I'm cheering on the inside
I hate to lose. From basketball to bridge, and all points in between, the bitterness of defeat is a hard pill for me to swallow. If there is anything more painful than losing, however, it is watching someone else lose.
Why is the second scenario worse? Because you are forced to watch your favorite team or player, knowing that you can do nothing to affect the outcome.
As a sportswriter, watching a team that you cover lose is even tougher. At least the fans can yell, scream, wear rally caps and perform other rituals that are best left to the imagination and beer commercials. When you are in a press box or sitting on press row, none of those things are allowed.
The sportswriter has to be impartial, unemotional and completely lacking other outward signs of joy or displeasure over the outcome of the game. In other words, sportswriters have to be Mr. Spock, minus the green blood and pointed ears of course.
Spock’s stoic attitude does not mean the Vulcan is completely devoid of emotion. In fact, in the Star Trek universe, the Vulcans are one of the most emotional races in the galaxy. I am the same way. While I may look calm and composed on press row, studiously tapping out the words you will find in the next edition of The Daily Courier, on the inside, I am brimming with emotion. I give a silent cheer for every first down, goal, basket or hit.
A perfect example of this phenomenon occurred Wednesday at the GWU men’s basketball game. I watched my beloved Bulldogs lose a heartbreaker to the Lipscomb Bisons. I suffered in silence as the points melted away off of a seemingly secure 16 point lead.
As the pair of foul shots that would have sealed the victory went half way down the cylinder and popped out, I wanted to groan. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, I was left to wonder what might have been if GWU had not lost two starters due to injury.
After the game I wanted to encourage coach Holtmann and tell him how hard his team fought, but I had to ask the tough questions. It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary. You see, the goal of sports writing is to give an accurate and truthful account of what happened on the field of play. Sometimes that truth isn’t pretty, no matter how much we want it to be.
Try to keep this in mind as the high school basketball season tips off this week. I will cover a lot of games this year. Some will be wins, others losses.
If a team does lose, please know that I am not trying to make any one person or school look bad. I want all of our eight Rutherford County teams to succeed, but if one struggles, I have to report it. Again, doing so is not easy because I know how hard players and coaches work to prepare for each game. Believe me, if there is anyone worth cheering for, it would be the student athletes and coaches in Rutherford County.
So as you fill the bleachers this season and your cheers echo off the gym walls, look down on press row. I’ll be there with my laptop. While I may look calm and collected on the outside, rest assured, I’ll be cheering on the inside.