Did you watch the NCAA Basketball final between Kansas and Memphis last night ? Wasn’t it great ? I was rooting for Kansas but didn’t really think they had a chance when, late in the second half, they were down by nine . Then, Memphis missed four critical free throws, Kansas tied the game on a three point shot with 2 seconds to go and proceeded to blow out Memphis in overtime 75-68.
But enough has been written about the game. This post is about what happened later…
While flipping channels afterwards, I happened upon a post-game press conference. Several of the Memphis players and their coach were seated at a long table being peppered with questions from the press. And what questions ? !! Douglass- Roberts was asked why he missed three free throws at such a crucial time. Here was a 22 year old who had played his heart out ( 22 points, 10 rebounds), had suffered the most disappointing loss of his career, one which will haunt him for years to come and he was being asked such an inane question. He answered about as well as anyone could .” I don’t know,” he replied ” when you play basketball, you can’t describe things like that. I just missed them .” Some of the other questions were just as stupid. Derrick Rose , Memphis’ star guard, was asked why he failed to stop Mario Chalmers from hitting the game-tying shot.Well, it wasn’t for lack of trying; he was just a little late getting there. But what is the point of such questions ? What do they add to anybody’s enjoyment of the game ? How do they add to our appreciation of the contest or our understanding of the finer points of the game ? The last few minutes of the game drag on forever because of time -outs and stoppages of play and, when the outcome has already been decided, the losing team has to sit stoically through it all.To make them sit through such a press conference is really torture. By all means ask the losing coach about his strategy or his substitution patterns or whatever ; it might perhaps be of some interest to viewers but let the losing players alone to lick their wounds in peace.
Journalists , in general, are insensitive to the feelings of others when they conduct their interviews. How often have we not seen them approach a home-owner whose house has just burnt down and ask him how he feels. Or try to get a reaction from someone whose child has been seriously hurt or injured . This behavior is justified on the grounds that ” the public has a right to know “. Baloney. I, for one, don’t care for that right and I wish the press would treat the rest of us with a little more empathy, if not sympathy.