If my two-year-old son – who already slings a football with a laser, rocket arm – ever plays for the Homer Mariners, I may have to find a new line of work.
Reporters, you see, are supposed to be unbiased. We are to look at the world with a critical eye and cover all subjects – even sports – with a cool detachment that leaves no room for personal feelings. At least that’s what I was told at the third-rate community college I dropped out of.
In practice, however, it doesn’t always work out that way.
Raw emotions are an intrinsic part of human nature, of course, and only a mindless robot could report on sports – or the Homer City Council, for that matter – without getting swept up in the excitement every so often and having an opinion or two.
All true sports fans have opinions. If you don’t believe me, tune in to sports talk radio sometime.
Last Saturday, as I watched the Homer Mariners – a football team I’ve covered with a mostly critical eye for the last two years – put together an amazing upset victory over Kodiak, I found myself getting emotionally involved.
“Come on, Mariners!” I wanted to yell from the sidelines. “Step on their throats!”
When running back Anthony Resetarits scored the first Homer touchdown, I was overcome with the urge to run into the end zone and give him the highest-flying chest bump I could muster.
I didn’t do it, thank God, but I wanted to.
Why would I get that wrapped up in a high school football game when I don’t even have a kid on the team?
It’s because I’ve watched that team – with a mostly critical eye – struggle for most of the last two years. Almost always outnumbered and undersized, the Mariners have suffered setbacks, injuries and humiliating defeats over and over in that time.
In a road game against Soldotna earlier this season, for example, I saw the M’s – who had high hopes of taking their game to the next level – get worked over by the seasoned champion Stars. Even though they hung with the big boys for most of the first quarter, a couple of quick scores seemed to break their will. The next thing you know, it was 33-0.
Against Kodiak on Saturday, however, I saw the Homer Mariners turn a corner. It happened in the second quarter, when they were facing a string of unlucky calls and an early 8-0 deficit. Unlike earlier in the year, the Mariners didn’t cave in – didn’t allow themselves to think, “Oh well, we’re just little old Homer. There’s no way we can win against big, bad Kodiak.”
They kept fighting, digging in their heels and showing the kind of “mojo” – as Coach Wyatt likes to call it – that makes football great.
When the Mariners came back and won that game – setting up a very winnable playoff situation at Nikiski on Saturday – I wanted to shout and scream and jump for joy and generally act in a very un-reporter-like fashion.
Just imagine if my kid was on the team.
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