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The many, silly faces of today's sports media

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If you can't laugh at yourself ...

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

To say sports media have a face isn't right. To say sports media have many faces is correct. And, to say many of those faces are pretty silly is absolutely true.

Let's look at who is responsible for your team's coverage. (I bet you instantly can think of some names as you read through the list ...)

The kid - My hot sports takes are fresh, even when they aren't. My age means I get athletes better than anyone, especially on the college level. I show up for media events either in a tie or in the clothes I slept in - depending on motivation. My experience has been limited to my campus media outlets, and feedback has been limited mostly to my mom telling me how amazing I am, so this media thing will be cake. I'll be national in no time.

I give groupies a bad name with the way I chase athletes on social media with constant, awkward "Happy Birthday" messages 


Finishing death move: Call the competition old, repeatedly.

The I'm-too-good-for-this-but-I'm-here-anyways: I sulk around the press box and occasionally pipe up to make a snarky, condescending remark about a coach, player or another media member. That's if I'm not staring at my music or food blog, which is really what I'd love to spend all my time on. I'd dress like a hipster, but a media salary doesn't allow for such luxuries, so I make do with old jeans, a worn out pair of shoes and my canvas shoulder bag.

Finishing death move: Act bored. Browse restaurant reviews during the game.

The nerd: If I ever started, I stopped playing sports when it wasn't enough just to show up. I really don't know anything about what it actually takes to prepare and perform at a competitive level, let alone understand the nuances of locker room or team culture. So, despite my book smarts, I ask basic, tired questions and churn out ordinary content because I miss the deeper, colorful stuff right in front of me.

Finishing death move: Ask the exact same "talk about ..." or "what happened on 'x' play?" question to every coach and player; try to hide my lack of true understanding.

The jock-sniffer: A unicorn's honey-soaked rainbow poo has nothing on the sweet crap I spew. I'm an unabashed fan, and I make that clear with my rah-rah prose or even by wearing a team-logo polo in the press box. I'm not employed by the university or team, but, you don't get it -- I'm on the team. I give groupies a bad name with the way I chase athletes on social media with constant, awkward "Happy Birthday" messages and late-night exchanges. It's okay, though. I'm an insider.

Finishing death move: Not going away.

The former athlete: I was the bain of Howard Cosell's existence -- the former athlete who played, perhaps even well, and gets a media gig even though I can't speak or write worth a lick. I'm expected to provide dynamite insight and get inside the minds of coaches and players, but I'm better-known for providing a series of stuttered cliches while slaughtering the English language. That's on a good day. There are many examples of where, with years of practice, I became a solid contributor. But, there are many more of us who should have been left on the broadcasting bench.

Finishing death move: Getting asked an unrehearsed question by my broadcasting partner, or asking me to handle in-game interviews.

The "realist": I like to tell you I'm just trying to keep fans balanced. When things are good, I'll point out bad stuff. When it's bad, I'll focus on what's good. All because I'm just keeping the conversation real. I don't have to tell you how annoying I can be if this is the only trick in my media bag. It would behoove me to learn that there are times where being the perpetual devil's advocate is a terrible sin.

Finishing death move: Missing the moment. Pointing out the oh-fer statline after a win, or fawning over how good somebody looked on a specific play after a loss ... for no other reason than to keep things "balanced."

The stat giver: I don't have anything to add to the conversation, so I scour media guides and game notes so that I can pepper your social media timeline with obscure stats. I might be socially awkward, but I make up for it by knowing meaningless things like the Kansas State Wildcats have lost just three times at home since Bill Snyder's famous Taco Bell reference (*that's made up*).

Finishing death move: Starting every sentence with "Did you know?" or "How about this one?"

The "star": I don't report the news; I am the news. I've hung around the athletes and coaches I cover so much, or used to, that I think I deserve the same rockstar status and VIP treatment because I write and talk about sports things. Stat-giver says 1/5,000 of us has legitimately earned star power.

Finishing death move: Never appear in locker rooms or at press events; still position self as best in the business.

The curmudgeon: I've been in this media game for decades and have become a better historian than any media guide. I've also gotten crusty after many years of long nights, early deadlines, and pompous attitudes from athletes one-third my age. Thing is, though, if you just show me a little respect that I've earned in turning out a career that the Kid thinks he dreams about, I can be a helluva asset.

Finishing death move: Complaining about the pace of today's game -- any game.