Words by Phlip
As a fan of basketball, I have watched intently as the bracket I assembled on Yahoo fills up with red just like everyone else in the country has as well.
I called two upsets, and was totally shocked by several more and two that should have but didn’t pan out, and lost a Final Four team on the first day of major competition. I was in 6th place in a 14-head group and not pleased. Oh well, I will survive.
Anyway, with this much basketball attention for many people’s favorite collection of weeks at the end of March every year, I can’t help but notice one common occurrence… The postgame press conference. A college athlete generally goes for between 18 and 23 years of age, depending on their sport and when their birthday is relative to when their sport was played. As it were, society will view these college students as “kids,” so there is no small surprise what happens in these press conferences. The players always seem to get on before the coach, and WITHOUT FAIL, they are crying their eyes out after a lost game. The interviews always start with ONE reporter asking a question; then the player responds directly to the question, refers to the coach and then begins to tail off into where the game went wrong, mentions his teammates and/or parents (who are usually at the games during the tournament) and then comes the waterworks. Not the choking up and alligator tear like the Native American from the commercial back in the 80s, but the fully blown snotty mess normally reserved for funerals and that moment just ahead of the denouement in Tyler Perry movies.
Now I’m not here to make fun of these guys, as most are after all larger, faster and potentially stronger than I am and I hate to have to catch a new felony physically defending myself after making a funny at the expense of someone willing to take it there in front of a camera. No, I don’t even question why they get up there and break down, I KNOW that the outcome and emotional involvement tied to sporting event intensifies when you are IN that sporting event, and pouring it all in, to not come out the victor – especially in a playoff/tournament setting – might be the cause for the waterworks. The people I question in this situation are the schools… Why on EARTH are we putting these (as-defined above) kids on display like this? They have NO financial take from this, and in such should only speak to the media voluntarily and not in a setting in which they will have their unprepared minds picked mercilessly by a reporter who needs hits on foxsports.com in an hour and his buddy with the camera who wants to be on every sports clipshow at the same time. And this is very much at the expense of the players, most of whom mathematically speaking will NEVER play a professional game in their lives.
Think about it; once out in the real world, these clips of these guys crying in the press conferences after games will be on The Youtubes and we can fully expect to see them used in that adult version of “the dozens” we all play with our friends who can take a joke.
“dude, you remember that time in college you bitched up and cried like one of Sybil’s personalities?”
Even a dude who CAN take a joke might be inclined to kill someone in the face if that is brought up ever, even in jest.
I would love to ONLY see the coach – a men’s coach, that is… we expect these things in the womens’ tournament – up there bawling his eyes out for a change. Yes, Rick Majerus got a little misty after the St Louis/Michigan State game on Sunday, but that was literally NOTHING compared to his Guard Brian Conklin.
Effective this year’s Sweet 16, players from the losing team should not be required to face the media unless they want to, and then with their coach present if they so desire.