As I stood on the sidelines for some prep football action last Thursday and Friday, there was a smile on my face. Football was back.
Prep football has always been one of my favorite sports to cover. There’s just something about it. It’s only one game a week, but it’s fun to see how the kids handle a week of practice leading up to their only game of the week.
A lot goes through my mind while standing on the sidelines taking photos, keeping stats, and tweeting updates. The past two games I covered last week, there was something else on my mind as I constantly found myself looking at the program to figure out who was who.
There’s a lot of great parts to being a sports editor. It’s why I love my job. I love being able to tell the stories of the athletes and try to find that angle that goes beyond the box score. While covering those two football games last week, I realized another part of this job that I truly love.
This will be my fourth year of covering fall high school sports for the Herald Journal. What does that mean? It means that the athletes that were there when I started are either gone, or in their final season as seniors. There’s been so many great athletes that have come through the area the past four years. Some have been there for all four years; some I only had the chance to cover for one or two seasons.
It got me thinking about one of the most underrated parts of my job, which is seeing new kids step in at the varsity level and contribute. It’s really fun to see new kids that you don’t know as well or hear much about, step into bigger roles and become the leaders of the team.
I really realized how much I like that part of the job while covering the Mayer Lutheran football team last Friday. It’s no secret the Crusaders have had some impressive seasons over the past three years. A big reason for that was they had a solid group of talent that was there for all three years.
I loved covering those athletes and teams, but as I went into Mayer Lutheran’s season-opener against Bethlehem Academy, I was excited to see what these new kids could do.
The Crusaders lost a lot of talent from their team last year due to graduation. This year, it’s a bunch of sophomores stepping into those spots that are open.
I was very excited to get my first look at the Crusaders and see how they would handle their first Friday Night Lights. I was blown away. Those youngsters came out ready to play and looked like they were right at home on the field.
The same goes for other teams in the area in other sports. The Watertown-Mayer volleyball team is another example of a state tournament team the past two seasons that lost a lot of players who played two or more years. Now, there’s new faces stepping in there as well, and so far, the Royals haven’t missed a beat.
High school sports always have, and always will hold a special place in my heart. There’s just something so pure about it that can’t be found anywhere else. I enjoy watching the athletes work together for a common goal, and seeing how they deal with the success and failures that are sure to come.
Whether you are a senior this year that I’ve covered the last three years with one more to go, or a younger classmen getting your first taste of the varsity experience, I’m eager to share your stories.
You get four years of high school sports. Enjoy it. It flies by. Lucky for me, after four years fly by, they’ll be even more athletes following you with even more stories to tell. It’s something I truly love to do, and I’m so excited to cover and get to know more and more athletes in this area throughout the years to come.
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