Any good sports journalist knows that cheering in the press box is strongly discouraged.
That's because once you start cheering for one team -- or athlete -- over another, the unbiased nature of reporting on what happened could be compromised.
However, that doesn't mean journalists don't have emotions.
There are certain athletes you become attached to while watching them in action and through interactions with them. Certain people strike you in a positive way.
While you might not cheer for them while they're playing, you hope that they succeed in the long run.
One athlete who had this sort of positive effect on me was Garret Siler.
Though Siler attended Richmond Academy, many people in Columbia County are familiar with the basketball player's story.
He came to Augusta State University as an extremely raw, out-of-shape center.
When he graduated, he did so as one of the best players in school history. With coach Dip Metress' help, Siler transformed into a dominant inside force who still holds the NCAA record for career field-goal percentage.
Siler was not drafted by an NBA team after finishing his Jaguars career in 2009. So he decided to sign with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association.
After a strong season there, he went to camp with the NBA's Phoenix Suns. And when rosters were finalized Monday, Siler's 24th birthday, he had officially made the squad.
I covered countless Augusta State basketball games while serving as sports editor for the school newspaper there. That meant countless interviews with Siler, who was emerging as a star at the time.
Win or lose, on every occasion, he was undoubtedly one of the nicest athletes with whom I've crossed paths.
His achievement of making the NBA had a lot to do with how much hard work he put in. In addition, his positive attitude and affable nature are the types of factors that can't hurt one's cause.
They can be the deciding factor in getting that one opportunity.
Siler has a story with which young athletes should familiarize themselves. If he writes a book someday, it should be required reading for any young athlete.
Not everybody can be 6-foot-11, 300 pounds and extremely talented. But there's an opportunity for every athlete to work hard every day and to be just as polite and considerate as Siler.
These are the qualities that people notice. You never know, they could be the deciding factor in landing that perfect job.
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