Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What high school sports taught me about the future of newspapers

"Welcome to high school swimming," declared coach Heidenriech, as he passed out a 12-page document complete with the team's slogan, "You Have To Believe."

I thumbed through the packet and skimmed through page one on expectations. My eye caught the two-inch ruled line hovering above 'Parent or Guardian's signature.'

I'll have to sign there, I thought.

I flipped to the next page that detailed how to earn a letter in swimming and wondered if a Letterman's jacket was in store for the swimmer in our house. I ran my finger over the page looking for the issue that had caused consternation at the household. Apparently, the rules were more restrictive this year with the new coach.

Couldn't find it. Moved on.

The next series of pages were mapquest aids to get the parent from Point A, the school, to Point B, the select pool for each of the swim meets.

Once the packet had been thoroughly scoured and assimilated we moved on to other topics of merit: who would bring snacks to the meets or practices, making sure your student athlete took vitamins with an iron supplement, last year's biggest competitor graduated their fastest swimmers, and the upcoming fundraiser organized to underwrite the purchase of matching sweats.

"Is it too late to run an ad in the paper?" one mom asked.

The entire room erupted in unison (I kid you, not),"You can run an ad on Craig's List."

And that, dear friends, tells me that newspaper classifieds are dead.