Maybe I'll paint myself half red and half gold...
Saturday I face perhaps the biggest challenge of my sports writing career. I, the proud 2003 Wabash College graduate, will be covering my first-ever Monon Bell game as a professional journalist.
The catch is, I work right here in Greencastle, home of the DePauw Tigers.
It's gonna be tough, kids.
All season, I have intently followed DePauw. I've been pleased with their seven wins and upset at their two losses.
I was unhappy to see an athlete as good as Jeremiah Marks have to miss three games of his senior campaign with an injury.
I've loved seeing the school records set by Marks, Spud Dick and the DePauw defense (seven interceptions vs. Centre).
I've had the chance to talk with Coach Matt Walker on more than one occasion. Like most of the coaches I've dealt with here in Putnam County, he is amiable and easy to deal with.
But this Saturday is a different ball game.
Here I am, staring at my ninth-consecutive Monon Bell Classic, and I'm not sure what I'm supposed to feel. I've been conditioned to hate the black and old gold for eight years. Now, I'll admit, I always thought hate was a strong word for it, but it was certainly a profound distaste.
But professionally, I have to be objective. If anything, my coverage should really favor DePauw.
I know I can do it, but I'm not saying it's going to be easy.
The bottom line is this -- if DePauw wins I can be happy, and if Wabash wins I can be happy.
If the Tigers are victorious, I will be happy for Coach Walker, the DePauw players (especially the seniors) and the entire DePauw community. I can also be happy for Jared Jernagan the journalist for getting to cover the winning team in such a great rivalry.
If the Little Giants win, I will be happy for the Wabash players, coaches and student body. I can also be happy for Jared Jernagan the Wabash graduate for seeing his alma mater retain its prized possession.
Most of all, I don't want offend anyone. I plan to spend the morning tailgating with my old buddies. (Albeit, with a few less adult beverages in my stomach.) Then I will likely spend the game prowling the DePauw sideline, taking copious pictures and notes.
Given the extremes of my two endeavors, I'm planning to do everything I can to stay neutral.
Look for me on the sidelines or in the press box Saturday. I'll be the only guy in Blackstock Stadium wearing a blue.
(Check out part two of this blog after the smoke has all cleared. I may need therapy before this is over.)