Sideline reporters often have little to offer the coach, the athlete, or even the viewer. Their questions are often obvious, ill timed, or just plain dumb. With the Olympics happening only every 4 years, one might think that we would see an exception to the rule. One might be wrong.
Andrea Kramer, the gal entrusted with interviewing the successful or struggling swimmers just minutes after their races, has completely bombed. Now I realize that she is a two time Emmy Award winning broadcaster. But in my opinion, she seems to have miserably failed to “read” the interviewee. She has routinely asked the losers ridiculous questions (and even the winners-“which Michael Phelps will show up?”), so much so that when she thanks them for the interview, several have just walked away quietly and unresponsive with a gracious perturbation. The athletes don’t like it. The viewer doesn’t like it. So does NBC?
If we can learn anything from Andrea Kramer, it is this: Bad questions + Bad timing=people who don’t want to talk with you.
Now in Kramer’s defense, she has no option in regards to timing. Time is of the essence as the events just keep coming. But for most of us, as parents, pastors, and just plain people, we have time to let people cool down. Even good questions asked at the wrong time can lead to not so good answers and attitudes. Yet good timing probably even covers over not-so-good questions. Something for me to think through when teaching my passionate 4 year old soon-to-be Tee-baller, “There is no crying in baseball” (unless you get hurt of course).
Patience may be the difference in getting a good interview or just making folks walk away angry without listening to you.