Opinion | Expectations for a new sports season

With December underway, so too is another winter sports season. It’s time to see whether our winter athletes—the basketball players, wrestlers and gymnasts—can match the amazing accomplishments of the fall, which included state performances by the Mount Si football team, volleyball team, cross country, and the possibility of a state appearance by a local golfer.

Fall sports are grand, but I love winter sports—perhaps selfishly, because I’m not getting rained on and windblown. There’s something about the thrill of standing only a few feet away the action, and being right up in the thick of it.

Winter high school sports, held in gyms, allow the reporter to do that. You’re face to to face with the game, and you can see the looks of triumph, determination, and sometimes tragedy, in these young athletes’ eyes.

When I came to this newspaper, six years ago, sports weren’t part of my brief. But situations and faces change, challenges come and go, and you rise to the occasion. The way it’s done today is different, but expectations still remain.

So, for the parents and coaches out there who wonder why we do things a certain way, I’ll do my best to share how and why we cover athletics the way we do.

First, I believe that every player has a role, and as such, deserves some mention. It may seem like only the stars get the ink. But every sport deserves to get coverage equally, and every athlete worthy of note should get that recognition, even if doesn’t always work out that way. Tennis and golf are just as important to their players and parents as football and baseball are to theirs.

With only so much ink and time to go around, I’ve tried to go for that balance. I keep a folder with every sports page we do all season.  On the two or three occasions when a parent or partisan would call, demanding to know why their favorite sport wasn’t getting enough ink, back to the file I’d go, to see whether coverage was indeed lopsided.

We had one fan insist that Mount Si football deserved more ink in the early season. Maybe that was true then, but the football team went pretty much the full distance this year. They got, deservedly, far more coverage than almost any other sport in November, if only because they outlasted everybody.

Another thing about winter sports: There are only seven of them in the entire Valley, as opposed to a dozen or so in the spring and fall seasons. That means we can put more attention on all of them, get to know the players and their stories better. And more than just the big stars get their faces in print.

I enjoy covering sports, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m an imperfect instrument. I don’t understand some intricacies of all the events. I can’t go to every game. But what I can promise is that I’ll strive for a balanced approach, in which every sport and, hopefully, every player is given due attention. Because in sports, as in life, we all have some role to play, some contribution to make. We all have a story.

Send us your sports results

To the coaches and parents who keep us supplied with scores and photos, week in and week out (and Snoqualmie photog Curt Carlson, in particular): Thank you. For doing what you do—honing and growing our young athletes, and for bringing the action of these young people to light, we’re appreciative.

To send in your team scores and photos, simply e-mail them to editor@valleyrecord.com.


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