Print News Editor Delia Adamson attempts to enter the Stegeman Coliseum, but is unable to. Adamson recounts her struggles of trying to cover a basketball game. Photo by Kiki Griffin.
By DELIA ADAMSON – Print News Editor
News Editor Delia Adamson recounts her experience in attending the Georgia Basketball State Championship game on March 8.
So, I’ve been on the ODYSSEY staff for three years and I’ve written news stories and handled business operations, but I’ve never really covered sports. So I decided to volunteer to cover a basketball game — the state championship basketball game, that is, and my school team wasn’t even playing.
It was our rival school Cedar Shoals High School, pitted against the “we-win-every-sport” Buford High School. Every student in the entire state of Georgia knows of Buford. To sum it up, they’re rich, obnoxious and win at every sport you can think of.
Therefore, my thought when I heard our little rival school was to play this gigantic city school in the state championship was, “Well, they tried.”
Before I dive into how great of a game I witnessed, just know that I know nothing about basketball or covering sports in general. I am a cheerleader and the news editor, but not an ESPN sports reporter.
So, my first order of business was to contact the Georgia High School Association and make sure that my ODYSSEY press credentials would work to get me and my coverage team — a live tweeter and videographer — on the floor.
As a journalism student hoping to cover this game for my community, I expected to be greeted with a sense of understanding and helpfulness. Instead, a man with a strong Southern accent put me in a blender with a bunch of procedural terms and guidelines and then smashed the purée button.
Long story short, I did not have access as a reporter and my team was not allowed on the floor to shoot.
After that long phone call, which consisted of me trying to find any loophole I could to get in, I was lit on fire by the sheer fact that I couldn’t. Frustrated, I kept trying to think of what I could do.
I was faced with a decision. Do I still cover the game? Or do I boycott?
I covered the game.
I got my team, which consisted of me and broadcast staffer Kiki Griffin, and we walked into the Stegeman Coliseum planning to watch Cedar Shoals get creamed by this team.
However, this game was different.
The entire stadium was on fire — cheering, chanting and stomping, igniting the team’s tangible desire to win. It was a segregated sea of green and white Buford fans twirling shirts over their heads and yelling and blue and orange Cedar fans stomping and clapping.
There were students there from high schools like Athens Academy, Prince Avenue Christian School, North Oconee High School, Clarke Central High School and Oconee High School. Everyone had flocked to see the underdogs take on the top dogs.
The game started and ended in a very fast-paced manner. I don’t think it lasted over an hour. Every time Buford scored a basket, so did Cedar.
In fact, Cedar was in the lead by the end of the first quarter. I have been to plenty of basketball games in my life, but never had I witnessed one such as this.
It began to dawn on me that Cedar might win the game. They made it this far, what’s to keep them from losing?
That night, I was a Jaguar fan.
It was a toss-up until the fourth quarter, when Buford ultimately got the best of the Cedar players. The final score was 75-61 with Buford taking home its 11th state championship trophy.
I couldn’t believe it, but at the same time, I could.
Buford was expected to win, but no one really expected for Cedar to play as well as they did, and I don’t think the Buford players did either.
After the game, I interviewed some Cedar players. All of them were very grateful and happy to have gotten the chance to play at the state championship. They felt like they left it all on the court that night and I couldn’t have agreed more.
As the first sporting event that I ever fought to cover, I can safely say that it was worth it. To see the smiles on the players’ faces and to see the excitement in the crowd showed me that what I was doing as a journalist was important.
And I would gladly do it again.