Sports blew up on social media this week. Chip Kelly left the confines of Autzen Stadium, where it never rains, and went to Philadelphia, where it’s always sunny. Then the world find pointed a collective finger at Manti Te’o and told him he’s a big fat phony.
The Internet – or at least my version of it – nearly ran out of space with people spouting off their expert opinions about both of these items.
Buried deep in the news cycle was something from a lifetime – a whole six days – ago.
The Lakers won their first game.
Not the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Eugene YMCA second-grade Lakers. You know, the team coached by Oregon football star De’Anthony Thomas.
Early in the week, this made a relatively big splash in local media. The story was picked up by a few newspapers and TV stations. Kudos to those entities that ran the story.
Instead of taking the tried and true route of catching the big story floating by and putting their own slant on it, these media outlets took the time to investigate their own story. And even more unusual than doing their own investigative reporting, they spent their precious time investigating a story that was positive.
These positive stories are out there all around us. People do great things all the time. But these things rarely draw the attention of anyone in the media. That’s why it’s so phenomenal to hear about De’Anthony Thomas’s enthusiasm in coaching defense to a bunch of second graders.
It’s a feel-good story. Hearing the story makes you imagine just how excited these kids were when they got a phone call saying “Hi, this is Coach Thomas. My first name is De’Anthony. Our first practice is Tuesday at 5.”
It made me think back to the days I played youth sports. Some of my friends’ parents were cool, but they weren’t Black Mamba cool.
Sure, it’s not the biggest deal in the world that a college football player volunteers maybe 5-6 hours a week to coach a youth basketball team. But in the minds of the 10 kids on the team, it is the biggest deal in the world.
The folks at most TV stations or websites or newspapers, however, think it’s a bigger deal that a whole bunch of negative crap is going on. They’d rather report on (better yet, argue one side or the other relentlessly) the downsides of the economy, the push for reform on gun control, or a dude getting tricked into thinking his online girlfriend was real. That paints a negative picture for people. As the media constantly surrounds us, we’re made to believe we’re surrounded by this negativity.
That’s why I say thank you to De’Anthony Thomas for stepping up and giving back to the community of Eugene. But I also offer a bigger thank you to the media outlets that informed the greater public about Thomas doing so.
We could use more of it.
Kyle Boggs is on Twitter. Follow him at @KyleKBoggs