So, there’s this vast world I haven’t taken full advantage of as a journalist. It goes by the name of Internet. You might call it the Web or the Net. I like to call it the Interwebs.
Today, I’m conceding and calling it a solution that’s been sitting right in front of my face.
You see, there’s only so much space in the newspaper and, as time goes by, it pains me to say that ink-stained real estate could get even more cramped and precious.
But every once in a while an event comes along like Monday’s Class A Genoa-Kingston Sectional that ends up driving me batty. I rose early (for us nocturnal sports guys) Tuesday morning, lamenting having had to cram the recap of an extraordinary day, chock full of emotion, into an 18-inch newshole.
So many storylines, moments and quotes get left on the cutting-room floor. For instance, I would’ve loved to have shared more details about how Annie Sandrock lived up to her name with several crafty saves out of the traps at The Oak Club of Genoa.
If only I could’ve waxed about how tantalizingly close Erie’s Skylar Neely-Houzenga and Rock Falls’ Jessica Stickel were to making the cut, the former showcasing her up-and-down prowess and burying several bona fide knee-knocking putts. The latter was just flat-out steady, all phases of her game humming along.
Wouldn't you have loved to have read about the first postseason-eligible Eastland team's sectional experience, Alex Moutrey even beating the cut and making the big dance? Well, you couldn't. Not enough room in the paper.
But the most powerful omission was the scene in the clubhouse, where Stephanie Emery couldn’t stop the waterworks from flowing as she tried desperately to put into words what making state meant to her.
“Oh, I can’t … it’d be priceless,” she managed to get out before the tears really started to flow.
We sports meatheads are working hard to get with the times and convey moments like those via Twitter (@CHeimerman_SVM … seemed like a good time for a shamelss self-promotion), but there’s got to be another way to get more to you in the vein of traditional storytelling.
Not to mention that, believe it or not, electronic devices often fail us. Crazy, right? I turned my phone off multiple times yesterday to conserve my dying smartphone’s energy, costing me opportunities to provide the blow-by-blow and the sort of emotional reactions that are reserved for high school sports.
Not sure why it drained particularly fast yesterday, but rest assured that I’ll now carry a charger with me, and a car charger just went on the Christmas list. But I digress.
That traditional storytelling can stretch its legs on the Interwebs. So I've started a blog called "Extra! Extra!" It's there that the anecdotes, reactions and observations that didn't make the cut can live a happy life. Oh, and it will have an editorial element, too, allowing us to be ourselves and analyze events. I do hope you'll put that comments section to use. Imagine the fun we can have.
This idea will, undoubtedly, unlock a whole new realm of extra work. I’m totally down with that. Wouldn’t have it any other way, actually, for obvious reasons. I love what I do, and I left the office Monday night feeling unfulfilled, like I’d let those kids and their families and friends down because of a newshole’s restriction.
And then there’s the logistic angle. I drove 3 hours round trip and spent about 6 hours getting windburnt, only to be thwarted by a tight section. If I’m going to work a 13-hour shift that leaves me giggly with exhaustion, it absolutely has to end with me feeling like I did everything I could to tell a story.
These incredible youngsters are only going to be in high school once. Who knows what the future holds for the Prophetstown girls golf team, for instance? I’d like to believe we’ll get another chance to share the unbridled emotion of what unfolded yesterday with the next group of promising Prophets.
But stories are like snowflakes. No two are the same, because the characters are unique. And the reason we love sports is because you just don’t know for certain what’s going to happen. To some degree, every event is as unique and as much a living, breathing creature as the athletes taking part.
Shoot. Gotta wrap this up. I've run out of space.
Whenever you see those words and exclamation points within a story, that means there's a corresponding blog post at saukvalley.com/blogs/extra-extra. In fact, the first post has already been posted.