June 2016 Cape Cod Times Roundup

I don’t have some big lesson or story to report this time – covering a bunch of sectional championships, state semifinals and state championships in rapid succession was pretty exhausting, but writing about local teams winning it all is probably my favorite thing to do as a sports reporter, so I can’t really complain. And as much as I enjoy the talent on display in the Cape Cod Baseball League, I find myself kind of longing for the relative simplicity of high school sports again.

Of course, I’m sure that once the fall season gets underway, I’ll just start longing for the lighter workload of just five Cape League games on any given night.

Anyway, here’s everything I wrote in June for the Cape Cod Times.

Boys lacrosse: Falmouth gains South final with win over Sandwich

School baseball: Lions knock out Sharks in Div. 4 South quarterfinals

Baseball Side-by-Side: St. John Paul II 4, Monomoy 2

High school notebook: Camp helps Enneguess find the draw

Historic victory for Sandwich baseball team

Boys lacrosse: Falmouth falls in South final

Harwich slams Hyannis, 12-4

School baseball: Oriola leads St. John Paul II over Mashpee for another Div. 4 South crown

School baseball: St. John Paul II chasing another state title

School tennis: MV girls in state finals

High school tennis: Vineyarders go for second straight title

5-1 win in state semis send two-time defending state champ SJP II to another title game

School tennis: Vineyard repeats as girls state champs

High school notebook: Vineyard, D-Y champs return for state tennis tournament

Top-seeded SJP II goes after 3-peat title

Right up to final pitch, Oriola delivers

Harwich keeps on rolling behind shutout victory over Red Sox

McVey drives in 3 runs, helps Bourne halt losing streak

Hot-hitting Whitecaps total 14 hits in 12-3 win over Hyannis

Cape League Extra: Morris hopes to fit with Falmouth

Cape League notebook: Senzel’s summer pays off

Early attack: Bourne tops last-place Cotuit

Cape Cod Baseball League: Five-run fifth leads Kettleers over Anglers

Cape League Extra: Holba home, for now, in Bourne

Cape League notebook: Byrd returns after summer away

 

May 2016 Cape Cod Times Roundup

One of my most prolific writing months since joining the Cape Cod Times ended with a regatta in which a photographer cussed me out in public for getting seasick and sitting where the captain of the press boat told me to sit. Apparently I should’ve known this would happen after it happened last year – which this person was clearly still pissed about – and insisted on getting to Nantucket through alternate means so as not to get in her way.

I considered blowing up at her on social media about this later, but I decided against it because a) the person in question and I aren’t Facebook friends, so the likelihood of her ever finding out would be minimal, and b) many of my colleagues and editors at CCT and I are Facebook friends, and they probably wouldn’t think it very professional of me to air dirty laundry in a shameless plea for validation from my friends.

So the first two sentences of this post are all I have to say about the incident. I’d still be pissed about it, I ran my first official half marathon a day later and it went great, and as I type this I’m enjoying a week-long vacation. And feeling angry while on vacation is a waste of a vacation.

Anyway, here’s everything I wrote in May.

Continue reading May 2016 Cape Cod Times Roundup

April 2016 Cape Cod Times Roundup

I try to produce video at every game I cover this spring. There’s more time in between baseball or softball or lacrosse plays than basketball, making it much easier to take notes and record at the same time and then still produce a decent write-up for the print edition.

I shoot video on my phone, an iPhone 6 Plus, which I know has the battery and space to shoot for 2.5 straight hours, or the length of a high school football game. But because warmer temperatures still haven’t shown up on the Cape, lately my battery tends to get cold and shut down after only about 1-1.5 hours of continuous outdoor shooting.

Usually this means I get until about the fourth or fifth inning. That’s exactly what happened at one of the baseball games I covered below (Falmouth-Nauset, towards the bottom), and unfortunately almost all the scoring happened in the innings after my phone shut off.

I walked to my car, charged up the phone, then resumed recording for the final inning. But I was left with a lot of strikeouts by the winning pitcher and nothing about the offense behind him.

I could’ve scrapped the whole thing, but instead I came up with an alternative idea. I recorded a two-minute postgame interview with the pitcher, who’d performed more than well enough to merit it, then uploaded it and the game footage into my editing software.

