High school sports and how we cover their games
Ryan Summerlin August 5, 2014
Will Eagle Valley football make the playoffs? Can Battle Mountain soccer make it five league titles in a row? Who’s qualifying for state in golf? Do we have a team or teams heading to the Denver Coliseum in volleyball? Who’s going to be the surprise team?
Will Vail Christian’s Sug Ellsworth make a tackle?
It’s a new season for high school sports, so we’ve got plenty of exciting story lines, though Ellsworth probably makes a tackle or two. I’ll go out on a limb there.
With golfers teeing off the year on Thursday at Battlement Mesa — hit them straight, boys — it’s a good time to outline how the Vail Daily covers preps.
I’m a Giants fan
This is year No. 17 for me at the Vail Daily and No. 6 of me covering both the Hatfields and McCoys, i.e., the Devils and Huskies. Whether you wake up and scream, “Ain’t it great to be a Devil” or bleed black and Vegas gold, let’s really stop the “Freud likes this school better” or “Chris hates my school” thing. I have no dog or Devil in this fight. As for our 2A schools, Vail Christian and Vail Mountain, I root for the team in blue.
You might have noticed that I wear a lot of San Francisco Giants gear. The Giants are my team. Since 1977, when I was 5, I bleed orange and black. (Think I’m kidding? Pablo Sandoval just homered for Giants, and the whole newsroom knew about it instantly.)
I want our Saintly Devskies of the Gore Range to win. Winning teams make for happy readers who don’t tell me what I can do with myself. When we have rivalry games, I root for a close game. It’s that simple people.
My only agenda here is to see that Giants win. Short of that, the evil Los Angeles Dodgers must not win. Also, go 49ers.
Use the phone
With four high schools playing all over the place in different sports and only one of me, I can’t be everywhere. I draw up a budget — a fancy word for my coverage plan — a week in advance. The first priority is always a rivalry game, be that Battle Valley-Eagle Mountain or the 2A Vails or any combination of the four.
Next I try to figure out what will be the big games. If Battle Mountain is playing Terrible High School, while Eagle Valley is playing Glenwood in key game for in the Slope chase, I’m covering the latter.
Naturally, something unexpected will happen — a local team will register big unexpected win. It’s one of the things I enjoy about this. Weird and wonderful things happen in high school sports.
This is where coaches come in. Call in. Every varsity coach has my cell number. (New coaches will be hearing from me shortly.) If I’m not at your home game, it’s not personal. Everyone always plays at once. Call in the result. If you’re on the road, call in. (Please don’t wait until you’ve gotten back from Delta or Hotchkiss either.) If you’re lonely, coaches, give me a call and say, “Hi.”
When in doubt, call. Parents and athletes, please encourage your coaches to call me.
It’s my experience that 95 percent of the time when a reader is complaining about no story on his or her favorite team, the coach has not called in. I will do my best to rotate through all four schools and all the different sports, but use those exciting cell phones.
And, yes, parents, if you’re shutterbugs, we’ll take them — email@example.com.
Stories for the print edition of the Vail Daily need to be in by 9:30 p.m. Our printing press in Gypsum rolls out four dailies, well, daily, as well as a bunch of weeklies and other publications. The writing portion of process has to be done by deadline because the fecal matter hits the cooling device otherwise.
I will get in as much as I can in the print edition. I also use our website, www.vaildaily.com, for articles I can’t get in the next day’s paper. I will try to run a box, saying “Check the web for more coverage” in the print edition. Before you wonder, “What about my team,” please check out www.vaildaily.com. I will do my best to get those web articles in the print edition because I know that we have a lot of readers who do scrap books. I get it.
In addition to our website, I’m on Twitter (@cfreud) and will be tweeting out the scores of games I’m at and results from other places. I also tweet out links of all stories, so follow me.
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to a fun year, but I’ve got to get back to my Giants.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.