Archive for Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Fly Route

October 26, 2006

I've been asked recently about how all of this works, so allow me to explain something: I decide what goes on the front page and what goes inside the sports pages. I decide what photos run, how big they run, what goes into the headlines, who gets primetime coverage and who gets bumped to the black and white pages.

I typically base my decisions on what events happened most recently, what was the most unexpected or had the best story line and which stories come with the best photos.

Maybe that sounded arrogant or boastful, but I assure you it isn't. Never has my job been as hard as it was this week. I'm not sure I'll ever be comfortable with how we divided coverage this week.

If you're a Eudora sports fan, this is the top of the mountain. Right now, today. If you've been following the high school teams, you not only just saw the most amazing week, you're eagerly anticipating the weekend and -- knock on wood, football team -- the next several weeks.

I promise, as much as I love covering all these events and attending all these games, deciding who deserves what kind of coverage this week is excruciatingly difficult, and the task only seemed to grow more daunting as the week went on.

It all started Oct. 19, the day our last issue came out. The Eudora soccer team beat De Soto. But I didn't find out about it that day, so let's skip that for now.

First, from my perspective, was a great game by the football team. I say "great game," and I mean it. Friday night's 26-15 win over De Soto truly came as the result of a great game. Maybe Eudora didn't play its best, but the then 4-3 Wildcats rose to the challenge and led the undefeated Cardinals at halftime.

In a season when so many games have been blowouts, it was nice and fun to see a close game where seniors were actually playing in the fourth quarter.

It was good, and it was pretty newsworthy in my eyes. Football certainly deserves a place on the front page, given that the team will attempt to improve to 9-0 for the first time ever on Thursday at home against arch-rival Baldwin.

And I had some good photos, too. Yep. Football is going on the front page, I decided.

Cross country was next.

I woke up early Saturday morning -- well, early for a Saturday morning -- and drove down to Garnett, thanking all that is holy that I got to stand and watch the coldest, wettest cross country race I'd ever seen.

But there were several funny things about that miserable fall day. First, it made for surprisingly cool pictures. Bids to the Class 4A state tournament were on the line, so all the athletes there powered through the muck and the weather, attempting to turn in their best performances of the season. Usually when athletes do that, the emotion ends up pouring out, and that in turn makes for great photos. Factor in the unique effect of the rain and the beautiful foliage on the tree-laden course and I came away with plenty of photos worthy of running large and prominent in the sports section.

Oh, the team ran excellent, too. Joey Chino capped off an astonishing season with a regional championship and Brittney Graff filed another excellent chapter in what has become the rivalry of rivalries. Cody Burns did his part by qualifying for state, making for an interesting story as he had a bad race there a year ago, and the girls team impressed me by qualifying third, just good enough to send the whole team to Wamego.

I had to head to Spring Hill for sub-state volleyball faster than my socks could dry, however, and once there, I found another great story.

The Eudora volleyball team has been a constant since I arrived here more than a year ago, but there was reason to believe this team might not be able to repeat as sub-state champs for the third consecutive year.

Erin Kracl and the Cardinals spiked those poorly thought-out reasons right out the window though, securing a trip to Salina with a three-game match victory over St. James Academy.

That pretty much wrapped it all up, I thought. The only team that could change anything was the soccer team and to be honest, I didn't consider that likely. The team looked improved earlier in the season, but injuries took a very heavy toll and the losses mounted.

The soccer team's season ended Tuesday with a playoff loss to Basehor, and I decided to place the story back inside the paper, off the front, leaving more room for those still playing.

But that was before I knew they had beaten De Soto. If you couldn't tell, I was a bit busy over the weekend, and I never stopped to check the score of Eudora's game. I really didn't think there was a reason to check, honestly. I've seen Eudora and De Soto play a number of times, and while it has been closer, I didn't figure the Cards were anywhere close to tossing that monkey off their backs.

Wow, was I wrong. Beating De Soto is an amazing win for the team and even though the Cardinals will have to wait 10 months before taking to the field again, I am sure the waves from that little 3-2 victory will still be bouncing around.

That's the kind of win that not only shows a program is on the right track, but that jumps that process forward a year or two.

So I couldn't leave the soccer team off the front page, either.

I hope you like everything the way it ended up. Every single sport deserved to be the lead story this week -- that's how great of a week it was in Eudora.

I hope you enjoyed it. I know I did.

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