So as you’ll see below, I covered the crap out of the Pitt 8 Conference Tournament. But while I was there, I had a very awkward encounter.
Because on most days only about 10 minutes separates the end of one basketball game and the start of the next (tournament or otherwise), I always try to grab the coaches and players I want to interview as soon as the fourth quarter ends. Normally the coaches ask to talk to their teams first, so really I have only about six minutes to do five minutes’ worth of interviewing.
In an effort to conserve precious seconds during the Pitt 8, I usually positioned myself right by the doors of the teams’ locker rooms so I could grab the coaches as soon as I came out. And almost every time, this wasn’t a problem.
When I asked one coach if I could ask him a few questions, he said “No, I just got beat by 40,” and walked away.
While I certainly understood the coach’s reaction, I nevertheless grew quite angry. Other coaches, after all, had lost by greater margins and didn’t give me the cold shoulder just for trying to do my job.
Generally speaking, I both teams playing are local I don’t interview players on the losing team out of deference to the feelings of a 16-year-old kid. But I’d expect a grown man or woman to be able to put their frustrations aside for two minutes and let me do exactly the same thing I would do if the coach had won.
I considered throwing a line like “Team A so dominated Team B that after the game, Coach B refused to answer questions” into my game recap. I even wrote the “I just got beat by 40” quote down so I’d get the wording exactly write later on.
In the end, I didn’t use it. I used the winning coach’s interview and more of my own reporting to flesh out the story, and I let Coach B get away with blowing me off.
I think this was the right decision, as calling out the coach would’ve just made it harder the next time I covered that team. Still, this was the first time ever a coach had simply refused me and stormed off, so it was a very frustrating experience.
Here’s what I wrote for the News-Cap last week.