What a loss really means

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Although I am now at college, the homepage on my laptop is set to the Juneau Empire Web site and I still try to read the paper every day and stay caught up with what is going on back home.

I recently read both the letter written by Mr. Coate and the response by Mr. Krueger and I felt compelled to offer an opinion on the subject. I understand Mr. Krueger and the paper were trying to capture the emotions and action of the event, however I also think the Juneau Empire takes this a step too far sometimes.

The amateur athletes in Juneau and the rest of Southeast are just that, amateurs. They compete in high school sports because they love it. They love the camaraderie with teammates, the family atmosphere of the team, the teaching of the coaches, the support of the fans and the unbelievable competitiveness of the athletes in Alaska. There is nothing as sweet as seeing the hard work you have put in pay off in victories, adoration of fans and championships.

However, equally as emotional to the victories and probably more so, is the pain you feel after defeat and the realization that the season and possibly your career have come to an end. I consider myself the luckiest person on the face of the earth for the wonderful times I had as a Crimson Bear and am glad to have shared my career with the community. However, if you feel compelled to put pictures in your paper of your athletes suffering bitter defeats - one that comes to my mind is the picture you ran from March 24, 2002, at the state basketball tournament - at least understand why it is we take offense to them, why we cry and why it hurts so badly.

In retrospect, it is not simply the fact of the loss of the game and championship that hurts so badly, it is much more than that. It's the fact that we have to say goodbye to so many things: To coaches that cared more about us as people than players, to the moms and dads that accompanied us on every road trip from the time we were JV freshman until the state title game, to the fans that sent chills up our back when we broke through the hoop at home, and most of all to our teammates - the ones we played side by side with through recesses in grade school, too many sports camps to count, middle school tourneys, hundreds of grueling practices, and finally to our ultimate dream - the state tournament. We cried because at the moment of those pictures, those are all the things we were coming to grips with, not simply the loss.

So again, if it is essential that pictures such as these run, at least take the time to understand the full spectrum of emotions you are capturing.

Joe Ayers


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