Don't cry over spilt milk - or dropped passes

December 18, 2003|by ANDY MASON

As far as I know, no mom of any NFL wide receiver has ever e-mailed our sports department to complain about a story we ran that mentioned her son dropping a pass in the end zone.

To the best of my knowledge, no dad of any Heisman Trophy runner-up has ever called us wondering why we only ran a photo of the guy who won, especially since his son was more deserving of the award anyway.

And I really don't think there's ever been a complaint about us not giving pro beach volleyball enough attention.

If it weren't for local sports, we might all be viewed as saints.

Without a doubt, some family member or old friend I'm catching up with over the holidays will ask the question: "So, are you covering the Redskins?" or "... hanging out with the Wizards?" or "... making travel plans for spring training?"

My answer: "No, I'm too busy trying to fill the local kids' scrapbooks."


I'm not being facetious, either. Being a scrapbook scribe is a profession I have chosen for myself and one I take very seriously, mainly because the community holds its local sports in the highest of regards, especially at the high school level.

NFL and NBA articles usually end up either in the bin of recyclables or under the box of kitty litter. Local stories get posted on refrigerators and mailed to grandmothers across the country.

So, I better not mess up or, heaven forbid, report something unflattering about a local athlete.

It's a fine line to walk.

My feeling has always been that if an event is important enough for me to be there covering, then I need to try to accurately report what happens, because I assume that's what most people want to know.

If that includes your son, daughter or grandchild dropping a pass in the end zone or getting pinned to the mat or missing a penalty kick or bobbling a ground ball during a defining moment of the contest, so be it.

I'm not passing judgment - just passing along the information.

Sports is not all home runs and touchdowns, just like life isn't all riches and fame. But sports can be all about striving for the game-winning basket or race-winning kick, and that drive, desire and hard work - the fundamental keys to furthering one's life - are the things most people should care about, even when they come up short.

The next time I write about your son or daughter not coming through in the clutch, maybe you should be just as proud of him or her for even being in such a situation of public interest.

I've never been sent out to cover a kid playing video games and watching DVDs after school.

Of course, if I ever am, spilling the bag of chips won't go unnoticed.

Andy Mason is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at

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