Too much sports?

We appreciate the many expressions of support the Free Press receives for its effort to cover life and events in the Marion County region. The one complaint we’ve heard most frequently since we started nearly 20 years ago now—and we don’t hear it all that frequently—is that we devote too much attention to sports. By some standards, that’s probably true.

From the time we launched the Free Press, we’ve had 1.5 full-time staff devoted to covering the six high schools in our readership area, plus Tabor College. That’s not enough staff to give comparable coverage to each high school, but we do the best we can with the help of local coaches who provide us information.

Some have asked why we dedicate so much time and resources to sports, particularly compared to other school activities?

For one thing, we have a healthy respect for what athletic participation can do for the student-athletes who participate. It’s about setting goals, then working to achieve them. It’s about learning the value of teamwork and accepting the instruction of knowledgeable coaches. It’s about developing one’s innate abilities to their fullest potential. Athletics are not alone in this.

What separates athletics from other terrific activities is the level of interest and sense of pride teams generate among our communities, as measured by fan support. With that comes the realization that students who put themselves on display before a frequently fickle fan base week after week deserve to be supported by quality coverage, regardless of wins and losses.

Marion County won’t be represented at state basketball tournaments this week, but that doesn’t mean our young athletes didn’t experience success this season. If they gave their best effort, they should be supported and applauded. And we are privileged to share the stories of their journey. —DR

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