I’ve said before that I think coaches of youth sports are some of the most selfless people I know.
And while many who coach school sports do receive compensation, it is small in comparison to the time and effort, not to mention the patience, it takes to make their teams successful.
Many get into coaching because they have a passion for the sport, or because they enjoy working with youth.
Others get into coaching so they can help coach their own children, and pass their love of the sport to the next generation.
Most coaches played the sports they coach in their own youth, and coaching is a way for them to stay connected to the sport they love.
I coached a women’s volleyball team several years ago and I found the job to be challenging, frustrating and a lot of work, but ultimately rewarding.
As a sports reporter, I depend on coaches for much of the essential information I need to report on their teams, such as rosters, schedules, statistics, meet results and of course, quotes.
Sometimes it scares me to depend on them as much as I do.
I’ve covered games, several times, in which I knew not a single player’s name and was forced to simply write down their jersey numbers, hoping to obtain a roster before my deadline.
One time I was sent, on short notice, to cover a lacrosse game, even though I had never been to a lacrosse game before and knew absolutely nothing about the sport. After the game I walked up to the coach and asked him, essentially, “what happened?” He just smiled and was nice enough to explain it to me.
Even though most coaches I deal with are very accommodating, I get the feeling sometimes that they regard dealing with the media as a necessary evil — or, at the very least, a low priority.
I wish I could change that perception.
Newspapers, especially small local newspapers like the one you are reading, help coaches to promote their teams to the residents of their town. They get people interested in coming out to see the games, and give the kids a chance to shine.
It’s like free advertising for their teams.
A typical sports story, including photographs, in this newspaper is between 30 and 50 column inches. The going rate for advertising in this newspaper for that size of an ad is, at minimum, $330 an issue. So if you were to buy an ad that size, it would cost quite a lot.
But placing a monetary value on something like a sports story seems misguided at best, because its value reaches far beyond money.
It’s a record of the events of people’s lives.
I once worked for a 150-year-old newspaper in Colorado, where we constantly had people coming in to look through our catalog of historic issues in hopes of finding their great-grandfather’s or great-grandmother’s names.
My hope is that 100 years from now someone will come into this newspaper office searching for the name of their ancestor who once played a sport for one of our local teams.
Now, if only I could get that roster.
For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Oct. 2, issue of the Camp Verde Journal or Cottonwood Journal Extra.