Thoughts on sports
While there are many sports played in a town, the heart of sports in almost any community are the high school programs that exist there. That fact is no different in Carbon County. High school sports programs are often the culmination of substantial organized sports activities for many who are involved. Students may be picking up a bat or putting on a sports uniform for the last time.
We often have people tell us we cater to high school sports and ignore other sports and sports programs that are going on. But that just isn't true; in fact what we find is that many other sport programs ignore that we exist until they win a championship and then they complain that we never gave them any coverage.
How do they ignore us, and why is the high school different? First of all the high school always provides us with schedules of all their sports well before the season starts. When they do play games or have matches there is a definite person to talk with after the game, win or lose, for interviews. When things happen in the athletic department at the high school we are usually the first to know about it.
Compare that to some (but not all) sports programs in the area. Seldom do they give us a schedule, and if we do pursue getting a written plan, it is often hard to put our hands on it. We have even had people from other sports organizations tell us they have no organized schedule.
We also seldom have a contact person for teams or organizations. The only way we know things are going on is because someone in our office happens to have a relative who is playing on a team or an irate parent calls up and asks us why we didn't cover a championship game. On top of that when we do find someone that can talk to us with authority on a matter, often they will not return our phone calls.
And sometimes when people do inform us of a sporting event, they approach us with the attitude that "the newspaper had better be there." Actually we get that a lot from someone who has a kid who is participating because they think we have been ignoring their sports team, when in actuality we knew nothing about their teams schedule, record or playoff structure. They blame us for not being present, but how do we know about something when no one tells us.
At present we have one part time sports reporter and sometimes our full time people pick up games or matches where they can. But we can't do anything without some help from organizations, leagues and if that fails, yes parents or loved ones of the participants.
A few years ago when I was the sports editor at the Sun Advocate, I tried to organize a meeting with league officials and those in the know about summer baseball so we could cover it adequately all summer long. While there are many leagues in the area, only one person showed up to the meeting, and that person promised to give us information throughout the season about their league.. But other than that first conversation, I never did see or hear from them again.
But this isn't just about kids sports. We have groups like some of the shooting clubs, the raceway and American Legion baseball that have good communications with us most of the time and we work with them on their events when we can.
The fact is we want to give non-high school sports a lot of coverage, but we can't do that if we don't know about when players compete, where they play and who we can contact with questions.