Weekly McAlester News-Capital Roundup

The first time I wrote something that really pissed a coach off, I spent the next four months or so terrified of my next encounter with them. And when that encounter finally came, it did indeed begin with a dressing-down from the coach. Not the worst thing that could’ve happened — I was actually afraid the coach might punch me — but still one that left me feeling a bit sheepish.

A column I wrote in May led to another really negative encounter about a month ago — not with a coach, but with a coach’s loved one. While not as hostile a confrontation, parts of it found their way onto Facebook. And once again I was scared I’d burned a bridge I’d need to cross later.

I met up with the coach in question earlier this week. To my surprise and gratitude, the coach never mentioned any of the stuff that took place over the last month. The coach was cordial, professional and honest, and even hung around for a second interview for an unrelated story I’ll write sometime in the next three weeks.

It’s been my experience that most people only bother to comment if there’s a story they really don’t like. I haven’t heard anything from the coach since the story published, so I assume the coach either liked the story or at least didn’t dislike it.

I learned that not every person hangs onto a grudge as long as every other person. And while some might get annoyed with a story designed to “change the story” about a team — as this story in part tried to do — others will be completely open to the idea.

Either way, I’m very appreciative of the coach for taking the high road in this situation. Here’s everything I wrote this week.

Jerika Parent returns from Olympic soccer camp

Local shooter travels to DC

Miner Summer Pride at full strength

UCA Cheer Camp wraps in Hartshorne

Locals win blind doubles bowling night

Stuart steals way past Indianola

Tim Thomas joins Buffs coaching staff

New disc golf course planned for McAlester

Matt House rising up disc golf ranks

Weekly McAlester News-Capital Roundup

Nothing written for Wednesday’s paper plus a furlough means fewer stories. I’m trying to devote more hours to the football magazine now so that when crunch time comes, I don’t have to ask for as much help from other reporters as I did last year. So while the B section suffers now, the A section will suffer less two weeks from now, and to me that’s a fair trade.

As of this post’s publication, two different versions of my double-length Little League AAA state championship story (“Mudhens go 2-0”)  appear on the McAlester News-Capital website. Normally I only put an abbreviated version of my stories online to encourage people to buy the E-Edition of our paper, which I did here. But for reasons I don’t fully understand, someone else put the full version online as well.

If you want to see what my writing really looks like, I encourage you all to check out the full story soon, because it could be just a matter of hours before someone sees the error (or reads about it here) and pulls the second version down.

Oilman wins men’s softball league

Lady Buffs edge Jr. Buffs

Randy Ott keeps looking forward

Lady Hornets too much for Lady Cougars

Muckdogs go 2-0 in Saturday tourney games Mudhens win tournament Sunday

(abbreviated version: Muckdogs go 2-0 in Saturday tourney games)

Weekly McAlester News-Capital Roundup

I really don’t have anything to report from this week of sports coverage, except that I’m probably the first sports journalist in McAlester News-Capital history to a) devote significant coverage to the local recreational softball leagues, and b) actually drive to Tulsa for a Little League game. Whether that’s a sign of professionalism, desperation or something in between, who can say.

Beyond the News-Cap, however, I finally finished The Great Shark Hunt, the first anthology of essays by Hunter S. Thompson. I wrote about Thompson almost two years ago, breaking down his appeal to a combination of brilliant word-selection, a deeply nuanced understanding of the 60s and 70s, and a gleeful dishonesty.

More than 400 pages later, I still think no one picks words the way Thompson does, and I still think he really understood the cultural undercurrents of his time. But unlike two years ago, I no longer see his approach to the 60s as some kind of rah-rah, “We changed things forever” attitude. Thompson respected the intentions of the 60s’ counter-culture movements, but he’s also very aware that while the hippies didn’t exactly fail, they also didn’t really succeed, and within a decade, many aspects of American society had gotten much, much worse.

As to whether or not Thompson was a dishonest writer, and whether he took joy in that intentional dishonesty, I’m not so sure. Thompson’s Watergate writing is an especially tough nut to crack.

Nothing Thompson writes about Nixon and his cronies screams outright lie. But in this modern age of public relations, where so many layers of protection exist between the media and the people they write about that only the most white-washed versions ever reach print, it’s hard to believe a reporter — and especially one so openly hostile to his subject matter — could ever have been given such an intimate glimpse of the real people in power.

Thompson’s political writing — and the majority of his writing, one way or another, is political — seems like an honest look at the political realities of his age. But it’s so honest, and so “raw” in its honesty, that as a survival mechanism the reader’s brain refuses to take it seriously.

At the end of one his final essays in the collection, Thompson quotes Muhammad Ali: “My way of joking is to tell the truth. That’s the funniest joke in the world.” Thompson goes on to claim those two sentences as the best explanation of “Gonzo journalism,” that reporting style that Thompson invented and no one has ever successfully replicated.

But a joke is not meant to be taken seriously. Jokes — and it’s pretty clear Thompson loved jokes — are fictions, and writing the truth in a way that makes it appear fictitious might count as dishonesty.

Or maybe not. I don’t really know. I just know I enjoyed the hell out of The Great Shark Hunt.

On an unrelated (except to the headline) note, here’s what I wrote this week.

Bond, Zike among new Buffs head coaches

GBOF announces fall bowling leagues

Six homers power Addiction Salon

Brian Renegar introduces new concussion info to MPS

Wilburton advances to softball final

Local wins state bodybuilding competition

Photo gallery: McAlester volleyball camp

Lady Buffs stampede Warriorettes

Buffalo Valley beats Stuart softball

McAlester native organizes benefit wrestling show

Tulsa beats Pittsburg County in Little League championship

Weekly McAlester News-Capital Roundup

Not much to report (ha ha) this week. Had to work July 4 but turned it into a three-day weekend (which is why I didn’t update last week).

At some point soon I’m going to have to cutting back my daily writing a bit to concentrate on the 2013 football preview, but since we killed the Monday paper, keeping under 40 hours a week hasn’t been nearly as difficult. So who knows, maybe I’ll be able to continue producing 10 stories a week and get the mag done on time.

I wrote about 55 percent of the content for last year’s mag. My goal this time is to start the process early enough to write at-least two-thirds of all the articles (basically, football and cheerleading for all seven schools, plus all the McAlester stuff).

Here’s what I wrote the last two weeks.

Summer Pride off to strong start

Chris Zike recommended as Buffs head basketball coach

Pam’s Academy produces college-caliber dancers

Wildcats beat Miners in Checotah tourney championship

Demons walk off with fifth at Checotah

Mudhens win AAA tournament

Elks Lodge beats Strokers in league finale

Swag out-slugs Nice Catch softball team

Scrappers win AA tournament

The Grand Master of McAlester

Buffs’ Cumbie calls it a career

Jessica Hood plays through the pain