Weekly McAlester News-Capital Roundup

Basketball season is much tougher than football season. All 12 schools in my coverage area fields boys’ and girls’ basketball teams, whereas just seven fielded football teams back in the fall. And of the 12 schools, nearly all of them had at least a boys’ or a girls’ team (or both) worth keeping track.

With football, it was one game a week, and unless another team was playing Thursday and I could cover both, that game was always a McAlester game. Easy to schedule, easy to keep track of. With basketball, every week was a juggling act between McAlester and any other number of potential games, so I was always double-checking schedules to figure out when which teams were at home and which game was most worth covering.

Whereas in the fall I covered the heck out of the Buffs and relegated the other six schools to one story each Sunday (plus the occasional feature), the opposite occurred during basketball season. If anything, I might have over-covered schools like Stuart and Kiowa when I probably should’ve spent more time with McAlester.

Couple all that with a daily schedule in which I often worked in the mornings, had a few hours off and then went back to work in the late-afternoon until usually 9:30 p.m. or later, and you can imagine how exhausted I’d feel at the end of the work week.

No matter how Kiowa does in the state tournament, basketball season will be done for good by Saturday. So for all intents and purposes, this week’s roundup will be my last real time through basketball season.


Playoff Update: Frink-Chambers, Tannehill reach State

Know Your Foe: Grove

Know Your Foe: Bishop Kelley

Lady Ridgerunners knock out Lady Buffs

Comets dominate Buffs at Regionals

Lakewood Christian wins state championship

Yellowjackets bury Miners in consolation semifinal

Bowling Bulletin: Monday Men’s league tightens

Billiards tournament benefits first all-women local team

Book Review: “The Best American Sports Writing 2012”

"The Best American Sports Writing 2012," edited by Michael Wilbon
“The Best American Sports Writing 2012,” edited by Michael Wilbon

Well, it’s that time again. Time to review another volume of Glenn Stout’s Best American Sports Writing series. Time to see what another bigwig in the sports journalism world thought was the best work done in his or her industry during the previous year.

For The Best American Sports Writing 2012, Michael Wilbon — the guy always yelling unnecessarily and somewhat incoherently at Tony Kornheiser on ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” — was that bigwig.

In his introduction, Wilbon falls back on the almost cliched observation that journalists have gotten lazy in this modern world of social media. But unlike other such critics, Wilbon at least points out the role teams and players have also played in diluting the system, intentionally creating hermetically sealed press conferences that prevent journalists from asking any real questions getting a leg up on one another.

In his introduction, Wilbon said his collection tried to show that there are still quality sports writers out there, producing stories as good as anything he grew up reading.

And he’s right — BASW 2012 has some really terrific writing.

Perfect stories

Every so often, a BASW volume features a perfect story. Combining excellent structure and technique with rock-solid research, personal voice and timeliness, Taylor Branch’s “The Shame of College Sports” is one such perfect story.

In a 38-page carpet bombing of an article, Branch finally exposes the NCAA as the collection of greedy, hypocritical, dishonest tyrants that it is. Branch loudly and convincingly calls out the organization for making millions off athletes’ names and likenesses while simultaneously punishing players for trading a jersey for a tattoo. After reading “The Shame of College Sports,” still arguing that college students shouldn’t be paid — or at least receive a share of the profits — becomes nearly impossible.

Continue reading Book Review: “The Best American Sports Writing 2012”

Weekly McAlester News-Capital Roundup

Basketball playoffs got underway last week, so I devoted myself to those and pretty much nothing else. Enjoy!

Playoff update: Kiowa and Stuart sweep Districts

Lady Tigers maim Lady Cougars

Tigers too tall for Cougars

Ashley Washington ‘tough as nails’

Sam Mitchell’s calming presence

Bowling Bulletin: New’s leads Wednesday Open Trio

Cowgirls beat Lady Scorpions, advance to area tournament

Cowboys comeback falls short against Scorpions

As Kaleisha Johnson goes, Lady Buffs go

Weekly McAlester News-Capital Roundup

Every once in awhile, my week just goes awesome. I walk into work Tuesday knowing exactly what I’m going to write all week — including during the three-hour stretch I have until Wednesday’s content is due. I don’t kill my hours on Saturday and Tuesday, so the rest of the week doesn’t feel as stressful.

I’m able to get a lot of work due the day before it’s due, so I can sleep in some of the mornings. And when Friday comes along, I have enough hours left to not only do my coverage for Sunday, but some of the writing as well.

Such was how last week went, and here’s everything I wrote.

Heather Brozovich: desire and determination

Growing up the coach’s son

Thompson’s Diggers trounce Miners

Lady Diggers beat Lady Miners for season sweep

Bowling Bulletin: Oops takes over Powder Puff League

Two Buffs sign with colleges

Class A and B District Tournament schedule released

Classes 2A-6A playoffs scheduled

Buffs beat Lions on Homecoming

Saunier, Lady Buffs edge Lady Lions

Hornets swarm Panthers in District Final

Lady Hornets edge Lady Panthers in District Finals thriller

Weekly McAlester News-Capital Roundup

(Yippee! Post no. 700!)

I’ve started wondering over the past few weeks where the McAlester News-Capital’s readers actually are. The obvious answer is “in McAlester,” but with no other local papers, we also have readers throughout all of Pittsburg County, plus a few towns on the outskirts of other counties, such as Wilburton and Stuart.

My question is how our readership breaks down. What percentage of our readers live in McAlester, and what percentage live outside of it?

It’s an important question, because I’m responsible for 10 different schools in Pittsburg County, plus Wilburton and Stuart. And lately, I’ve taken a lot of flack because I haven’t covered McAlester sports as much as I have the neighboring smaller schools.

I normally just avoid answering coverage questions, because no matter what I do, I know I can please everyone. But when a woman comes to the newspaper to ask me to my face why I didn’t cover a recent McAlester road tournament, I kind of have to answer.

So I told her the truth: if the team is playing more than an hour away, and it’s not football or the playoffs, I’m not going to cover it. I didn’t get into all of the bureaucratic reasons behind that policy — no need to air the paper’s dirt laundry — and I think she walked away satisfied, if not perhaps happy, with my answer.

McAlester has been on the road a lot since the new year began, making it hard to cover the Buffaloes. Meanwhile, the Pitt 8 Conference Tournament happened right down the street from where I worked, so I covered the heck out of it.

Unless someone shares a readership map with me, I’m going to assume that serving eight different small communities in our area by choosing the Pitt 8 over the Buffs was the right choice. And I know from the Pitt 8 coaches’ feedback that they appreciated how comprehensively I covered their tourney.

I also think several of these smaller schools could actually go pretty deep in the playoffs, whereas I don’t have the same confidence in the Buffaloes. That, in my opinion, makes teams like the Stuart Hornets and Kiowa Cowgirls more newsworthy.

Anyway, here’s everything I wrote this week.

Alex Becker still at the lanes

Banquet honors 2012 Buffaloes

Cowgirls too much for Lady Cougars

Cougars edge Cowboys in thriller

Lady Buffs stampede Lady Bulldogs

Local schools prepares for ORES Playoffs

Bowling Bulletin: Women’s City League stays close

Lady Diggers out-shoot Lady Wolves

Buffs beat Bulldogs for fourth win of season

Lady Buffs stampede Lady Bulldogs

Smith and Wolves too much for Diggers