Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Column scratch-pad

Tuesdays can be frustrating. Sure, there's lots to do on a deadline day for a weekly, but the most difficult part, I've found, is coming up with something topical to write a column about.

Here are the options, as I see them:

- The NFL, which I've already written a lot about. I'd like to avoid this if possible.
- The World Series, which I haven't really written about at all (except as a lead-in to the soccer column).
- College football, which I really haven't been following.

Either football option requires me to make a further decision - which game or team or conference to write about. I'm not writing another Steelers column yet, since that would really be me projecting my fandom into the newspaper, and that's not appropriate. Maybe something on Brett Favre and how he should be looking into the AARP? I could maybe tie something together between him and the 93-year-old who drove three miles with a body sticking through the windshield of his car.

Another option, I suppose, would be talking about the criticism I got this past Friday at the Fort Knox Eagles football game in Campbellsville. A parent told me that he'd like to see, "just once, a positive headline in the Turret on the football team."

I was pretty indignant, but I shut up until he'd made his point. He figured that the kids on the football team aren't pros, and that they need all the encouragement they can get. Seeing "negative headlines" doesn't help, he said.

For the record, last week's "negative headline" read "Knox drops in 5 OTs," and I told the parent that I thought that was pretty damn positive for a team who'd gone winless all season. I also pointed out that I'd defended the Eagles against editorial cheerleaders for the Elizabethtown Panthers and the Fort Campbell Falcons in a remarkably positive column earlier in the season headlined "Knox rivals overstating their wins:"

Elizabethtown's win [against Knox] could well have been a loss if a passing play called by Knox in the final minutes of the game had been a kick instead. With a fresh set of downs at the four-yard line, Knox quarterback Troy Meno threw into the end zone and wound up with a pick instead of a touchdown.

An easier call for Knox that night might have been to kick a short field goal instead of relying on a questionable pass.

But hey, I'm not the coach. All I'm saying is that the Panthers' win didn't exactly come in a rout, and certainly isn't much of a springboard to use going into the rest of their district schedule -- not with heavy-hitters LaRue County and Louisville Western still on their schedule, and an earlier savage beating by Central Hardin still shadowing them.

The Eagles, while young, have shown themselves to be a tenacious team. They drew first blood at Fort Campbell with a field goal by kicker Ryan Ogden, and nearly reversed the tide of the Elizabethtown game after a strong second quarter and a near-win in the fourth. They barely lost their season opener to Class 4-A Oldham County.
So one part of me really wants to write a column defending my editorial practices in the sports section. The problem is, there are already people in the community who are perpetually whining that more coverage isn't given to the niche teams at the high school -- wrestling and volleyball, for instance. Others whine about how the middle school girls' basketball team hasn't made the paper. And the parents on the baseball team insist that the Turret doesn't cover baseball regardless of the number of stories that appear on the front page of the Sports section. Stirring the pot can be fun sometimes, but right now I'm just tired of the griping.

But who knows. It might be a good idea to write something specifying how it isn't the Turret's job to act as cheerleader for the football team or any athletics program on post, only to report on what's happened. The idea's worth mulling over.

Meanwhile, the editorial pages of all the newspapers around are full of commentary on the Judith Miller fiasco. I'll try to post something on that later after I've read up on the subject.