Normally I’d write a script and do a voiceover for highlights, like you might see on “SportsCenter.” But this time I separated the interview into separate audio and video components, then systematically replaced portions of the video with shots of him striking someone out or fielding.

It took some fine-tuning to get it all synced up properly, but the end product turned out really, really well. I managed to both take a creative approach to producing multimedia content and fairly represent the game I’d covered. This is definitely a format I’ll use again.

The moral of the story is that a little creativity can turn a minor failure into a major success.

Here’s everything I wrote in April for the Cape Cod Times.

Continue reading April 2016 Cape Cod Times Roundup

March 2016 Cape Cod Times Roundup

So a buddy of mine from college and I occasionally do these podcasts about comic books and science fiction. They’re fun, often long, and they give me a chance to talk about stuff I sometimes feel like nobody else in my life cares about to the same degree as I do.

My editors at the Cape Cod Times know I do these. I have no idea if they’ve ever listened to any of them, but they’ve explicitly said my doing them is neither a conflict of interest nor a poor reflection of my professional image, and I’m free to continue.

I’m part of the CCT’s “Innovation” team, which is tasked with exploring different technologies and mobile applications that could potentially improve and diversify how we report the news. And at the introductory meeting for the team, higher-ups from the parent company specifically mentioned podcasts as something newspapers should explore.

I never thought these podcasts would impact my career in any way other than as a hobby. But after hearing that, I volunteered to be one of the test cases for a weekly podcast, which I of course devoted to previewing the spring high school sports season on the Cape.

My sports podcast took almost exactly half an hour. It was a fun conversation, barely any “ums” or pauses, and as far as I can tell, what we recorded required barely any editing.

As I was walking back to my desk after, I heard the guy I worked with tell my team leader, “Matt just killed it on the podcast!”

I’m certain my experiences doing these nerdy podcasts on the side made it much easier to do my first professional podcast. I’m confident I’ll get even better at podcasting the more I do it on the side, and should the CCT decide to make podcasting a weekly thing, I’ll be able to help make it a huge success.

The moral of the story: anything you do can advance your career if you think creatively about how to apply it.

The podcast, and everything else I wrote in March, appears below.

Boys basketball: Gibbons scores 23, but Sturgis East falls to Southeastern in Division 4 South Sectional

South Sectional girls basketball: Currence’s 1,000th point helps Mariners roll

High schools: Cape Cod Academy gears up for lacrosse

Division 4 boys basketball: Top-seeded Lions too quick for Bristol-Plymouth

Girls basketball South Sectionals: Falmouth Academy cruises into semifinals with win over St. John Paul II

Girls basketball South Sectionals: Falmouth Academy ready for tourney rematch

Girls basketball South Sectional semifinals: Falmouth Academy’s unbeaten season ends in 57-41 loss to GNB Voke

Boys basketball tournament: St. John Paul II goes down to Cohasset

High schools: Seahawks sailing team heads to Ireland

Barnstable’s gymnastics program emphasizes fun while winning state titles

Tribute: Pratchett meant the (Disc)world to me

Falmouth Academy’s Sarah Stokey conquering Iditarod Sled Dog Race

Podcast: Spring high school sports preview

SJP II’s Oriola to play baseball at Endicott

High schools: Weather or not, spring seasons begin

Family name, hoops create special bond between SJP II’s Katie Wojciechowski and uncle Steve

High school notes: Red Sox to honor Barnstable gymnasts

School baseball: Sturgis West looking to build on success

Sticking from the beginning: D-Y fields girls lacrosse team

November 2015 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in November 2015.

Nauset, Nantucket earn No. 1 rankings in boys soccer

FALCONS MOVE ON in girls soccer playoffs

Football ties a family tradition for Deshaun Dias

School volleyball: Storm serve up playoff win

BLUE CRUSH: Mashpee dominates Blue Hills

School field hockey: Sandwich wins to gain semifinals

High school volleyball: Sturgis East, Sandwich eliminated

High School Football Preview: Mashpee faces familiar foe

Shibles headed to Fairfield, Megnia to UMass

Barnstable sweeps Concord-Carlisle in semis

School Football: Offensive line key to Falcons success

Schools: Three more local athletes sign letters

Barnstable volleyball team ready for battle

Football: Mashpee vs. Essex Tech preview

Barnstable wins 17th state volleyball title

Video: Moment Barnstable volleyball team wins title

Canalmen face Vikings for 85th time

Falcons, Knights play in Cranberry Bowl

For Jamiels, Thanksgiving is D-Y football and family

Sandwich 7, Mashpee 6: Blue Knights edge Falcons with extra point

Girls hockey: Defending state champion Clippers open new season with new coach

June 2015 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in June 2015.

