I hear comments, on occasion, from parents wondering why their son’s or daughter’s sports team wasn’t mentioned in the newspaper. And, after hearing it again recently, I thought it would be a good idea to clarify why an event might be missing from our pages.
We do our best to cover varsity sports at the high-school level. Between myself and sports writer Rhett Workman, we see many games and stay up to date on varsity Mount Si activities. Past that point, however, it’s difficult since there are only 120 hours in a standard work week and sleep is sometimes important. In my case, many will argue that yes, I need my beauty sleep.
Beyond covering varsity sports, we rely heavily on coaches to submit briefs to us in whatever fashion they can. We have a box in the office at Mount Si where coaches of JV and ‘C’ teams can drop their scores. We pick up the daily announcements at Mount Si that may include any sporting news.
At the middle-school level, we are totally dependent on the coaches to get things to us. Many briefs come in the form of e-mails or, on occasion, a coach will drop something by the office. We do not solicit briefs on games, but try to publish everything we get.
Hence comes the question, “Why not my kid?” Well, if you did not see it in the paper, chances are the coach did not submit it to us. We have been including middle-school sports in the newspaper since the inception of Snoqualmie Middle School back in the 1970s. Most newspapers would scoff at the idea of including middle-school sports, but I think we, as a community, need to celebrate any accomplishment a kid has made. If more people would recognize the good things kids do, then maybe the bad things wouldn’t be such a problem. But (yes, there is always a but) we need you, as parents, to ask the coaches to submit items to us. Don’t wait until the end of the season because honestly, we can’t promise there will be enough space. They should submit things to us on a weekly basis, prior to our 5 p.m. Thursday deadline. If they are getting a stipend from the school district, then it should be a requirement for them to submit briefs to the newspaper. If they aren’t, then maybe a parent can take on the task.
The interesting part is that I can write a scathing editorial about something a city council may have done and only get feedback from council members. But, miss one kid’s name in the newspaper because a coach didn’t send me a brief and I will get calls from the parents, possibly grandparents, an aunt, uncle, neighbor, etc. Frankly, it is more important to celebrate a child’s accomplishment then worry about the temper of an elected official.
We do limit the amount of space dedicated to sports to the three pages you typically see each week. Believe it or not, there are some people who don’t like sports. In those pages we cover the high school, middle schools and other sporting news so there are times we don’t have enough space to fit it all in.
You might say, well, just add pages. Advertising determines the number of pages we run each week. Ask yourself if you are supporting local businesses? Advertisers allow us to publish middle-school sports. Without those advertisers, there wouldn’t be any newspaper and subsequently, no celebration of your child’s accomplishments. OK, I am stepping down from my soapbox.
So tell the coach who is submitting news to the newspaper thanks for taking the time to do that, and ask the coach who is not, why not? That will go a long way toward providing better coverage of those very important accomplishments. I personally don’t mind getting beat up for an editorial, but to get beat up because a parent thinks the newspaper’s sports coverage is one-sided or that I am unethical because I don’t try to balance coverage for the two middle schools really is unfair, especially after sitting on a hardwood gym floor for three hours and being 42. (For those of you who may not know, guys over 40 rarely have a behind and subsequently, their legs fall asleep when sitting on a gym floor.)