Volume 96, Issue 100
Tuesday, April 8, 2003

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Stop blowin' wind

Shooting from the Hick
Ryan Hickman
Sports Editor

There are a few social phenomenons that I have encountered in my day. The insane way grown adults react when free stuff is being offered is one, asinine behavior in front of home video cameras is another and the most recent uncovering is what people do when you approach them from The Gazette.

Throughout the year I have interviewed coaches, athletes, administrators and students on the phone, after a game, on the court and in our office, and the results have ranged across the spectrum.

On one end of the scale is the "cat got your tongue" approach. This is when I come up and say, "Hi, I'm Ryan from The Gazette" and I get a meek, bashful look in return with a half smirk. What ensues is a question from me and then a blank look with a "I don't know what to say" response. Generally, these responses come from a women's rugby player.

Just a little bit up the totem pole of interview responses is the "neurotic retort." This is where I lay out the introduction and the counterattack is a lean-eyed scan up and down to make sure that I'm clear of any paparazzi ties. I write for The Gazette, not the National Inquirer, and I am not here to break any sexual scandals or turn your life upside down, I just want know what you thought of the game.

A direct descendant of the neurotic retort is the "meal ticket rant" where people come into our office or e-mail us about how shallow and worthless we are for not covering a particular event. We are average students first and foremost and not a public relations page for your individual cause. Second of all, we don't know everything about sports at Western or London and the best way to get some coverage is to let us know. Alright, now I'm ranting.

My favourite reply to a Gazette introduction is the "too cool for school" response where I get blown off because I am young and stupid and write for some worthless fishwrap – but it ain't no thang.

At the extreme end is Jack Fairs. The Western squash coach talks and talks and talks. I could only wish to know enough to talk for that length of time.

The best interview I had this year was with Western football equipment manager Clay Warner, where his replies were a tapestry of profanity strewn together with blunt aphorisms. Clay doesn't give a damn about The Gazette or what we write about him because he's just been around too long.

The model interview is football coach Larry Haylor, who deals with media outlets much larger than us and is honest and candid because he's been there before.

One more group is worth mentioning. In the middle of the road is the student/athlete and coach who drops their guard and gives some great sincere feedback other than the usual wind that gets blown my way. I'd like to thank these people, because they add a refreshing aspect to my job and make it that much more interesting.

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2002 THE GAZETTE