Confessions of a recently converted sports junkie

High school basketball is over and withdrawals have sunk in.

Hi, I’m Marc and I’m addicted to sports and sports coverage. Things weren’t always thus.

When I accepted the position of editor with the Sentinel, one of the things I knew I’d have to take on was sports reporting. I dreaded it. My previous experience in that field of journalism was limited to editing sports stories, giving feedback on page design and discussing story ideas with reporters. As long as I didn’t have to attend a game or try to speak the lingo, I was perfectly fine in that role.

What did I know about documenting games? “That guy, whatshisname, in the white jersey, just took a ball from the guy in the blue jersey, ran down surface with the lines all over it and put the ball in a thingy.”

Terminology was not my strong suit.

As I was getting established in Wrangell, I began to cover cross country and swimming. I had experience with the sport of running — both as a runner and photographing runners — so that eased me into the writing portion. I had a bit of a learning curve with swimming.

I became invested in the outcomes when I started reporting results. Writing about victories was much more satisfying than the defeats, though losses are certainly part of the narrative. Still, when the volleyball team spiked the competition, I experienced a winner’s high.

Years ago, I picked the Cincinnati Bengals as my team since my wife was into football and we’d watch games together. I decided this would be a good time to start watching again to further my sports education. It never occurred to me they’d win the AFC Championship or go all the way to the Super Bowl this year. The wins were elating and the losses left me gutted. I tried to be happy for the few teams that beat my beloved black and orange, reassuring myself it was a “good game,” but inside I was seething.

I felt the same way when it came to the high school games. All of Wrangell’s teams suddenly became my team like the Bengals had. Watching the high school basketball teams advance through the season, I again became invested, and tried to stay objective in my reporting.

Not only were these kids winning games, they were getting more skilled. I paid attention to fouls and turnovers, three-point attempts and scoring “in the paint.” At the beginning of the season, I had no idea seeding was a team’s rank against other teams in the same division. I was learning as well.

I felt the sting as the boys basketball team fell to Petersburg at regionals, twice. I felt the euphoric, heady rush as the girls won the regional title and advanced to state finals. Those games ended the season.

Each Tuesday, we discuss story ideas for the following week’s paper. There has been at least one sports-related story on my list most weeks since September. As I sat down to write out last week’s list, I had a hollow feeling in my core. I couldn’t place it. Then it hit me: There were no games to cover.

Not only am I fan, I look forward to writing about sports as well.

Now, when does golf start? I need my fix.

 

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