3 years on the job and going for moreby Andy Morales on Aug. 09, 2012, under Sports
I’ve been at this for three years now with almost 2,000 stories and a lot of memories to go with it.
Depending on how you calculate it, I will officially reach 1 million views sometime this school year. I suspect most people read my page like a newspaper and scroll through the stories so it’s hard to say what the real (higher) number of views actually is.
I do know I have put out an average of two stories a day with the longest period of inactivity probably being three days at the most. I know from my emails that there are those who get very upset when I miss a day or two but there are also those who understand when I need a vacation.
I did not plan on being so prolific when I decided to take this task on. I thought maybe a football story every week and something else every now and then. You know, just like everybody else does it (with an emphasis on “then” rather than “now”).
I understand the cost analysis that goes along with deciding to drop high school and youth sport stories in favor of David Beckham. But I also know that I have very few costs (and very few profits) so I can afford to visit schools as small as St. Augustine or as large as Cienega and treat them each with my full attention.
I am proud that I have been a guest speaker at both of those schools along with several others. I have gained all of these facts in my head that some may feel are useless. St. Augustine, for example, will be graduating its tenth class this coming spring and Cienega just finished its tenth year of existence.
You may not find that very interesting but, to me, that meant so many kids and parents went years without much recognition for what they accomplished on their playing fields.
The Tucson Citizen was always the leader in providing local hard news and news about our high school athletes but there is only so much that can be put in a story that can only be three inches long due to print space.
I have made a few mistakes along the way but I corrected them when possible. I answer all my emails and respond to almost every request for a local story. I get requests for college games, high schools in the Phoenix area and even MMA events. Those requests are almost impossible to fulfill.
I have only banned a few readers over the years. I think there have been two or three Phoenix area parents who believed everything about Southern Arizona had to deal with undocumented workers or thought that each message needed a few cuss words.
There was also the tennis mom who got mad that I did not predict that her son would be the number one player in the country when he was just barely a teen. She said that was irresponsible on my part as a journalist. She will never get my ear again.
There was also the basketball “family” who felt I diminished their own daughter by mentioning too many of her teammates in a game story. I found that one very odd, especially since they used the word “teammates.”
On the other side, my three biggest stories in terms of viewership all had to deal with the death of someone’s child. It’s an area that I feel very uncomfortable writing about but I somehow manage to get through.
My third biggest story was about former Tucson High and University of Arizona baseball standout Christopher Moon: “Spc. Christopher Moon: It is not heroic to drive a ball over a fence but it is heroic to put your body in harm’s way so that we might be safe”
He was the young hero who stepped away from a promising baseball career so he could serve our country in time of war and never came home. He is the Wildcat’s version of Pat Tillman but Arizona has yet to physically recognize him in anyway on campus or at the ballpark. I am working on that oversight.
My story about Moon was even picked up by the US Military.
My second biggest story was about the media’s reaction to the Christina Taylor Green death: “A note to the media: I hope Christina Taylor Green’s parents had one night of privacy”
My views have changed a bit since that story came out in favor of more media coverage mainly because of what I witnessed at the funeral in the name of the little girl. I witnessed three elderly nuns being told they had to wait outside in the heat for 45 minutes with everybody else rather than being allowed to enter the church to rest and, presumably, pray.
I applaud the sheriff deputy who looked visibly uncomfortable having to enforce that rule because he was told by the woman in charge that those were the parent’s wishes. Really?
My biggest story came from reporting on the deaths of former Sunnyside football players Rocky Samorano and Manny Aguilar: “The Sunnyside community is mourning the loss of two of their very best”
It turns out my brother Hector played football at Sunnyside with Rocky’s father Raul Samorano and Aguilar’s step-father, Paul Vega, is the baseball coach at San Miguel. I also found out former Cienega standout Daniel Gonzales is Aguilar’s cousin.
So, in a way, I was right. This was not just a loss for the Sunnyside community but for all of us who have been a part of the youth sports scene in Southern Arizona.
If you see me on the sidelines come by and talk to me. Your story may be part of my next 2,000.