It rained last night.
It was a nice gentle rain that lasted all night and continued into
Thanksgiving Day. It was not much mind you, but hopefully it is enough to
slow the forest fires that have already claimed too much of the Commonwealth's
acreage. I hope our neighbors to the south got some of it as well as they
need it even more than we do. For us though, it was an answer to prayers.
It rained on "Championship" Sunday night as well. It did no good though as it was very light ... very localized... very odd. It lasted less than twenty minutes and seemed to coincide with my watching of the replay of the State of the Sport Press Conference that had occurred earlier that day.
(Thanks to Greg Engle of CupScene.com for recording and posting it so folks like me who missed it live could see and hear what happened. Here is a link if you missed it.)
I went back and watched, closely listening to what was said. I knew going in I probably wouldn't understand it. I've watched these before and though I've really tried hard to understand... those only hurt my head. I hope you had better luck. With Sprint leaving and the sport at an important point in its history, I really believed this address would be different.
As I watched, I paid particular attention to who asked questions, who had concerns and voiced them. Conversely, I thought it was also interesting to see who had no questions or concerns at this important time.
Was it that their questions were answered in previous questions? Or could it be they had no concerns... that from their perspective all is well and that's what they plan to report to their readers? Or maybe they were not going to report on this at all. Or they may be like me and from prior experience realized the futility in asking a question because the answer was too difficult to decipher from the response. Or possibly they had already gotten their questions answered in a different forum? I'm sure the reasons for silence were as varied as those silent.
I listened to the questions asked and tried to determine if the questioners were really seeking answers to their voiced concerns, issues they thought their readers might be interested in, or were they just tossing softballs underhand so the speaker could smack them out of the park?
As I listened to the response to the questions, I couldn't help but notice what I thought was a light rain falling... on my back, so light, almost imperceptible. And as the questioning continued and like the sweat mounting on the speaker's brow, it seemed to increase as well.
Among the questions, there were a few underhand tosses (whether they were smacked out is open for discussion) but the bulk of those asked were things I had questions about myself and I appreciate those reporters asking about them, trying to get answers.
They were things like -
-Status of Series Sponsor (We're in a really good spot)
-Declining TV Viewership (Audiences aren't going anywhere. Viewers are sliding into digital and our numbers are huge there. Our numbers are fine; they are sliding into other areas and consuming differently. It will all work out. We will always have huge audiences)
-Declines in attendance (Attendance is fine.)
-Overall Health of Sport (We're happy with the health of the sport)
-Does the Chase resonate with fans? (We are pleased with where we're at)
I was left with the overall impression that the State of the Sport is that all is well and it will all work out.
As I listen to those responses and the press conference starts winding down I begin to wonder more about this unusual precipitation event I was experiencing and hoped it wasn't best explained in that classic quote by Fletcher, from the 1976 Clint Eastwood movie, "The Outlaw Josie Wales".
[Editor’s Comment: Parental guidance advised – (L)]
As the sport enters this new
chapter and moves through this critical time, I hope that what I was feeling on
Sunday was the latter, rain. However, with each response made with a
wiped brow, I feared the former.
I pray that it's rain because as a fan, I've had enough of the other and really don't need any more. I guess only time will tell us which it is.
Please let it be rain.