How tough is this loss?

Jobs in journalism are hard to come by. I mean that within the broad spectrum of all job industries in the world, and I feel qualified to say that living in Fort McMurray, surrounded by the oilsands industry, in which, if you want a job, you’ve got one. But as with any industry, if you’ve got talent and work hard, someone will recognize it and give you a job.

What I’m trying to say is, since the broader picture of journalism as a whole doesn’t have a lot of jobs to offer, it’s kind of like trying to find a needle in a haystack if you want to get even more specific about the job you want, ie. politics, crime, arts… sports.

I never wanted to be a city reporter, the job I have now with the Fort McMurray Today, but I realize that if I choose to sit around and wait for a sports journalism position to open up, I might die of starvation before I’m employed. And it doesn’t mean that I don’t work hard at the job I currently have, it’s just not where I ultimately want to end up.

NOELSo when I’m watching a post-game scrum with the Winnipeg Jets’ head coach Claude Noel, after arguably the team’s most devastating loss in the two seasons they’ve been back in the NHL, and I hear someone who has a job I would kill to have ask him, “How tough is this loss?” it makes me want to scream until I throw up blood.

What exactly are these guys doing in the three hours they’re up in the press box, being paid to watch a hockey game? I realize they need to have a game story as good as written by the time the 3rd period buzzer sounds, I know what’s required, but really? The best question you have after 60 minutes of hockey is, “How tough is this loss?”

I don’t want to pass judgment on whoever it was that asked the question, because I know absolutely nothing about the situation. It could be someone new in the position (although Noel was quick to point out that the offender asked the same question last season…) and I know what it’s like to feel like a small fish in a big pond and end up asking a stupid question. Yes, stupid questions do exist, no matter what your parents tell you.

I guess it just dismays me to see someone not care enough to come up with one decent question to ask, when I’d like to think I would have been jotting down potential educated questions based on the game to ask during the post-game scrum.

But then I also think to myself, maybe this person simply takes his or her job for granted. Maybe I would have asked the exact same question if I was hired by a major media outlet as a sports reporter right out of college. But instead, I’m actually missing hockey games I’d love to watch, because I’m in a city council meeting, trying to force myself to care about things that wouldn’t even be on my radar otherwise.

So when I finally do get a chance to ask Claude Noel a question after a Jets game, I can appreciate how fortunate I am to be doing something I love for a living, realize what I had to put up with in order to get there, and come up with something a little bit better than, “How tough is this loss?”

The other bit of good news is that I’ve been there. I’m not just speculating that it’s where I want to be, I already know it is. It’s not a place that I’m trying to get to, it’s a place I’m trying to get back to.

Past and future.

Past and future.

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    • Anonymous
    • April 25th, 2013

    Maybe you find it hard to understand why a question as such was asked because you haven’t spent enough time in pro sports scrums. You’ve surely spent some time as an intern, but maybe not enough to understand the near dichotomy that exists between it and news reporting. Within sports reporting itself, the dynamic of pre-game, post-game, off-day, and dedicated press conferences differ greatly, completely aside from the whole other ball of wax that is news reporting, wherein your experience clearly lies. The point of the “question” asked was to get Noel to address his initial thoughts in his own words — a leader, if you will.

    And Noel was clearly having a bad day.

    Regardless, an interesting perspective JT. Cheers.

    • JT
    • April 25th, 2013

    I guess Noel hasn’t spent enough time in pro sports scrums either then, otherwise surely he would understand that the question was just to get his “initial thoughts.”

    Of course everyone knew Noel was going to be in a terrible mood. I understand that someone has to step up and be the reporter to ask the question to get some opening comments from the coach. Why the need to disguise it, and phrase it as something else? Ask the question you want an answer to; “Can we get your thoughts on how the game went tonight?”

    He’d probably answer angrily to that one too, but the anger would be from the outcome of the game, as everyone would expect. To ask a coach “How tough is this loss?” is rubbing salt in the wound. Everyone and their mother knows exactly how tough the loss is.

    Don’t patronize me by suggesting I haven’t spent enough time in pro sports scrums to understand why the question was asked. There is no reason any sports reporter should ever ask a coach, “How tough is this loss?” It’s a garbage question, plain and simple and I think most reporters would tend to agree.

    But quite frankly I’ve already wasted way too much of my time on someone who doesn’t even stand behind his/her own opinion enough to attach a name to his/her comment.

    • Anonymous
    • April 25th, 2013

    But you did spend the time to respond, and it is appreciated. And I never meant to be patronizing, just an observation.

    Salt in the wound? I don’t think so.

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