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We are fans!

Wesley Petersen author pic
Opinion

EWN Sport Editor Wesley Peterson is a fan and he's not about to apologise for it.

Sport journalists are a cynical group most of the time and some of them reading this may take issue with a stark revelation they would rather keep secret.

Readers of this, my first column, may have cast sport journalists in the roles of objective hacks, who think the world of their opinions (and only their own!), but our journalistic ethics belie a universal truth about us.

The big confession is: “We are fans!”

Okay, so it is not such a big surprise, but I would still like to challenge any sport journalist who disagrees and claims to offer no particular support for a certain athlete or team, to comment on these ramblings.

Now before I get burned at the stake by the custodians of the journalistic code of conduct which preaches objectivity, let us not confuse supporting with reporting. It is correct to broadcast and publish unbiased views and I despise the blatant and vulgar fanatical behavior practiced by some members of the media.

However, allow me to argue that sport journalists distancing themselves from fans should question whether they have in fact woken up yet.

National teams and athletes are perhaps different, because the debate is closer to patriotism than fanatical support, but that is not the point I want to make so I will exercise wisdom and navigate past that can of worms.

Let me describe how different things were at the Rugby World Cup, where for two days and two quarter final matches in Wellington, journalists nailed their colours to the mast and brazenly defied the mythical golem of objectivity.

The first play-off match on the Saturday was an all passion, guts and glory affair between Ireland and Wales.

Trust me there were unrestrained cheers and groans, depending on how the match swung.

This may not sound strange to outsiders, but media suites are usually solemn places where there is the utmost respect for those tapping away on keyboards or scribbling through notepads.

Not on that day… and even less so the day after when the Springboks took on the Wallabies. 

It did not take long for some members of the South African media contingent to start cursing what they deemed dodgy decisions by Bryce Lawrence (not getting into that debate here!) and the Australian journalists also did not hide their approval as the Boks started losing their grip.

The most telling indication that we are all fans, media or otherwise, was revealed as the dust settled on that battle.

The South African media had their emotional cover blown with the final whistle. 

I will not get into the details about the tears that were shed, the red faced anger or the boozy redemption, but the truth is that no fan can hide disappointment and on that day, few media folk could uphold their cynical, objective guises.

Yes, we are fans… and it is okay.

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