I was talking with a friend last night about some freelancing opportunities for his publication. He asked me if I would be opposed to covering high school sports.
It’s a fair question, given the time and travel demands, late (often weekend) nights, and typically lower remuneration. But no, I am not opposed to covering high school sports.
High school sports produce the best, and most plentiful, stories. High school sports give you the best access to the most players. Yes, you have to keep your own stats, and yes, you have to deal with sometimes-disgruntled people who have much greater access to you, but that’s part and parcel of it.
If you can make a 10:20 deadline, complete with quotes and box score, off a 7 p.m. Friday night football kick while keeping your own running stats, you can do anything.
In our neck of the woods, high school basketball is wrapping up (with a local school having won a state title for the first time since 1990) and baseball and softball are getting into full swing. This, along with crisp autumn nights as the sun sets between goal posts, is my favorite time of the prep sports year.
Daffodils and lineup cards mean spring is almost here. My daddy coached and my stepdaughter plays softball, and watching teenage boys master breaking balls (acceptable once the growth plates in their throwing arms have fused) and turn double plays is a thing of beauty.
Last night, my husband sent me a video of my stepdaughter dropping down a perfect bunt. She handled the high pitch well, and, I’m told, busted it down the first-base line.
I’m proud of you, Maddie. Before your junior season is over, I hope to be in the stands once more in person, screaming loud enough to embarrass you.
The best (and most nerve-wracking) thing of all about high school sports, as I discovered five seasons ago, is watching someone you love play.