The sideways glances. Whispers behind your back. Feelings of distaste toward you so strong you feel like you're wading through them. Snide comments. Rolling eyes.
And no, I'm not talking about a Sooner walking around in Stillwater or a Trojan in South Bend or a Yankee at Fenway. I'm talking about the odd hatred news reporters seem to have for sports writers.
Maybe it's an isolated incident, but even so it deserves comment. I just started with Nebraska's campus paper, the Daily Nebraskan. I was so pumped to get started and totally stoked to be with the sports desk.
I sat in on the budget meeting and listened to the veterans vie for stories. Afterward, like any good sports desk, we started talking about MLB and making predictions (needless to say, my prediction that the Mets could still limp into playoffs didn't quite turn out how I'd hoped).
It was then that I noticed the glances, whispers and distaste. The news reporters were quietly discussing among themselves how simple we sports types are. Then it happened.
"Hey, this is a newsroom, not a sports bar. If you want to talk about sports" (we were currently standing AT the sports desk, the place of talking about sports) "then take it somewhere else."
We weren't talking loudly. There was lots of other chatter—it's a newsroom, for goodness' sake. Other reporters were talking about their stories, engaging in political discussion and the like. We weren't disturbing the news folks.
Why is it then that there's this animosity between "us" and "them"? Is it because our coverage of Brett Favre's post-retirement pre-season pre-unretirement antics doesn't measure up to the newsworthiness of their in-depth investigative breaking news about the girl that rides her unicycle to class?
Sports is news, just like politics or religion or economics. Yet they view us like they view entertainment writers who shovel up the latest celebrity gossip: just a necessary evil to satisfy the consumer mentality of the readership.
I'm still just a newbie in this business, so I ask: Is this the way things will be? Will they hate us for writing about sports for the paper and be angry when a sports story (like something as small as the Super Bowl, national championship or World Series) makes it to the front page? Is it like this everywhere or is this an isolated event of college kids being college kids?
Regardless, I consider my sports desk just as important to the newspaper as anything else. And I think it's low of these people to discredit sports fans everywhere by saying what we love is not news.