I’ve been a fan of the North Carolina Tar Heels since my high school days. So watching them lose to the Georgetown Hoyas on Sunday was a bit of a disappointment.
But the real reason that I let out a big sigh on Sunday evening had little to do with team loyalties. No, it had to do media consumption: Now that the Hoyas were in the Final Four, I’d have to sit through a week of pregame stories in the Washington Post and other local media outlets.
Of all the genres of sports journalism out there in the world, no category is so thoroughly, so reliably lame as the pregame piece. It’s predictable, fluffy, filled with vapid quotes from players and coaches, and boring. I don’t care what news outlet you’re working for—-the Post, the New York Times, Sporting News, the Dupont Current, WRC-TV: If you’re teeing up Saturday’s big game, you’re doing some awfully forgettable journalism.
Examples abound in Final Four week. Check out this abstract for a Post story on the other FF matchup this weekend: “Joakim Noah and the Florida Gators find defending their title is a tough proposition.”
OK, I haven’t read that piece and wouldn’t dream of doing it. But just as surely as ESPN Zone fills with meatheads, that story features a Florida player quoted saying something to the following effect, if not verbatim: “Hey, when you’ve won the title, everyone’s gunning for you.”
Same thing goes for the Hoyas coverage. Yesterday, the area’s dominant daily chimes in with a fluffer on the partnership in the G’town backcourt of Jonathan Wallace and Jessie Sapp. Here’s a sample:
As basketball players, they complement each other. Sapp thrives off of driving to the basket and is a blur when he gets the ball in his hands and has the open court ahead of him. Wallace never seems hurried and is very good at stepping out and launching that distinctive, high-arcing shot.
“I feel that every time he puts the ball up, it’s going in,” Sapp said. “I really feel that way about Jon. I feel that his shot selection is great.”
It gets even worse, of course, on the TV news. On her late-night sports segment on Tuesday, WRC’s Lindsay Czarniak chronicled the Hoyas’ reception on campus and snagged an interview with Coach John Thompson III. Czarniak asked Thompson something to the following effect: Tell me everything that’s been out of the ordinary over these past few days.
Bring on the Leno show!