School lacrosse: Falmouth Academy girls win tourney opener

Girls lacrosse tournament: Blue Knights knock out Warriors

School baseball: Nichols leads Monomoy

School softball: Hadley Tate carries a big stick for St. John Paul II

High school baseball: Lions pounce on Wildcats in tourney opener

East Division predictions: Y-D Red Sox ready for title defense

Softball: Navigators and Dolphins knocked out

Sharks baseball bites Upper Cape

Cape League season opens with high hopes

Boys tennis South Sectionals: Barnstable knocks off No. 1 Brookline for title

Courageous Championship: grieving Marsh pitches SJP II to South title

Figure skating: Theatre on Ice at HYCC

SJP II baseball team in finals again

UNBEATEN SEASON: Vineyard girls claim tennis title

High school baseball: Lions ready for another state final

Victory caps incredible ride for Lion seniors

Local golf: Clark qualifies on home course

Early slugging for Mariners in 5-3 win over Whitecaps

Local baseball: Team Cape Cod rolls on

March/April 2015 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in March and April 2015.

March: Snowed out: Weather blasts away at spring seasons

School lacrosse: Sandwich edges Barnstable, 9-8

Spring breaks in time for golf

April: Softball: Falmouth blasts Martha’s Vineyard in season opener, 15-3

Barnstable grad is finalist in NESN competition

Baseball: Dolphins overcome 3-run deficit for win

Girls Lacrosse: Rogorzenski leads Barnstable to a 10-8 win over Falmouth

School tennis: Barnstable overpowers Nauset

Girls lacrosse: Amelia Way scores 4 goals in CCA’s 14-4 win over Sturgis West

Softball: Unbeaten D-Y defeats Vineyard for 5th straight win

School volleyball: Sawyer Jr. leads Red Raiders over Quincy

Monomoy softball powers up

High school Girls lacrosse: Lakers dominate Canalmen in SCC showdown

Girls lacrosse: Nauset uses draws to defeat Barnstable, 10-8

College baseball: MMA’s Bob Corradi gets a boatload of hugs — and jersey 12

School softball: Willette walk-off homer powers Sandwich

Matt Santos helps lead defending state champion St. John Paul II

Boys lacrosse: D-Y beats Nauset in ACL showdown, 11-5

Final McAlester News-Capital Roundup

This will be my last roundup of stories for the McAlester News-Capital. I summarized my thoughts on writing and working in McAlester pretty well in the last story listed here, so no need to repeat myself.

Instead, let me talk about how writing professionally affects blogging recreationally.

I moved to McAlester planning to continue regularly blogging on Goose’s Gabs. Maybe I wouldn’t match the five or six stories I wrote each week between the end of grad school and the start of my job in June 2012, but I figured I’d blog at least three or four times a week.

When you’re paid to write and spend all day doing it, the last thing you want to do is come home and then do it for another hour or two. For the most part I don’t even spend my hours watching sports, let alone writing about them.

The sports journalists who get off work and then go home and watch ESPN for another three hours astound me. I check ESPN.com daily and watch the occasional Patriots or Red Sox game, but that’s it.

I devote most of TV viewing to science fiction, superhero and fantasy shows. It’s how I create a clear line between work and home, and I’d like to think it leaves me more energy for the writing I get paid to do.

I started out blogging News-Capital roundups every week. Within a year that number dwindled to once a month.

I also soon realized ideas that would make for good blog entries would also make for good columns. My blogging creativity went down as my professional creativity went up.

I watched a lot of the 2012 Summer Olympics and blogged about them, but those occurred just two months into the job. Covering the Olympics is also one of my career goals, so it behooves me to watch as much of them as I can now so I’m better prepared when I get the chance.

