Sports commentary : The apple doesn't fall far
Published: Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013 21:10
If you did not go to Friday’s Philadelphia 76ers-Boston Celtics game, you missed out on a great match. In one night, I got to see Kim Kardashian’s old news, Kris Humphries, as well as a kid who I feel will be as big a star in Philadelphia as Julius Erving and Charles Barkley, Michael Carter-Williams.
But for me, the game was extra special, as I got to cross off something from my wish list that I thought I’d have to wait a while to do—emulate my father and cover a Sixers game. Though I didn’t get to sit on “press row” with the rest of the reporters, I did get to sit right under the basket the way my father used to.
For many fathers and sons, sports is a bonding event, one that goes over a lifetime, and it was no different for my dad and I. But for me, the greatest sports hero wasn’t a player or coach, it was my father.
My father was the Sixers beat reporter for The News Journal for 15 years, from 1983 to 1998. In that time, he got to meet many a great player, including Dr. J, Moses Malone and the incredibly named World B. Free. The stories he told of these players, as well as the excitement of being on the road and hanging around with other reporters, inspired me to be a sportswriter myself.
Over the years, my father, who held my position at The Review when he went to the university, gave me little lessons on how to cover sports and write in such a way to interest the readers. If you’ve read my commentaries before, you know that I cover far-flung sporting events such as the Bathurst 1,000 touring car race from Australia, which, as I write this, I am watching on a very spotty internet feed. With those commentaries, I try to interest the reader in maybe wanting to find out more and possibly become a fan themselves. If anything you’ve read of mine has enticed you to follow a certain “new” sport, you have my dad to thank for that.
But the best advice my dad gave me was how to cover a team, which I do every Sunday with our field hockey team. I’ve only been covering them for two seasons now, but I feel I have as many stories about them as he does about the Sixers.
I’ve always written in any essay about sports how it brings people together, but Friday night really showed that to me in a big way. I don’t usually get wowed by interviewing star athletes, but talking to Spencer Hawes in the locker room after the game with some of the Delaware Valley’s best journalists standing around me made me feel like I knew exactly what it was like to have been talking to Malone or Maurice Cheeks three decades ago.
While I was feeling my way in the first half under the basket, there was a young boy sitting with his father, talking about how the game was being played. I was struck dumb by how much this kid knew about the game, and all I can say is I hope this kid will continue to want to bond over a great game. I have with my dad, and I always will.
Jack Cobourn is the sports editor at The Review. Please send any questions, comments and a job as s Philadelphia 76ers beat wrtier to email@example.com.