I won’t apologize for being the uncommon sports reporter.
There’s an unwritten journalism rule that suggests reporters shouldn’t root for players nor teams. I’ve never been good with unwritten rules, and, when it comes to this rule, I have a valid reason: I’m human.
For the last couple of years, I’ve often talked with Michael DeAugustino and Kaz Maia. I know their backgrounds and their relatives’ stories. So, when I watched DeAugustino lose his finals match in the last 10 seconds, and Maia lose his final high school match, due to injury, my heart broke with their parents and coaches.
For two straight seasons, I’ve written many articles on the Mainland football team. Other than Seabreeze and the teams I cover, I don’t know any of their opponents. But, I do know that Adrian Killins’ dad is a fireman, and I know that Victor Campbell will be getting married in a couple of months. So, when they’ve lost to Miami Central the last two seasons, I felt their pain.
Every game this past season, the Matanzas football team wowed the community. But, before their miracle year, I met most of the players and coaches at a school Fellowship of Christian Athletes event last season. There, I shared my life testimony, and many have sought my advice. So, when they fell short of reaching the playoffs, I too was disappointed.
How could I not cheer for the Seabreeze girls soccer team, after getting to know coach Kim Merkel last year, when she took over as the head? In just two seasons, she lost 16 players to graduation, but the Lady Sandcrabs fell just short of reaching the regional championship. Merkel and I have often discussed their team bonding methods that allow the girls to grow closer before and during the season. I don’t know their out-of-the-area opponents like that.
Last year, I had the privilege of covering and getting to know former Father Lopez star basketball player Malik Maitland. I saw him carry a sub-par team in ways I’ve never seen in other high school ball players carry teams. Maitland had two 40-point games, and I watched him put up a tough 25, as he willed the Green Wave to victory.
So, yes, I wanted to see him win a state championship, just as much as I’ve desired that they all win big. And, if I am wrong for wanting the athletes I’m connected with to win, so what!