But even that urge couldn’t rouse me to blog when the 2014 Winter Olympics aired. It also didn’t help that a) the United States didn’t do that well at Sochi; and b) Russia decided to invade Ukraine on the second-to-last day of the Olympics, killing any interest I had in watching two more days of Russian self-adulation.

I’m leaving the News-Capital for the Cape Cod Times, a paper that puts its digital product first in a way I think McAlester wants to but doesn’t yet do. And without a sense of how much actual writing I’ll be doing on a daily basis, I can’t predict if I’ll blog less, more or the same amount.

So maybe I’ll have the free time to start rebuilding this blog’s audience, which I’d guess has shrunk dramatically over the last 2.5 years. Or, maybe I’ll just abandon this blog entirely save for three or four Best American Sports Writing reviews each year.

All I know right now is that I’m about to begin my second job as a professional sports journalist after an almost three-year, extremely prolific and successful first job.

I’d say I’m on the right track.

Frink-Chambers to host ORES Area tournament

Krebs approves new fields for Pittco Youth Sports

Midweek Update: Red Oak teams second and fourth in Class B

Class A and B brackets released

Buffs edge rival Cougars

Wells leads Lady Cougars past Lady Buffs

Three Buffs, two Miners sign Letters

Cowgirls beat Haileyville, win Pitt 8

Cowboys double up Warriors

Senior Spotlight: Joseph Johnson makes one point count

Classes 2A-4A districts announced

Seven ORES teams still in playoffs

Midweek Update: Miners clinch conference title

Osife leads Miners blowout

Pocola’s defense stymies Lady Miners

Clift, Cowgirls beat Lady Warriors

Cowboys top Pirates, win District

Brackets released for Classes 2A-6A

Midweek Update: Ten teams make Regionals

Dawkins’ 37 fuels McAlester win

Hugo girls top McAlester

Boys and Girls Club joins PONY

Senior Spotlight: Chase Shearwood just keeps shooting

Ardmore sweeps McAlester hoops

Tigers too fast for Buffs

Lady Tigers shut down Lady Buffs

Davis, Savages win District

Lady Savages top Lady Eagles

Midweek Update: Cowboys, Hornets to play for State

Buffs tennis expects greatness

Know Your Foe: Lady Buffs face Grove at Regionals

Grove knocks out Lady Buffs

Know Your Foe: Buffs face Comets in Tulsa Regional

Buffs golf starts Monday

Buffs soccer goes coed

Weekly Update: Snow postpones basketball tournaments

Buffs baseball ready for new season

Young Buffs track team starts Friday

The journey continues

 

Monthly McAlester News-Capital Roundup

There are all kinds of sports groups in and around McAlester. There’s a Little League baseball league, plus teams representing several other youth baseball and softball leagues. There’s a softball complex that hosts leagues multiple nights a week and has been home to several larger tournaments.

There’s the Boys and Girls Club. There’s a bowling alley with its own dozen or so leagues. There’s a group of fishermen who compete in a weekly tournament series.

There’s at least one gym that sends people to mixed martial arts tournaments, and a tae kwon do studio that travels for competitions as well.

And on top of that, there are 12 high schools  and junior highs — 13 if you count Lakewood Christian’s small athletics program — all of who compete in anywhere from three to 12 different sports throughout the school year.

Every one of those groups wants as much sports coverage as they can. I get that — I don’t think less of any of those groups for that. And no matter which group it is, chances are at least a few of its members think it is the most important athletic activity in Pittsburg County and should therefore be covered more than all the others.

I learned pretty quickly that you can’t please everyone. Every time I choose to cover one thing, I do so knowing I’m sacrificing covering something else and risk angering that other thing’s fans.

So every day I make choices about what I want to cover. And one of the criteria I use to decide on my coverage is how much information the group I’m covering has provided.

If a group takes the time to send me information, that sends the message that they want coverage. If a group doesn’t, that sends the message they don’t want coverage.

I’m the sole member of our sports department. I don’t belong to a church or any social organizations in town, and I have a very, very small group of friends I see outside of work.

I try to know as much about what it’s going on around town, but there’s a limit. Contacting me is the only way to make sure I know about a particular event.

