Early in our careers, we sports writers are taught there’s no cheering in the press box.
Whether the team you’re covering wins or loses, you’ve still got a job to do, and readers are depending on you to do it.
So, color me surprised when I first started in the business and a much older sports writer revealed this to me — he usually enjoyed it more when the team he covered won. He added that it didn’t make you a poor professional if you appreciated a winning locker room or a happy coach or player.
Concentrate on your job, he said, but enjoy the chance to talk to the winning team. Appreciate someone’s accomplishments and that you’re lucky enough to get to write about them.
This particular reporter also said that it’s OK to like those sports personalities who have plenty to say, keep a good sense of humor, or realize they’ll get further by working with reporters than against them.
I’m keeping that in mind as Dale Earnhardt Jr. is set to retire at the end of the year. Talladega race fans will miss him, and so will plenty of us in the media center.
For a guy who gets many more interview requests than most in his sport, he’s amazingly generous with his time.
Certainly, he has bad days like anybody else, but even so, I recall when he finished a disappointing second in 2013 at Talladega. Afterward, he remained in the media center for a long time, giving complete answers to every question. He never gave the impression that he wanted to leave.
He lost the race but won the press conference, and race fans and reporters were richer for it.
Contact Anniston Star Sports Editor Mark Edwards at email@example.com. Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.