Eric Bolin: Why I’m actively rooting for Arkansas in College World Series
Arkansas football rules the world of Razorbacks sports. So, with your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast and get caught up. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas … especially Arkansas football. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points! There is no place like it on the web.
A few weeks back, before the beginning of the NCAA Tournament, I wrote that I outright wanted Arkansas to go to the College World Series. Selfish reasons, of course. I don’t otherwise have a particular affinity for the Razorbacks. Nor do I carry animus toward them. Arkansas sports just sort of exist to me. Like mangos or mallards or mountains. Don’t really care.
But in this particular instance? Sort of.
See, this job is going away soon. Most of you know that already. Cox Media Group is eliminating sports verticals on June 30. No more Breakfasts or Questions of the Day.
When I took up this profession for my career, I was taught the ropes by folks from the Washington Post, USA Today and the Associated Press. I am an Al Neuharth disciple when it comes to my news writing. If you know who that is, you know what I mean. If you don’t know who that is, look him up.
Point being, the first lesson I learned was distance. Distance yourself from the things you cover. If it’s crime, don’t get attached to the victims because it affects your emotions. When your emotions are affected, you lose objectivity. Say you cover politics, note the things people in your party are doing. If you stay detached, you will see both sides.
If you cover sports, treat it like politics. You don’t cheer for a team. You can hope for the best for individual persons you come across, but the team needs its feet held to the fire. Heck, the people do, too. Don’t believe a word they say. Not because they’re probably lying to you. Odds are, they aren’t. But if you roll with assuming the truth, you’re eventually going to be played. If you assume someone is blowing smoke, you can check to see if they are and when they do, you tell your readers about it.
But I’d say most readers want to read happy things.
“Why do you have to write that Arkansas is going to be picked last in the West? Help the team out! Go cover someone else!”
I was taught to be honest with people when working in this industry. But what do you do when the people who are supposed to want honesty want rosy instead?
I just want sports, the games. I want the thing that happens between the foul lines or sidelines or boards (especially the boards).
So, I want Arkansas baseball to win the College World Series. Covering an excellent team is fun. Covering a terrible one is fun, too. At least I had one of each this school year. The football team was terrible; I wrote about it often and was criticized for it. The baseball team is great; I write about it often and it goes largely ignored.
Whatever. Both are fun for me. Now, I can concentrate on the games. Games that kids play. Ignore everything else.
With that in mind and providing that context: Go, Arkansas. Just this once.
- Man, at least three guys who could have an impact at wide receiver for Arkansas are now not going to. Too many bodies, especially now that Kansas transfer Chase Harrell is now in the fold.
- Football coach Chad Morris is doing a good job of getting talent to campus for visits. Next step is getting them in a suit on the field.