Summer Reading

by Ryan

Show, don’t tell.

It’s one of the fundamentals of good writing, but it’s also good advice in general. I’ve been working at the Niagara Gazette for just under a year now and I still struggle to explain exactly what I do there at times.

I’m the scholastic sports reporter, sure, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. Sometimes I write about the Bills or Sabres and most of the time I just try to write as much as possible in the 40 hours a week they’ll pay me for.

But hey, show, don’t tell. Over the last few weeks I worked on a three part series exploring the struggles of fall sports at Niagara Falls High School. The largest school in Section VI often has the poorest cumulative record in the Niagara Frontier League, and I wanted to talk to some people and find out why.

It’s a lot of words but, to be honest, I think there’s a lot there to talk about. At first glance the problem seems silly because there are just so many kids in the school, but it’s so much more complicated than that.

When approaching this story, my first interactions with coaches and athletic directors were a bit harrowing. Why is the newspaper man trying to stir up bad news? But this story is much more about social and economic issues than it is coaching aptitude. If hundreds and hundreds of kids are staying away from teams, how much can a coach really do?

I consider myself as a good example of this. I graduated from Niagara Falls High School in 2006 with absolutely no team sports experience to speak of. But why not? Clearly I love sports, play sports and have made a career out of sports. Why not even attempt to play sports at the highest level available to teenagers?

I still don’t have a good answer for that, but if someone like me fell through the proverbial cracks, how many more got through with me? That was a question that seemed like fun to answer, and I hope I managed to explore the space in the 2,800 words or so I got out of it.

I’m not really sure why I felt the need to share the links here. Maybe I’m looking for feedback, but I’m sure coaches and parents will have their way with me over the next few weeks. I guess I think there’s an interesting story to tell there, and maybe I’m a bit proud of the results.

But yeah, back to hockey and whatnot after this.