During that time, I’ve been fortunate enough to stumble upon covering quite a few groundbreaking or first-ever championship seasons. Honestly, I don’t know how I’ve been so lucky. Maybe the Chicago Cubs should recruit me as their next beat writer, just to reverse their curse.
A couple of examples:
During my senior year at Grand Valley State University, I covered the Lakers’ football team as they completed a perfect season with the program’s first Division 2 national championship in Florence, Ala.
At my first job after graduating from GVSU, I had the responsibility of writing about the success of a small Class D school near Traverse City as their boys hoops team completed a 20-0 regular season and made its first-ever trip to the state semifinals at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. A year later, they made it back again, falling in heartbreaking fashion in the state finals.
Obviously, writing about these types of magical seasons is so much fun. It’s why I love my job and bare driving all over the state to cover these teams.
Plus, it’s much easier to interview the coaches and players, because honestly, how much can you really ask a head coach of a basketball team that just went 4-16 before he or she tries to strangle you?
What’s more rewarding is witnessing how a community or campus rallies behind its team and the excitement that builds up throughout the course of the season. The journalism integrity book says a sports writer is supposed to remain neutral, but covering championship seasons makes it difficult from hopping on the bandwagon and cheering under your breath after every late touchdown or basket.
My peers on press row at the Breslin on Saturday probably should have given me a few glares after I got a little too caught up in Grand Haven’s girls Class A state championship game against Grosse Point South. At one point in the fourth quarter, Bucs’ point guard Shar’Rae Davis made a remarkably difficult running bank shot and was fouled, which caused me to leap out of my seat and pump my first in the air.
Whoops. I was the only one standing up. Maybe I can plead that it was just the basketball fan in me appreciating a really good play.
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