Sports news about players, not outcome

  • By Jim Hills Enterprise publisher
  • Thursday, February 28, 2008 10:53am

The Enterprise devotes the resources it does to local sports, primarily high school sports, not because we’re a bunch of sports nuts particularly enamored with wins and losses.

In fact, while sports editor David Pan and assistant sports editor Tony Dondero know their X’s and O’s and much, much more about the sports and teams they write about, we really don’t look at their five pages of coverage every week as sports news at all.

It’s local news.

The Mariners, the Seahawks, even the Silvertips, now that’s sports news and not because it’s about games being played at the professional level. Those teams may become local for sports fans, but the players, even those that manage to develop fervent and emotional followings, might be gone tomorrow, traded away for youth or speed or dollars.

In The Enterprise, local sports stories are in the papers because they are about local people. The guard who drains a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win against the cross-town rival lives just down the street. You may know her parents or hire her as a babysitter.

And why write that football story when there were plenty in last week’s paper, too? Well, the sun is pretty predictable, too, but every time it rises there’s a new day ahead.

For sports stories in The Enterprise, which team wins and which team loses is important, but how that came about and, more importantly, who had a hand in that outcome is the point. The games may be played by the same rules and start at the same times, but the people are different, every time.

This is especially true for high school sports. These are young people, growing into their bodies, their knowledge and their skills. Outcomes are less about matching up individual tendencies, carefully honed by a lifetime of practice, as they are about seeing a young person blossom, taking the next step up and seeing a whole new horizon.

Right now, David, Tony, photographer Chris Goodenow and a number of freelance journalists are neck deep in basketball playoffs, literally traveling the state to be there when the human story unfolds in the confines of sport. In another week or two, it will be on to baseball, track, girls tennis and more.

The spring-sports switch also means switching gears for the writers, tapping into their knowledge about the nuances of the games. It also means a whole new set stories about local people doing extraordinary things, making more local news.

Jim Hills is publisher of The Enterprise Newspapers.

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