When I came into work Tuesday morning, I’d discovered that other members of my newsroom had been harassed over our lack of coverage of a certain team. Once I got to my office, I found a press release from another group, which was also mad about a lack of coverage.

The people harassing my boss and colleagues hadn’t tried to get in touch with me once in the last month. Now they were mad an event of theirs wasn’t covered despite alerting us to it just two hours before it happened.

There are people in the newsroom who have seniority over me, but no one knows or cares more about the local sports scene than I do. Trying to go over my head to get coverage is a bad strategy — the people you’ll wind up talking to a) are less likely to think your event matters; b) have had a lot longer to develop the journalistic backbone necessary to tell people to piss off.

If you want sports coverage and you don’t want to buy an ad in our paper, I should always be your first call. I can’t always say yes, but I promise I’m your best chance to get anything in the paper at all.

So when I got in Tuesday morning, I prioritized the group that had sent me a press release. Here’s my story on that, plus everything else I wrote last month.

The two fronts of the NCAA-players war

Softball Complex ready for WSL Qualifier

Firm beats Swag in extra innings

Rain cancels Downtown Detail blowout

Ultimate slowly growing in McAlester

The Firm splits first WSL games

Nothin’ Personal wins WSL tourney

WSL “Bash for Bats” tournament results

US finally catching on to soccer

School board certifies MHS adjunct coaches

The Firm wins men’s league tournament

Schedule released for Little League Regional

Volleyball camp wraps in McAlester

Photo gallery: McAlester volleyball practice

Kiowa’s Doyle signs with St. Gregory’s University

Williams looks back on Hartshorne coaching era

Ramsey wins Eagle Hill tourney

Thomas key to McAlester disc golf growth

Ex-Buff Fernandez reaches golf semifinal

WSL returning to McAlester

Softball Complex field crews hard at work

Disc golf takes local overseas

Lady Hornets edge Lady Buffs

Lady Miners come back against Cowgirls

Locals bowl for charity

Two McAlester Sluggers head to Florida

Local duo wins night-fishing tournament

The Firm wins softball season-opener

Big first inning propels Swag

Buffs’ Sistrunk sweeps All-State matches

Great Balls of Fire announces fall bowling leagues

Buffs, coach win at All-State

Texas-East beats Oklahoma in Little League Regional

Wednesday’s storm floods Softball Complex

Texas-West beats Oklahoma in Little League Regional

Louisiana beats Oklahoma in Little League Regional

Monthly McAlester News-Capital Roundup

Another month comes and goes, and with it comes and goes another month’s worth of stories. I remember last summer as a constant scramble to come up with things to write about in the three months between the end of the spring and start of the fall high school seasons.

If anything, this year I’ve felt like I have too many things to try and cover, and I worry about (and have taken some crap for) missing a potentially big sports thing in the area.

Between those two states, I’ll always take the latter. Plus, to me that shows development as a journalist that I now see potential stories that I couldn’t a year ago.

Here’s everything I wrote in May.

Midweek Update: Four teams make State

Know Your Foe: Buffs host four-team baseball Regional

Buffs golf makes State

Buffs split Day 1 of Regionals

Chargers knock out Buffs at Regionals

Lady Buffs ready for tennis State

Bulldogs top Miners at Regionals

Lady Buffs golf team 11th at State

Lady Buffs duo sixth at State

Stuart wraps historic softball year

Buffs’ Woodmore signs with Tabor

McAlester track sends 10 to State

Buffs golf 12th at State

Lake Eufaula All-Star Classic set for Saturday

Buffs tennis third at Regionals, makes State

Buffs AD says goodbye

Buffs banquet honors golf teams

Sistrunk leads Buffs tennis at State

Robinson fifth in state hurdles

And so it ends

Tennis banquet honors seniors

Jr. Sunbelt Classic still seeking host families

Buffs all-stars big in extra innings

Local black belt tests new system

South sweeps Kiamichi Classic basketball

South completes Kiamichi sweep

All-State tennis and slowpitch teams announced

Seven Buffs named All-District

McAlester United to host Field Day

Local angler makes Oklahoma state fishing team

Oklahoma announces Jr. Sunbelt Rosters

Miners beat Cowboys in summer league

Buffs hold Black and Gold Scrimmage