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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Cheap Seats: A day in the life of a small town Sports Editor

Friday, March 4, 2005

It's been a great couple of weeks to be the Sports Editor here in Cherokee.

I've got to thank Tyler Halverson and the Cherokee girl's basketball team for giving me my first State Wrestling Champion and State Qualifying (soon to be champion) basketball team to cover.

Thanks goes out to Jason Wood, Curt Klaahsen, Clay Drenth, Kylee Boettcher and the countless other coaches who mentor these young kids along the way to becoming the great athletes and kids that they are.

I'm not forgetting you either parents. God knows how many hours and dollars you've put in for camps, car rides, practices, etc... I'm sure it was trying at times, but now it all has to be worth while. I thank you as well.

With that out of the way, I feel it's time I get something off my chest.

If you recently read the Ross Rambles column in Friday's paper, you'll know where the idea was sparked for this column.

Most times I appreciate when people come up to me with compliments or criticism on my columns or sports coverage in general. It's always nice to know people are reading and care enough to take the time to point things out or generally just want to help.

At other times people say things to me that really get under my skin and I try to remember why I even bother in the first place.

One such example occurred after the great weekend that Cherokee athletics had in which the girls qualified for State and Tyler won his championship match.

Chronicle Times 101:

Normally my sports pages have to be done by 3 p.m. the day before they come out. This is because we don't have our own press and they have to be sent to Le Mars where they print numerous things other than our paper.

This explains why many times I cannot get games in the paper the next day because in fact, the paper is already done before the contest occurs.

Usually when someone asks me why something wasn't in the paper the next day, I try to explain to them the deadline and how it is impossible to do, even though, I'd love to have things more up to date.

Not long ago I had a lady call and berate me for not having anybody at a Cherokee girl's basketball game because it wasn't in the next day's paper. I tried to explain to her that Paul Struck was at the game, took pictures and we would have the story in the following day due to the deadline.

This explanation wasn't enough for her as she lost her cool about the situation. My attempts to calm her and assure her that there was nothing I could do weren't enough. She wanted the game in the paper now!

On Friday nights we have a little more time because the paper doesn't have to be in until later. This is why we can bring you Friday night games in Monday's paper.

Back to last Saturday's events.

We had arranged to do the paper Saturday night following the Cherokee game because we knew at this time we would have results from wrestling and obviously the basketball game.

I had five pages to lay out and send that night, so on Friday I filled a couple of those pages as much as I could with news that needed to go. I left the top of page one for what I hoped to be good news about Cherokee wins, page six for the girl's game and photos, a space in seven for a short wrestling write up with photos and 14 for a photo page from the game.

I knew this would be a lot to tackle on Saturday night, but was confident I could get it done and felt it important to have in the paper as soon as we could.

When Paul and I got to the office Saturday night we went right to downloading photos and writing up the games. As we went along we realized something was amiss and soon found out that our server was not working.

I'm not a computer guy so I can't really tell you what that means. What I do know is that it meant I couldn't lay out pages, I couldn't save my photos where I needed them and I couldn't get things done in time to send to Le Mars.

In short, we we're in trouble.

Paul made several calls to people in Le Mars and finally get a hold of our boss Tom Stangl. He talked me through restarting the server over the phone and after a lot of work, we got it going.

So now we were several hours behind. After working on it for awhile I realized that I was extremely tired and was making stupid mistakes. We decided it best to go home and get back at it Sunday morning. Which we did.

The next morning I plowed away and came up with what I felt was a good paper to represent the outstanding weekend that was had.

I failed to get in all the wrestlers from State that I had pictures of from Roy Tucker (thanks to him again for helping us out with great photos). I would have loved to put them all in and write a complete story, but lack of space and time prevented it. So, instead, I wrote up the two Cherokee kids knowing that I was going to get the rest in Wednesday.

In the end it was hard and trying, but it had to be done and I was sure the extra effort would be appreciated by the community. All in all I put in about 14 hours between Saturday and Sunday to get things right.

I gave up my entire weekend. Did I also mention it was my birthday?

Jump forward to Thursday of last week when I received a call from a reader who was disappointed in the wrestling coverage we had in the paper.

The caller couldn't understand how I could have Tyler Halverson (once again, State Champ) and Nick Loughlin in the paper and not all the other area wrestlers.

It didn't matter what I said, it was unfair to them. I shouldn't have run one or two if I couldn't run them all. My explanations of precedence and the hard work we put in didn't matter.

They were unhappy.

It's not often that somebody calls in to praise us in the sports department, and that's OK. I don't look for it and I'm not begging for it now. But, when people only take the time to call in and yell at you, that's when you start to wonder about your choice in occupation.

I truly hope this was an isolated incident and not everyone was upset with the coverage they got.

If they are, I apologize, but we can only do so much.

If everyone wants to pay a couple extra hundred bucks a year for the paper we may be able to afford our own press and these things wouldn't happen.

I don't see that happening in the near future.

So, Bradley Gustafson, Ben and Jeremy Letsche, Mitch Erdman and Dan Bunt, I apologize for not getting you in the paper sooner. It is in no way a reflection on you and the great seasons you had.

It's just a reflection on the trials, tribulations and, at times, limitations of a small town newspaper.

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