Naylor: Sports fans, will you meet us halfway?
I’ll be honest. I’ve covered lots of different topics in my journalism career, but there is one that I have mostly avoided up until now: high school sports. But more specifically, just the high school part. Call it chronic senioritis, if you will.
But this job sometimes forces you into uncomfortable scenarios, and I’ve had to step up to write some gamers recently. I’ve learned a lot along the way.
I’ve felt the excitement of the games, I’ve seen the talent and passion of our valley’s athletes, and, most importantly, I want to continue supporting their ambitions in the best way we can. Our small paper has a far, mighty reach. Covering our valley’s athletes undoubtedly adds to their exposure.
As you may know, our longtime sports editor, Chis Freud, announced his departure from the Vail Daily last week. Chris has been covering sports in our valley for more than two decades, and his knowledge, voice and wit have been a staple of our sports coverage for more than half of the Vail Daily’s existence. He will be dearly missed, and we wish our friend well in his next chapter of life, which his last column hints will be somewhere warm, playing golf.
While we seek to fill another position, we acknowledge that filling Chris’ shoes will be tough, if not impossible. Chris was deeply ingrained in our community; many of the high school kids he wrote about in the paper grew up to join the many loyal readers across our valley, state and beyond. He knew not only the athletes and coaches but their families and their athletic histories. He also knew the nicknames, inside jokes and individual traits that set each player apart on and off the field. The only way someone could replace Chris Freud is by spending 24 years being Chris Freud.
Meanwhile, a lot has changed in the newspaper industry since Chris started writing sports for the Vail Daily in 1997. Back then, the sports department was a real department with three staffers. That’s where the “if not impossible” comes from. We may be shrinking, but we are grinding. Now, we have a void that may never be filled the way it was.
We have to address this situation realistically — and in that approach, we might find some opportunity, which is why I’m writing this column to you: the coaches, parents, principals, athletes and students. With your help, we might be able to do this better than we ever could.
We want your help covering your team: stories, photos, scores and quotes — any or all of these. If you can provide them, we can edit them. And if you’re looking for a team to cover, we can assign you one. Never in our paper’s history have we been able to give every single team and game the attention they each deserve. But if you already attend those games, and if you meet us halfway, we can change all of that.
Ever wanted your writing or photos to be published in the newspaper? Are there any aspiring journalists and photographers out there who want to start building a portfolio? We are offering you that chance. Some have already volunteered, and stories about their teams are getting printed. Will you join them and meet us halfway?
I’m not sure there will ever be a more appropriate time to tell you — the ball is in your court.
We’ll see you out there this season.