The Right Thing To Do

VALE – A question was recently asked of regarding the method we report sports. A parent of an athlete thanked us for publishing his son’s name and time in a track event. The athlete was not in the top five, but we included all finishers in our story. The father stated he was thankful just to see his son in the story.

Since we started, we have always included as many names as we receive. In individual sports like wrestling and track and field, this is easier. In other sports, we depend on coaches to feed us the information. We report all participants for two reasons.

First, I am now able to do things like I think they should be done. I once worked for a publisher who I questioned on the number of names to include in a track story. His reply was only the top three as people only want to see the winners. In print journalism (newspapers), names take up space and space on a page is money. On our site, one name is the same as 500 names.

Second, and most important, every athlete deserves the recognition. In a sporting event, one winner is crowned while hundreds of athletes follow. But that is not the entire story.

No athlete will forever remain in first place. A win in district may translate to a sixth place in state. A victory as a senior may translate to an 11th place freshman year of college.

Many times, the story is not in first place. A fifth-place finish may be a personal best time or finish for an athlete. A seventh-place finish may be a top placement for the year after an injury.

Most of our stories revolve around athletes attending small schools. Because of location and finishes, an athlete may never see his/her name in a paper. The athlete’s grandparents may never have the opportunity to see the name as they live 50 miles away. This athlete does the same as a state qualifier-attends practices, rides the bus for hours, runs the race or wrestles the match. An athlete should not judged entirely by a finish, but by effort.

The extra work we put in to include everyone is worth every wrong key stroke. Eastern Oregon athletes deserve to be recognized for accomplishments, first place or tenth. We will continue to give you a product unlike any others and including every athlete making the effort.