I awoke Friday with thoughts of multiple gold medals, semi-final massacres and one 2:30 p.m. press conference I figured would be an instant highlight of my trip.
What I got was a pair of golds – though it SO could have been one more in curling – one drubbing, one nail-biter and one presser that left me completely dejected, embarrassed and questioning my career path altogether.
First of all, congratulations to Charles Hamelin for FINALLY getting off the snide and also to the rest of his relay team for helping him win a second gold in a matter of minutes, or so it seemed.
Congratulations to Cheryl Bernard for fighting off the competition – and a wicked cold – all week to pick up silver in women’s curling. We all thought you had the gold but no one can deny her rink’s unbelievable effort and determination throughout the event.
Congratulations to the U.S. and Canadian men’s hockey teams for reaching Sunday’s gold-medal game and for giving every person in North America the exact matchup they were hoping for.
But when I opened my eyes Friday morning with all of these events still to play out, the only thing I could think about was the Canadian women’s hockey press conference, which was set for mid-afternoon at the media centre.
It started out great; one nervous reporter broke any ice I was worried about when he asked his question to “Stephanie,” when none of the four girls were named anything even close to that. Then, I got up to ask a question I had pre-rehearsed.
I wanted to know if they had spoken before the game at all about the reverse-resemblance this tourney had to the Salt Lake Olympics, when the Americans had dominated leading up to their own Games but then lost the gold. Jennifer Botterill addressed my question and said they had definitely discussed it but felt they wouldn’t be in jeopardy of the same fate.
Guess they were right.
I wasn’t even back to my bag when I saw my phone light up with a text from a former classmate: “I just heard you ask that question on CTV!!” Well, I’m no broadcast junky, that’s for sure, but I have to admit I was kind of pumped to know I had made my national television debut and hadn’t come out looking like a tool in the process.
But as far as I’m concerned, the tools were just getting started.
The first time the question of the girls’ celebration tactics came up, one of them quickly gave an obviously prepared statement, complete with a public apology. As much as I felt the question was irrelevant in the first place, I was expecting it and so were they.
OK fine. To the gentleman who started it, you are off the hook. But as for the numerous so-called journalists, who simply couldn’t leave well enough alone and decided to pester them over and over again about their decision to smoke a cigar and have a drink, I’ll say what the girls should have said.
That’s not journalism and if it is, I don’t want anything to do with it. All they are proving is how lazy and inadequate they are as members of the media. These girls had just won a gold medal for their country, yet well over 50 per cent of their questions had nothing to do with hockey, let alone winning.
One reporter from a very well known media outlet, who I knew of before, actually came only to embarrass the girls and then he left completely. His question?
“Do you really believe your conduct after that game was setting a good example for other people?”
What’s that, dad? Do you really believe that well-respected company gave you a job requiring journalistic skills?
Media are not at press conferences to lecture people or show their own opinions. That’s what columns and blogs are for. If you happen to be the first one at the microphone and simply have to ask the question, you say “What is your reaction to the complaints coming in regarding your on-ice celebration?”
And then you sit down, shut up and listen to their response. Then you act like a real journalist instead of some sensationalism-chasing jackass and ask a question about their flippin’ sport, since that is what actually matters.
You don’t continue to repeat the same stupid questions rearranged with new words.
Should I be calling out my colleagues when I’m simply a freelancer, one year out of school, sporting a blog with only a few hundred readers? A budding yes-man with plans to be like everyone else and a hope he can hold down job security if he just chases negative crap for the next 30 years might want to hold back these opinions.
But I didn’t start this to blend in and I didn’t get into this business to be like everyone else. I got into this because I want to be a great writer one day.
However, if I have to become the kind of reporter everyone hates in order to do it then I think I’ll just stop now. Of course, I might just stick around a bit and see if I can’t be a royal pain in the ass for the lazy journalists instead.
Besides, it all worked out fine for Jerry McGuire. Enjoy the second-last Olympic day everyone!