Thursday, May 31, 2007

Decisions, decisions

Hey gang:
One of the most asked questions I get as sports editor is how we go about deciding our sportspeople of the week.
I wish I could give you this complex formula for the way we go about deciding our weekly winners, but the bottom line is my staff going through the papers, seeing who we feel deserves the award, and going from there.
Is it an exact science?
Far from it.
Do qualified people get the short end of the stick (for lack of a better team)?
So here are some things to keep in mind if you think your son or your daughter is worthy of consideration.
1) We do accept nominations from parents or relatives, but to be quite honest, I give a little more weight to nominations coming from a coach or a school official. No offense folks, but I would tend to think a parent's judgment might be a little clouded when it comes to his or her child.
2) For our purposes here at the Freeman, we consider only high school age kids and younger. That’s a policy that was established years ago to try to give more consideration to our youth.
3) When nominating someone, please remain positive about others who might be considered. There have been too many instances where a parent or coach has attacked another sportsperson candidate in order to pump on their own.
So keep things positive and remember, just because you have nominated someone, it doesn’t necessarily mean that boy or girl is a lock for the award.
But keep the nominations coming, and until next time, take care and God bless.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tough season

Hey folks:
Well after spending a few days of R&R, watching my nephew play a baseball tournament in Allentown, Pa., I'm back and ready to blog.
I have to admit my nephew's team did not fare well down in Allentown, but they didn't come close to doing as poorly as my beloved Yankees since the Bombers took 2 of 3 from the Red Sox a week ago.
I don't know about the rest of you, but after taking last week's series at the Stadium, I truly thought the Yanks were ready to turn that corner.
Boy, was I wrong.
I'm a diehard fan -- proud to admit it -- but even I have all but given up hope on this team catching Boston for the East title. And my hopes of the Yanks getting in the chase for the wild-card spot are fading as well.
It's not as though the Yankees don't have the talent to win and win often, but when you see the way they're losing games these days ... I'm very much a karma guy, and the karma is simply not there.
On my nephew's baseball team, at least half -- if not more -- of the players and their families root for the Mets. But, to a person, these fans seemed to take more delight in the perils of the Yankees compared to the cherishing the wonderful season their team is having.
Oh, well.
No doubt, this season has become a prayer answered for all those who loathe the Yanks. I guess 10 years of great karma has turned on my team.
I can only hope it does not cost Joe Torre or Brian Cashman their jobs, because I believe the two are as responsible for the great 10 years the Yanks have had as many people are blaming them for the Bombers' struggles this year.
Keep the faith Yankee fans, it couldn't get any worse ... could it?
Take care and God bless.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Hello from the road

Hey gang,
Greetings from Allentown, Pa.
I got the opportunity to watch my nephew play baseball today (Saturday), and while the results were not pretty, I go back to that old saying that a bad day of baseball is better than a good day of work anytime.
Anyway, one of the most asked questions to myself and the rest of my guys in the sports department is why we can't cover a specific game or event.
I'd love to be able to give a million reasons why, but in the end I keep coming back to one.
And that one is it's the price we pay for being a small sports department that covers a wide range of sports that centers around an even wider range of local high school and college teams. At the Freeman, our department consists of myself, our assistant sports editor (Dave Hines), two full-time reporters (Don Treat and Mike Stribl) and one part-timer (Eric Houghtaling).
I know our office is in Kingston, but as you know we are much more than a newspaper that simply covers Kingston sports. And there are those day -- boy are there those days -- when just keeping our proverbial heads above water seems like an impossible task.
A story I've told several times to friends and family concerned an area baseball coach who was very disappointed in our coverage (or lack thereof in his opinion) that we gave his team. Specifically, why we could not cover his team's games. He didn't understand or want to understand my reasoning until one day he came to our office to drop off his results and saw just how busy things can get around the Freeman sports department on a typical high school day.
I remember him apolozing to me and I think he got a greater appreciation of what we do.
I tell you all this not as a way to gripe to you guys, or make you feel sorry for us, but to give a kind of perspective of what we face as a sports staff on a daily basis.
I also wanted to use this space to acknowledge my staff and the the hard work it does on a daily basis. I know it's not easy, but Dave, Don, Mike and Eric are true professionals and it's an honor to work with them. Well, most of the time (just kidding!)
So, until next time, wish my newphew's baseball team luck and as always, take care and God bless.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Dream Weaver

