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Snapping into place

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(Philip Marruffo/pmarruffo@saukvalley.com)
Today is the first day that high school teams in Illinois can officially begin practice. Sauk Valley Media will begin running football team previews in Friday's section.

If the Sauk Valley Media sports department were a professional sports team, the tweets, Facebook updates and reporter notebooks covering our preseason camp would be filled with personal-leave tidbits and injury updates.

Red alert. The whistle blows this morning whether we are ready (healthy) or not.

Fall practices begin at various times and locations around the Sauk Valley today.

What remains of our staff will be scurrying to cover it. We'll be there the next day, and the day after that, as well.

So what if Assistant Sports Editor Christopher Heimerman is happily changing diapers for his new twins and tending to a healing wife instead of logging countless hours in his cubicle.

And what about that part-timer we brought in. You know, Patrick Petrosky, the kid that used to play basketball and golf at Sterling High School.

Well, he's seeing double after being hit in the head with a golf ball last week. He's out for this week, and probably day-to-day after that.

Two down, and if we have any more births or injuries, the stories on our staff will turn in to Hub Arkush-like columns on SVM sports staff depth issues. I might have to venture into the free-agent market (that's what I'll call begging for help from the news-side staff) for assistance.

I joked with my wife on Monday night that I was going to make the rest of the staff wear helmets until after Aug. 30. That's the night of the first football games, meaning our 56-page football preview will be finished and dispersed to our many readers.

While the work doesn't stop there, the preview section is the 1,000-pound gorilla weighing on our shoulders the next 10 days.

That's enough about us.

Today, after all, is about the kids. Since June, the prep sports calendar has been empty.

That doesn't mean that the athletes have been dormant. They've been running. They've been lifting. They've been eating right (that is, if they took our summer sports nutrition series to heart).

All of it they've done in hopes of reaching the ultimate goal – a state championship.

Last fall was the first time in 4 years that we didn't have team hoisting a trophy in football.

It's too early to tell if a new streak of titles could start this year, with the state championship games coming to Huskie Stadium in DeKalb for the first time.

I think we'll have a team there, but I'll save that opinion for another column.

But all that is far off.

Today is the first step. It's the day where speculation starts to become reality.

It's the day where plans become action.

It's the day where dreams begin to be drenched in sweat and masked in sore muscles.

With what remains of our hobbled staff, we'll bring as many of the sights and sounds as possible to the pages of our editions.

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