot.

Dan: Hot.

Casey: Hot.

Dan: Hot.

Casey: Hot.

"Hot." "Hot." "Hot." "Hot." Jeremy quickly leaves the room, realizing the monster he has just created.

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