Trying to be objective in a subjective world
Times Staff Writer
A thin layer of clouds hid the full moon from lighting the groomed tracks at Dos Rios golf course this past Friday night. Despite the challenge of being a rookie Nordic skier without a headlamp, I found myself navigating around in the dark, trying to feel my way into the grooves with a few coworkers.
Somewhere along the way I stopped and kneeled to inspect the conditions of the snow, once even shoving my face into its frosty chill. I did this multiple times, which is why our small crew assumed I fell, but those are alternative facts, and the only facts that matter are the ones I choose to accept, or so the new theme in our country goes.
Regardless, skiing under the cover of an eerie darkness left me with the tragic optimism that’s been my trademark these past 17 years. I knew I’d find those grooves eventually, even if it meant purposefully and rapidly stopping to inspect the snow — frequently.
So, a day later when the Gunnison High School (GHS) boys basketball team trailed Moffat County by three points with less than 12 seconds remaining in the game, I still maintained some form of optimism.
Let’s be honest, the world of sports is barely removed from the New England Patriots 25-point comeback win in the Super Bowl, and just a week removed from the Crested Butte High School hockey team taking a 7-0 beating from the No. 3 team in the state, then flipping the script on them less than 24 hours later with a 3-2 victory.
Crazier things have happened.
With the clock ticking down, it was destined to be either a tragedy or a triumph on the basketball court. But the Cowboys weren’t ready to lose their last home game of the season.
As you all undoubtedly know by now — the game did end five days ago — Jose Alarcon made a lay-up in the final seconds to bring the game within one — and he drew the foul. He missed the free-throw but magically, or miraculously, rebounded his own shot and tipped it in to give GHS the 52-51 victory with .3 remaining on the clock.
When the ball slid through the white net, it sent out shockwaves strong enough to ripple through Danny Lefebvre’s three-dimensional goatee. The crowd was sent into a frenzy of excitement.
There’s really no better analogy than one step back, two steps forward that exemplifies Alarcon missing that one-point free-throw then rebounding it for two.
In the four seasons I’ve covered GHS basketball, there hasn’t been a more exciting game.
These moments don’t exist often, but when they do, you keep your eyes open — and for a sports writer/photographer, you keep taking photos.
Challenging moments like the one preceding winning the game in the final second is where character is built. Even though GHS was trailing in the final minutes, they kept getting back up.
I’ll submit to the code of the Cowboys and say it was a team effort, and that a variety of players contributed to the win — a victory does require a team effort; Tom Brady didn’t win the Super Bowl by himself any more than Eddie Vedder produced Pearl Jam’s album “Ten” solo.
Despite these — real — facts, it’s hard not to highlight Alarcon’s play in the final minute of the game. When the game is on the line everyone needs a hero, and in that moment, Alarcon’s four points in the final seconds gave GHS a much-needed one-point victory over Moffat.
Viktor Frankl said it best: “Man is self-determining.”
This is the beauty of competition — it is objective and unbiased. No amount of talking or manipulation can win a game. The end result is based solely on your athletic performance.
Outside the world of sports, the game is played much differently; it’s a world where facts are subjective and susceptible to twisting and bending. But within the world of sports, no amount of tongue-twisting facts can alter the score.
Regardless, I still choose to live my life as objectively — as within the world of sports — as possible.
I can’t write a story, take a photo, or make a video that necessarily “wins” — in the world of journalism it’s more subjective than that. Though, one question and one question only rings true across the spectrum — what is the effect of your work?
I try to ride the wave where it takes me as much as possible, though under this one rule. In whatever I’m creating, I ask myself one question: Will this have a positive effect? If the answer is yes, then that is a win.
Much can be learned from sports — like being objective and living within facts, not around them or in alternative versions of them.
While the moon still hid behind those clouds as we traversed the final hole of front-nine this past Friday, I was still tragically optimistic that I’d find those grooves for a nice, smooth ski. And I’ll admit, I did fall along the way, multiple times. But like the Cowboys, I kept getting back up.
That’s a fact.
(Bobby Reyes can be reached at 970.641.1414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)