BY TINA COX
A journalist is easily spotted in a crowd. They will have a pen in hand, a notebook (yes I said notebook), a recorder, a camera and a laptop. They watch games intently. They make note of every play and check their laptop for stat updates. Very seldom do they almost jump out of their seat, unless of course a ball or player is heading towards them. They have a job to do. Writing pays their bills. They have deadlines to meet and will spend hours after a game perfecting their story. The decline of printed newspapers have sent many into early retirement or the search for new employment. They are a dying breed.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to write for this website while covering the CATS. I have almost fulfilled my entire bucket list over the past four years. This “hobby” does not keep the lights on at my residence. I was a fan long before I started writing and it is hard sometimes to not jump out of my seat on media row. You will often see me with a huge smile on my face and sitting on my hands to keep from clapping.
I have spoken to Jerry Tipton several times over the past few years. He is always in serious mode and I am sure he had no idea who I was. I think one night I might have introduced myself to him at Rupp. He is always sitting up front at press conferences and always asks those questions no one else would think of (or dare) to ask. Afterall, this is his job.
As I made my way to my seat Wednesday night in the Bahamas, I can only imagine what he thought when I plopped down beside him. His laptop was fired up and his notepads ready. I was fumbling before tip to get my devices set up. We discussed not having any plug-ins and I offered to allow him to use my portable charger. I think that might have been the ice-breaker.
For three games poor Jerry had me beside him, I wasn’t there for the game on Sunday and for that I am sure he is grateful. We survived the power outage together and he survived me trying not to “fan out”.
There were times I am sure he wished I would quit talking. Those of you who know me realize that is really, really hard for me to do. As he wrote down every play on his notebook I found myself elbowing him saying, “wow, what about that”. He would acknowledge me briefly and go back to work. We survived the power outage together scrambling to find a wifi signal. By the end of the third night if he missed an assist or basket he would ask me which player and I would happily respond.
Don’t tell anyone…I made him smile and laugh (a little) more than once.
As I was heading to the room at midnight Saturday night, Jerry was in the lobby plugged into an outlet finishing his story. I stopped briefly and thanked him for putting up with me and jokingly told him he would miss me on Sunday.
I am not a journalist, I do not write the headlines I am just someone living my dream. Thank you Jerry for treating me as an equal. It was truly an honor.
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