By Alan Sorensen
It's Election Day, and like a good politician, I have been caught in up less than truthfulness. I was raised to be truthful, but conditions beyond my control have intervened.
The word I broke: The column about the old neighborhood stores, butcher shops, bakeries, bars and drive-ins I promised for the next time out the last time out will have to wait.
For the past few weeks, I've been filling in as managing editor, sports writer, sports editor and general assignment writer as well as doing my own assigned tasks. I have dozens of sources about the old days, but haven't devoted the time I should and that they deserve to be fleshed out.
Instead, I thought I'd write today about what it is like to be a sports writer, sports editor. What it involves shouldn't have come to any surprise to me since I was a sports writer and back up sports editor to Doug Sheppard our senior year at Havre High. I also have an idea what most sports entail since the only athletic endeavors I can't remember competing in were the "P" sports: pole vault, polo and piddly winks. I was even a gangling diver on the Lions Swim Team and did my share of long distance running. A student of all sports, I was master of none.
As a result, I've grown into an overstuffed fan of sport. Covering local sports, like covering local news, seemed natural to me. My brother-in-law in Vancouver, Wash. still chides me every time we meet. "So, who's Havre's world champion this year?" It's gotten so I can't even tell him the honest truth about KG's domination of Class C over the past five years, the 9C and 10Cs' prowess in girls' sports, and Northern's national champion wrestling team.
It's kind of neat to write about them, though.
I have learned a few things these past weeks that I'm not sure all of our readers are aware.
Two Havre High grads are doing very well in NCAA Division I competition. While Loree Payne has been dominating PAC 10 basketball and earning herself a top five ranking in the country among pure shooters, her classmate Matt Kegel has quietly worked his way up to number one backup quarterback at Washington State University.
On Saturday, Kegel was thrust into the lead role when starting quarterback Jason Gesser went down with a broken leg. Kegel pushed the number 7 ranked Oregon Ducks to overtime before the Cougs bowed out on a missed field goal. That's eerily similar to the way Kegel's cousin Ryan Leaf won the starting job. My guess is Kegel is Cougar coach Mike Price's starting quarterback for Cougs' match up against Southern Cal Saturday.
I don't want to disparage Leaf in anyway, but I've spoken to Kegel a few times in passing and watched him compete in track and field. I'm here to say that he's a nice, hard working, likable, stable kid.
Payne, who averaged 17.4 points per game as a freshman at the University of Washington last year, was the youngest player picked for the "alter Olympic team." The collegiate national played four games in Taiwan. Payne was 6 for 6 in the gold medal game. The team also faced the U.S. Olympic Team in Hawaii. They lost by 66 points.
Wells Lamey stopped by this morning to tell me that Havre High graduate Skip Grodahl (Class of '71) has been accepted into the Montana High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Those are some of the nice things I've picked up while doing sports.
What I wasn't prepared for when I assumed the sports task was where the complaints would come from and what they would entail.
In my 10 years of covering reservation doings, crime, churches, general news and schools, I became used to hearing about mistakes I made in print. The complaints almost invariably involved things I wrote in the paper with which people disagreed.
With sports, it has been what I didn't write that has elicited the complaints. Somebody's son or daughter didn't get the mention deserved, a team was slighted, we should have published a different picture.
Now I know what they mean when they say you can't prove a negative. A wise man told me a few days ago just to say, "Sorry, we could have done better."