Of politics and pucks
Election night was always my favorite time of the year at the Grand Forks Herald - if only for the humor of it. The newsroom was filled with editors and reporters, frantically tracking down election results from Greater Grand Forks and the surrou...
Election night was always my favorite time of the year at the Grand Forks Herald - if only for the humor of it.
The newsroom was filled with editors and reporters, frantically tracking down election results from Greater Grand Forks and the surrounding area.
It was their Super Bowl, a chance to perform under pressure with much at stake and accuracy at a premium.
Almost always, they celebrate the night by ordering in pizza, gobs of it.
We in the sports department would sit and laugh at them inwardly, chuckling at our unshakable belief that every night is election night in the sports department.
We'd tell the news reporters that, too, but few truly understood. Most newsroom reporters are home before dark. Sportswriters? That's generally when our serious work begins. We scatter here and there to report on games or man the phones in the office, compiling results from Pisek to Portland, from Houghton to Halifax.
The newspaper never picked up the pizza tab for the sports department's nightly version of election returns.
But the paper did pay for the pizza on newsroom election night. Those of us in the sports department deemed that to be a tad unfair, to put it politely. Maybe that's why we were never hesitant to grab our fair share (and more) of the free pizza.
On election night for politics, even us sports goons were "eatin' good in the neighborhood."
I would never have traded jobs with the news reporters, however. Their excitement comes once a year. For us sports reporters, we feel the thrill (and anguish) of the results on a nightly basis.
I've noticed another major difference. When it's election time, you can't turn on your TV without hearing mindless drivel from one candidate or another, night after night. Blah-blah-blah. It drives me nuts.
It's so much cleaner in the world of sports. The sportswriters covering the games generally write an article or two leading up to the games, then report on the results.
It provides a clean, orderly flow to the ever-changing sports seasons. Spring, summer, fall and winter, our routine remains constant, always chasing "election" results.
And when the games end, there's almost always a winner, other than for an occasional rare tie. There's no hanging chads to deal with, no contesting of the final results. It's neat and clean, and it happens in a span of a couple of hours. Over and out.
All that's missing when our busy nights end is the free pizza courtesy of the bosses.
There's plenty of passion to be found among voters and fans. Strong opinions abound in both groups, with very little hesitation to express them.
Political aficionados are as loyal to their candidate or party as sports fans are to their favorite player or team.
But while your favorite candidate might fade from favor over time, loyalty to your team never does. It's why hundreds, sometimes thousands of Fighting Sioux fans and alumni regularly show up in places like Denver or Minneapolis to cheer on their team years after their time at the school ended.
You graduate, but for the true sports fan, your passion for your team never does.
We in the sports reporting business have the joy of being part of that unique setting virtually every night.
Even without the free pizza on election night, I've always felt we had the best job in the world.
Virg Foss, who retired as a full-time sportswriter at the Herald in 2005, writes a weekly column from October through March. He can be reached at email@example.com or at (701) 772-9272. Sponsored LinkMortgage rates near 39yr lows. $510,000 Mortgage for $1,698/mo - Calculate new house payment