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Haters are in the house

By Jeffery Armstrong

I have told you readers before that I absolutely love being a sports writer, watching these high school and college athletes perform on a regular basis. To me, the good thing about doing sports journalism is that I get to get out of the office and see sporting events, eat some free food (if it's provided) and interact with other sports fans, coaches and the players. Not that there's anything wrong with sitting at a desk all day working, but I would rather be outdoors at events.

What intrigues me is that some of my newspaper sports writers get fed up and burned out with this job. Sure, it's no fun working at night when all the beautiful women are out at the hot spots. The pay for us isn't great at all. It's also not fun to have to work on Sundays, but no one said life would be perfect. To me, the perks outweigh the negatives in this job.

But recently a fellow sports writer told me that one sports writer at another paper actually cheered for a team he covers to lose during the region basketball tournament at Starr's Mill High this past season. Why? So the writer would have one less team to cover during the playoffs. That is what's known as "hating" on someone and that's sad. I could never root against the teams I cover. I couldn't "hate" on any of the local teams or individual athletes. As I've said before, I want all my teams and solo athletes to win state titles in a school year. It will never happen, of course, but I'd love for all 15 or so schools we cover to win team and solo state championships, even if we couldn't cover all of them at once and even if the parents and coaches would hate on us for not being there, knowing there's only three of us on the sports staff.

I don't know if it's just me, but I've noticed there's a lot of "haters" around the entire South Metro area. I can't tell you how many times I've had conversations with people at games and they've "hated" on another team, hated on their own school's head coach or even hated on the high school athletes. People in this area "hate" on our Clayton State coverage, our coverage of the two Hampton NASCAR races, our coverage of the Chick-fil-A golf tournament and our use of Associated Press sports stories. I wonder if this happens to community sports writers in Gwinnett and other counties?

Some of the hate is downright funny. Here are some samples: Team A, the best hitting baseball team in the region, can't hit. Team B can't outplay a team of 12-year-olds. Kid C is too young be out on the field. Coach D, even though he or she has led the team to the state playoffs, is a terrible coach.

What's funny is that even I occasionally receive some hate from parents of a player on one county team because they think I don't that team as much ink as other teams in my stories. That is so unfair because I give a fair amount of love to all my teams. If one team outdoes the other team, I have to write about it.

The funny thing about working in this business is that you can actually call me a "hater" if you feel like it. When it comes to the teams and individuals that we cover on a regular basis, I hate to see them lose.

Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Thursdays. He can be reached at jarmstrong@news-daily.com.