Rossi: Finding a fix by siding with Everton
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Sports reporters have it hard. Really. The luckiest ones get to cover the teams they grew up watching only to usually end up hating those same teams. It's never personal, just the way it works. The more you see the less there is to like and soon you stop liking everything.
That's a problem, and it was mine as a sports reporter.
English soccer made sports fun again. Never saw that happening. So glad that it did. Now, a little part of me is like everybody else when it comes to sports.
It required restraint last week not to purchase the alternate “kit” (uniform) worn this season by Everton. The kit includes a white jersey and purple shorts. Last season, Everton's alternate kit resembled Sweden's national team. Now it looks like something donned by Northwestern volleyball.
It should be shelved, but only because of what happened on Saturday.
Poor box defense prevented Everton from opening its English Premier League “fixture” (schedule) by taking three points at Leicester City. The true blue “side” (team) had a 2-1 lead until four minutes from “time” (game's end). The “result” (finish) was a “draw” (tie). Everton settled for only a point. Champions League berths belong not to sides that fail to hold leads against opponents coming out of relegation.
OK, that last paragraph probably lost many of you. “Football” (soccer) has its own language.
The English Premier League, or EPL, is the NFL of the rest of the world. It is the envy of all.
Everton is hardly envied by anybody. It is one of two EPL sides in Liverpool. The other is… Liverpool.
Even the Beatles took second billing to this rivalry.
A colleague is a Liverpool “supporter” (fan). His response five years ago to my choosing Everton isn't suitable for print. We speak almost daily save for two weeks each EPL season. The Merseyside derby has divided families. It divides us. One derby day Everton will win at Anfield, and I'll have something to say other than, “Well, we have Paul McCartney!”
Irrational thoughts. Talking of a team as “we.” Fun.
Some soccer supporters presume to have picked their sides. This is a lie they allow themselves to believe. Your side picks you. Your side fits you, actually.
Everton found me. It's a perfect fit, too.
The dearest of friends, Matt Sampogna, made the recommendation. He sensed something was missing. He realized the sports reporter he knew best had shown no interest in watching sports on the last free weekend before the Penguins opened training camp. He understood that we were happy to drink beer for breakfast, and that only one sport made that socially acceptable.
“Everton would be a good side for you,” he said.
He had reasons, and within a few years of supporting Everton those reasons became frustratingly obvious.
Over the past five seasons, Everton has won just enough to never lose big. It hasn't won the EPL, qualified for the Champions League or been relegated to a lower division. That's probably how things will continue. It's basically how things have been for three decades. Still, Everton has a great history, plays well at its “pitch” (home) and usually sees its best players “sold” (dealt) to richer sides.
Essentially, Everton is the Pirates.
Matt soon will be married. Things will change. Except he'll still support Manchester United, and he knows deep down that's just as lame as cheering for the Yankees.
Maybe none of this matters to Pittsburghers raised on American football, baseball and hockey. It matters to this Pittsburgher — deeply, necessarily and absolutely.
Imagine a job writing about sports in a sports town and not caring at all about sports. It's hard, creates a heartbreaking distance socially, and it doesn't make sense to anybody.
Except that was the only sense I could make for how to maintain objectivity when assigned to cover the Steelers in a Super Bowl, the Penguins in a Stanley Cup Final and an All-Star Game at PNC Park.
An audience of sports fans needs, though doesn't always want, reporters that prize objectivity above all else. However, the distance to disconnection is short, and the danger for any reporter is losing perspective.
Everybody needs somebody to love. So, Everton now means everything from August through May, and that's more than all right.
For me, it's been necessary.
Sports reporters needn't completely forget we're writing about games. Sorry, make that “matches.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Newest Penguin Kessel’s unique shot is what makes him so special
- Ex-teammates say Kessel unfairly criticized
- Tiny black weevils booming in W.Pa.
- Pirates notebook: Taillon headed for surgery, Richard traded
- Russian winger Plotnikov could join Penguins in August
- Gorman: Barnstorming tour bigger than baseball
- Airlines offer small conveniences to counter higher fees, less space
- Lion cubs jump hurdles in Gaza Strip in journey to Jordan sanctuary
- McDonald’s localizes menus to battle growing competition
- Consider these factors before opting for longer-term auto loan
- Fun-seekers won’t let a Pittsburgh regatta without races get them down