I’M TAKING OVER the reins this week as the new sports editor of the Peninsula Daily News. It’s both a bit of a homecoming and an arrival to a new place and new adventure.
It’s a homecoming because I lived and worked in the beautiful San Juans for eight years, where I was a sports editor. I know back when I lived in the San Juans, we could certainly see Port Angeles — well, at night at least. I’m still trying to figure out if that’s San Juan Island I see here off toward the northeast.
Newspaper work by its nature tends to be nomadic, so I’ve become used to pulling up roots and packing up to a new home. (I doubt I will ever get used to the backache of moving the too much stuff I have managed to accumulate.)
But, I certainly plan to stick around for a while. I left this area in 2002, but never really did. Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco, I left mine in the northwestern corner of the Pacific Northwest.
I’ve very much missed the area for the past 14 years and it goes far deeper than missing Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday on the CBC.
The area has been extremely friendly to me so far, with several neighbors offering to help me move furniture, various people in town telling me about sports stories they’d like to see covered, etc.
Everyone except the guy at the pizza place who demanded that the Canada-Russia World Cup of Hockey game be changed. He was probably from Seattle.
Worn many hats
As a journalist, I’m a jack of all trades. I started off covering government, crime and environment (I have been close enough to the orcas to nearly touch them and still love them), and I’ve done night editing.
Night editing is a daily heart attack. It’s not for the faint of heart trying to decide at 12:30 a.m. if some goof you should have caught at 7 p.m. is a big enough deal to stop the presses and possibly push a dozen press workers into overtime.
I won’t miss that and I came to realize I had done that job — 10 years — longer than just about anyone else I’ve ever seen, perhaps longer than any human should ever do it.
I also drifted away from government reporting because I started to find sitting in planning commission meetings until 11 p.m. dry. When I saw the sports editor opportunity in Port Angeles, I jumped all over it. It was time to get back to sports, where I was happiest all those years ago in the San Juans.
I got into sports because I wanted to tell stories. I wanted to tell people stories. I wanted to explain to people who weren’t there the “moment” they missed. That was the best decision I ever made, getting into sports.
Sure, there’s stats and scores, but to me, sports is about the people and the moments. I honestly see sports coverage as the heart and soul of local newspapers.
While newspapers as a whole are struggling to compete against Internet sites and blogs, and an increasingly “entertain me now” culture, you won’t find those moments and stories about people on blogs or the TV news.
The dunk that fires up the crowd, the diving save, the juke that breaks a defender’s ankles. My moment? A diving catch over the left-field wall in the bottom of the ninth to rob a guy of a home run that would have won the game. I don’t remember any of my stats in that game, but I certainly remember the moment.
We all have them.
Even people like me who were never real sports stars (I had the curse of being “pretty good, but not great” in almost every sport.).
My first game to cover here was a girls’ soccer match between Sequim and Port Angeles. Years from now, I won’t remember the stats of that game, but I’ll always remember the look on the Sequim sophomore goalie Claire Henninger’s face after helping to win the game with a big save during a penalty kick shootout.
I’ll always remember the joy and perhaps a bit of disbelief on Peninsula College’s Cesar Gervacio’s face after scoring five goals in a game. You do your best as a sportswriter to bring those little moments to the readers.
It’ll take a while for me to get up to speed, learn all the players, both literally and figuratively. Our readers are lucky because sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman is well-established and has been doing an awesome job from what I’ve seen — he’s also showing considerable patience showing me the ropes and walking a bit of a technological hayseed like me through the paper’s computer system.
So, bring your moments and your stories to us at the Peninsula Daily News. I’m here to share them.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]