May 3, 2001

Being a Fan in Reporter's Clothing

Print More

Last weekend, about half of The Sun’s sports writers sat in a former editor’s apartment, fighting tooth-and-nail over which underclassmen athletes should get their names on this week’s top 10 lists and which seniors would grace the top 25 of the graduating class list.

And all I could think about was all of the athletes who were left off the list — all of the athletes that should have been on that list in a perfect world. But unfortunately, there is no recognition for 11th place.

I sat on the left corner of the couch running to the computer to pull up junior trackster Max King’s times at IC4As and sophomore fencer Roopa Rangi’s Ivy League touches so I could compare them to RBIs and kill percentages. But then how do you compare a trip to the national fencing championships with Ivy League Player of the Week honors or All-American nominations.

But mostly, I felt sorry for the many athletes that I spoke to and covered this year. They were largely underrepresented, mainly due to abysmal records. I’d become attached to these teams and their coaches, and to see them spurned was difficult. I saw them perform every weekend and sometimes in between, laying their hearts out on the field. I became attatched to them, talking to the players twice a week about their efforts on the field or the court. But even though I wished that I could reserve more spots on those subjective lists that feign objectivity, I knew that even the best case I could make wouldn’t get their names published.

I had a similar problem all year long. We try to maintain objectivity at The Sun — otherwise the publication loses its credibility. But not rooting for Cornell from the sidelines has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do here.

When I went to Michigan to watch the men’s basketball team play against MSU, I saw a Sun reporter turn down a press pass. I couldn’t understand why anyone would forgo a chance to meet Tom Izzo or Jason Richardson. His only excuse was he wanted to be a fan.

Well, after the Cornell-MSU game I did meet Izzo and I did come close to Richardson, even though I was shaking too much to do anything about it.

The next day, I sat at the press table while Cornell staged a 23-2 run to tie Baylor late in the second half. I would have given away that media pass so I could sit in the stands with the small Cornell contingent, cheering on David Muller as he took the 3-pointer to send the game into overtime.

Instead, I sat at a table with little monitors flashing running stats on the screen with sterile reporters, devoid of emotion. But at all times, I was secretly yearning to shout “Let’s Go Red!”

About two weeks ago, I sat giddy in the Schoellkopf press box. Cornell was up 4-1 against the nation’s top lacrosse team, Princeton, and I could feel the upset coming. Instead the Tigers staged a second-half run to beat the Red 7-4. It ruined my day. When I saw the teary-eyed team walk into the locker room afterwards, I would have much rather commiserated with them than try to analyze the game.

And the reason I hate writing about losses isn’t because they make worse stories, it’s because I have to relive the heartache of watching my teams lose. There is a fine line between following a team and being a fan. I’ve been walking it ever since I joined The Sun. And just as I want to see Cornell win every game, tournament and match, I wish we could print every student-athlete’s name this week because every one deserves a pat on the back.

– Mom and Dad: I don’t give either of you enough credit for your continual support and guidance. Everything that I am I owe to you. Thank you for keeping me striving for my best and trying to answer all my questions that can’t be solved.

– Anna: My fiercest enemy, now my closest friend. We don’t speak enough, but I am so proud to be your sister. I hope that the sentiment is mutual. Your honesty is invaluable to me.

– Sarah: Two years and at least one more. I am grateful everyday that Cornell housing put you in the room across the hall. I don’t think that it could have made a better match, nor would I have wanted it to.

– Charles: Thank you for tolerating me through complaints, insecurities, dilemmas, backseat cooking, botched course schedules, twisted thumbs, tears, stuffy noses and a plethora of eccentricities. But I would never trade any one of those moments. There’s no one else in the world whom I’d rather worry about. I can’t wait to introduce you to Mickey