In fact, even in journalism, sportswriters are often taken less seriously than news reporters who write about more "serious" matters. Though I've always been a little piqued by that comparison, it does contain traces of truth. After all, sportswriters, whether they be covering high school or professional sports, are essentially writing about games most of us played as kids. When compared to hard-hitting stories about murder cases, health care and fires, sports can seem rather picayune.
But, at there best, sports bestow special moments on athletes that they carry with them for the rest of their lives and sportswriters have the honor of transcribing those moments onto the printed page. And, on those days when sad or tragic stories swim through the news section — our news reporters cover those events better than I ever could — of the paper, sports offer a refreshing tonic.
For me, the best part of writing about Ottumwa's athletes is to be able to communicate their stories to readers. And, I really appreciate how polite and generous the Bulldog athletes and coaches have been with their time, as they helped me do that as accurately as possible.
To quote the Grateful Dead with a slight twist to fit the narrative, looking back on my year in Ottumwa, lately it occurs to me what a long, great trip it's been.