Majority, of what I thought I knew about sports journalism in America has been flipped upside down. Here in Ghana, football is a way of life.Hearts of Oak is the local Accra Football team. I attended a game last weekend, my first ever in Africa and the game ended in a draw.
As I was leaving the stadium I heard upset fans complain about how they feel they had wasted their money on an action-less game.That night I went home and thought about when American fans get upset or feel they have wasted their money.
I noticed at work (Joy) they do a lot of analysis commentary, which is not widely popular in America.Digging further, I asked if fans really knew anything about the players on the field. My main emphasis in sports journalism being human-interest stories, so naturally, I felt inclined to connect fans with players.
Before I came to this realization, I thought I was struggling finding sports stories because I was not familiar with the teams. But I have concluded the struggle came from Ghana’s lack of human-interest stories in sports.
In Ghana, the politics and sports are broadcasted. Meanwhile, in America, some like to deny the ties between the two. While I have been here I have observed the amount of politics broadcasted the violence and corruption in the sports realm. And authorities scrambling to find a solution.
Proposals like bringing the military to major games, another means of income to support leagues and facilities, new government but all these solutions seem so large.
Yes, the problems within sports all over the world need to be addressed. But I think people; especially journalists are not being as proactive as they should be.Maybe we can start seeing change sooner rather than later by starting to create small solutions, to push for a larger change.
Connecting the fans of Ghana, to their local players. I believe that the more a person knows and understands about someone and their personal life, like family, friends, upbringing etc. They are less likely to want to harm them.
I am not naïve enough to think this would solve all of our problems or expel violence from sporting events as a whole but if a team loses to another team and the fans understood the work ethic of the players they are facing, if they were informed that maybe the other team puts in more effort into the game than the other, maybe we could build a bridge of respect and be able to stay away from being a ‘sore loser,’ as we would say in America.
Fans everywhere can feel bitter when they lose, but there is no excuse for someone to inflict harm on another.
For example, there is a wide respect for Kobe; fans would go watch Kobe play, even if they knew he was going to lose the game because they feel him on not only the sports level but also a personal level. I highly doubt that the local football players here in Ghana will become a national icon like Kobe.
But, I have faith that if journalists told the stories of players more, gave players a platform to voice their opinions and thoughts on violence and losing, fans would be able to identify with those feelings and ideas and would be less likely to want to retaliate.
All in all, this is a game. These are humans who live, just like any other person. Politics, sports and the people of Ghana are all intergraded and a reflection of how Ghana is as a whole on an international level. Sports are an avenue to project its ideas and people internationally.
This is why the Olympics is so important, we send our best athletes to represent our country. We feel that they are an extension of ourselves in a sense, but how can we do that without knowing our athletes?
I could talk extensively on this, but the bottom line, Ghanaians, and journalists should be telling the stories of the athletes, as well as analysis. They are the ones who put the work in and deserve the credit.
Honestly, I find analysis boring and the stories of why the game stats were amazing or why the stats were poor seem far more interesting to me.
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