Every sports reporter has been there. You wait outside the locker room for players and coaches to exit after a heartbreaking loss to interview them.
“How did your team react after that crushing loss?”
“How do you think the team will respond heading into next week?”
These questions are tough to ask and are even worse to ask when you have been covering the team all season. A reporter’s rapport with the coaching staff and team can mean everything and no one wants to damage that. Past reporters have told me horror stories of coaches refusing to interview after a bad loss, or responding with the awkward I blew the game statement.
We are just students doing our job but it creates some real strife between the team and the Optimist when you are forced to ask them tough questions. Players view the Optimist reporters as individuals trying to tear the team down when the reporters are trying to tell the story.
One example in particular came last year when I had to ask how it felt to lose a game in the final moments of the game. He responded with kind of a shocked look and then a statement of two words, “we lost.”
The quote shocked me because I had never had an awkward interview where a coach refused to answer my question. He then proceeded to tell me I was no longer welcome in the field house and that I could email him interview questions from then on.
Student reporters on the Optimist have a lot of struggles with setting up interviews, interviewees, and coming up with the correct questions to ask after a loss. However, It does help prepare us for life after ACU.