In February 2004, the Everett Silvertips and I were in the midst of our inaugural seasons.
I was hired by the Daily Herald the previous September to cover Everett’s brand new WHL hockey team. It was my first newspaper job strictly as a reporter. I was the kid who dug the sports section out of the newspaper each morning to pour over the previous day’s results. So becoming a full-time sports writer, even though I never considered the profession until I was in college, felt like the culmination of a lifetime of fate pushing me in this direction.
Little did I know that joining the Daily Herald at that moment would give me a front-row seat on a magic carpet ride, as I chronicled the exploits of a team full of castoffs as the expansion Silvertips charged all the way to the WHL championship series that May.
But on this February day I was just milling around practice, racking my brain to come up with a story for the next day’s paper, when I heard the players shouting, “Needs more cowbell!” Turns out on a recent road trip the team had watched a DVD featuring comedian Will Ferrell’s Saturday Night Live sketch in which he’s repeatedly prompted to provide “More Cowbell!” while recording a rock song.
The players became so enamored with the line that it became something of a team motto.
So I wrote about it, thinking it was merely an amusing anecdote that would quickly be forgotten. How wrong I was. At the next night’s game maybe 1,000 fans showed up with cowbells. Local radio personality Jeff “The Fish” Aaron grabbed that ball and ran with it. And to this day bringing a cowbell to Silvertips home games is a sign of one’s true fandom.
As a newspaper writer it’s strange to say this, but sometimes I forget people read what I write. My effort goes into gathering information and writing the story, so once it’s filed it’s out-of-sight, out-of-mind. That night at what was then known as the Everett Events Center, while I was cowering at the press table trying to make myself as small and unnoticeable as possible, I was reminded that for everyone else the effort with my stories goes into the reading.
And people make that effort because they care.
People care about what’s happening in their local communities. People care about how their elected leaders are spending their tax dollars. People care about finding the best nearby restaurants for take-out. And people care about how their local high school sports teams are faring. These are the areas where local journalism shines, and these are the kinds of things we at the Daily Herald strive to bring to the community.
So if these things matter to you, please consider supporting the Daily Herald. Help us ensure that when the community gets swept up in the next sports sensation, it receives its due recognition.
Nick’s sports coverage for The Herald was recently recognized with awards for journalistic excellence. Support him and the newsroom with a subscription or donation.