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Becoming part of the story -- out of nowhere edition

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by farmerjerome, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. farmerjerome

    farmerjerome Active Member


    I really didn't mean for this to happen, obviously. But this could've caused some major headaches for me tonight.

    I'm covering a girls basketball game between two of the top teams in the section. One is ranked sixth in the state and is not used to losing. Ranked team starts losing to non-ranked team and starts acting like four-year-olds.

    I took a second to write down a scoring play and when I look up the action is right in front of the scores table. Girl from ranked team is called for something she doesn’t like and throws the ball at me in anger. But it wasn't so much of a throw as it was a push, so subtle that we just saw it at the scorers table, but it was definitely intentional.

    Obviously she thought I was with the un-ranked team and decided to get some aggression out. I had no idea what to do. She easily could have broken my nose. What would I have done then? The girl did this intentionally.

    I didn't say a word, besides, 'Oh, Jesus!' as I ducked. That and the scoreboard operator, who saw what happened, let me let off a expel stream of obscenities that no human should utter under my breath.

    I have never had anything happen to me like this in 10 years of writing. I've had parents and coaches be mad at me for something I wrote, but something like this? A girl I’ve never seen before just going nuts?

    I figured I had a few options:

    A. Throw my laptop at the player. Doesn’t bounce as well, but hurts just as much.
    B. Say something to the refs at halftime. One is a coach at a different school, someone I’ve known for years.
    C. Shoot an e-mail off to the athletic director. This is not acceptable behavior.
    D. Mention it to the coach after the game.
    E. Not mention it to the coach, but wipe my nose with my hand, covering it with post-plague germs, then offer him a hearty post-game hand shake before interviews.

    In the end, I did nothing. The girl ended up taking over the game and was a big part of her team's win. It was getting late anyway so I decided just not to interview her.

    So, I have three questions. Did I do the right thing, what would you have done, and, have we reached the point in high school athletics where children can get away with stuff like this without consequence?
  2. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Thinks you should move on ...

  3. Craig Sagers Tailor

    Craig Sagers Tailor Active Member

    Did the coach/ref say anything to the player in question after the incident? Throwing the ball at someone in the stands seems like an automatic technical foul.
  4. farmerjerome

    farmerjerome Active Member

    She was called for an, um, verrrrrry ticky-tack charge on the next play. In other words, yes.
  5. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    Are you 100 percent sure she was throwing it at you?
    While it may felt like she was, is there a possibility she was trying to fire the ball at the base of the scorer's table out of frustration and just misfired?
    If your relationship is good with the coach, I'd mention it in passing. Otherwise, I'd let it go because I think the chances the girl was throwing a ball at you for no reason isn't very high.
  6. farmerjerome

    farmerjerome Active Member

    Well, I was on the end of the scorers table and writing with my notepad on my lap.

    It's an "away" coach, so I didn't mention it. If it was a home coach with a team that I covered on a regular basis I would have said something. I didn't even mention the incident to the home coach, who I know quite well.

    Professionally, I just want to let it drop but I haven't been this angry about something in a long time. It took me a good 20 minutes to cool down.
  7. Harry Doyle

    Harry Doyle Member

    "Frustration was evident as Ranked Team fell behind early to Podunk and Pigtails even threw the ball into the stands out as she let out a grunt..."

    It happened. And its your job to write what happened.
  8. Den1983

    Den1983 Active Member

    Yeah, I don't think I would say she meant to purposely throw it at YOU. But man, that's a team of brats that you cover there.
  9. farmerjerome

    farmerjerome Active Member

    It's sad that we're so used to it by now. First came the, ahem, errant pass. Then it was the 'oh my god you called THAT on ME' shock and anger fouls. Then the pushing and hard fouls, followed by the blatant trip at midcourt and dives.

    I was disgusted at my gender. Then poof, they started winning and it all stopped.
  10. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    i hope the part of my brain that recognizes sarcasm is just in need of repair
  11. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    You did the right thing I believe. Let it go. Your instincts were correct.
  12. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    I doubt her intention was to blast the reporter with the ball...I would have made an effort to do a quick (normal) interview with her after the game and feel it out. If she blows you off at that point, then I'd address the coach about the situation to get to the bottom of it...but most likely you're over-thinking the situation.
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