Hey folks:
One of the best parts of my job, if not the best, is coming in contact with great people.
Kelly Weaver is one of those people.
Kelly is a Kingston High graduate and former state tennis champion. I first got to know her and her family when I interviewed her -- back in 1990 I believe -- as this little chubby-cheeked girl just out of elementary school getting ready to play varsity tennis as a seventh grader for Kingston.
Since that time, I have felt very connected to Kelly because she was my first feature interview and I was the first reporter to do a story on her. Over the years, I've interviewed hundreds of people and Kelly has probably had equally as many stories done on her as she enjoyed a successful tennis career at both Kingston and the University of Virginia.
I bring Kelly's name up because she recently completed her first year as assistant athletic director/head tennis coach at Meredith College down in North Carolina. I spoke to her this morning (Friday) for a future story and I can honestly say interviewing her always puts a smile on my face.
Although she is only a couple of years away from reaching that magical age of 30, I'll always think of her as that little girl who called me sir, even though I was not even 21 when I first interviewed her.
If I had to make a list of all the truly great people I've come in contact with over the many years of doing this, Kelly would surely be at the top of that list.
I spoke in a recent post about having a rough night at the office and nothing going right. Well, I just wanted to publicly thank Kelly for the interview and showing me just why I truly love what I do.
To everyone, have a great Memorial Day, take care and God bless.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rough night

Well folks,
Last night was just one of those night I would just as soon forget.
You know those times in your own jobs, when nothing goes the way you planned. That was my situation last night (Wednesday).
Computer problems, creative problems barely describe my struggles in trying to get out today's (Thursday) sports section. A wise man here at the Freeman says, "If it were raining soup, I'd be caught with a fork." Well, not only was I caught holding the fork, that fork was missing all of its prongs.
Athletes, all the time, talk about being in the zone or in a slump. God, it felt like I took an 0-for last night. About the only bright spot was a big Yankee win and the Rocket taking his next step on his road to the Bronx.
As the head of my department I place more pressure on myself to be perfect than I do to my guys who work for me. We are a small staff that covers a lot of area, but I know a lot is expected of us by you the public.
That's the way it should be.
But sometimes you just have one of those days where execution doesn't come close to expectations as was the case last night.
I know in my initial post I spoke about keeping things light-hearted in this space. But I just had to vent because that's what I do when I get disappointed in myself.
So I am looking forward to the next few days off and getting a chance to see one of my nephews play baseball. Nothing puts a smile on my face like watching my nephews play ball. I hope to get a chance to blog from the road. If not, have a safe Memorial Day weekend.
So, until next time, as always take care and God bless.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Here we go!

Well folks.
Here I am -- dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming. Not really!
But as I embark on this thing called blogging, understand I'm the person who doesn't even own a home computer. I figure after spending 10-12 hours daily on a computer here at work, the last thing I want to do when I get home is get on a computer.
I have an old-style Web TV unit that allows me to get on the internet when needed and e-mail friends. That's enough for me.
That said, I hope to use this space to kind of give you all my look into the world of sports -- locally and nationally -- as well as a sneak peek at the inner-workings of my sports department at the Freeman and maybe even a bit of an understanding of what goes in this unusual brain of mine.
This is a great time of year for me. Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's that the local sports scene is hitting its zenith for the season as we dive into local playoffs. One thing I know it's not, it's not following the Yankees.
I don't think there could be a worse time for those of us who follow the Yankees to be fans. But that's a subject I'll get into a later time.
Until next time, take care and God bless.