Shortly after North Medford's varsity girls beat Eugene powerhouse Sheldon at home last week, a North Medford mom asked whether a Mail Tribune reporter was there to capture this thrilling moment.
I told her no, I didn’t see any of my staff there.
“That sucks,” she said.
Yeah, it does suck. North had lost in overtime to Sheldon during its first game of the season, so the win was particularly satisfying. But when you consider the Mail Tribune has a small sports staff that has to cover multiple sports — both boys and girls — on multiple teams from both public and private schools in multiple cities, it’s not surprising.
On the same night, one of our reporters covered the boys game between Cascade Christian and St. Mary’s, two rival teams with parents just as devoted to their schools who want to see their kids’ games in the paper, too. We like to attend games like this because we can cover two local teams at once, rather than writing about a visiting team few care about.
The rest of our staff that night was on the phone back at the office, talking to coaches, getting scores and writing up stories on no fewer than 15 games, plus compiling other box scores, pulling wire to fill pages and dealing with our layout team in Austin.
Considering that all of that has to be done in the space of a few precious hours on deadline, it’s a small miracle that the paper gets out on time every Friday.
We’d love to cover every parent’s kids when they make the buzzer-beating shot, or trounce their longtime rival against all odds, or set a new record for their school. Being parents ourselves, we know that swelling of pride when our kids do well. And that heartbreaking, silent-as-death ride home when they miss the shot that would’ve won the game.
I’m hoping that mom saw the nice write-up about the North vs. Sheldon game in the next day’s paper, and the feature on North standout Megan Fossen in Tuesday’s paper, and the coverage we gave the North vs. South game in Thursday’s paper, complete with photo gallery and video. The subsequent stories had nothing to do with the mom’s comment — I never passed it on to our sports guys.
They planned and wrote those stories based on their worth alone. North Medford girls were the center stage this week because their team did something we haven’t seen in eight years: beat South Medford. And Kris Henry’s column on Megan Fossen the day before provided insight as to why their star is rising.
To me, the coverage is indicative of the thought our sports staff puts in to which teams they’ll feature when and why.
NOTE ON COMMENTS: In my last column, I asked readers whether we should disable the ability to comment on stories online, having read so many nasty exchanges between anonymous posters that do nothing to further dialogue on issues. Thank you to the many people who weighed in with thoughtful responses. I’ll keep you posted on what we decide.
— Reach Editor Cathy Noah at 541-776-4464 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.