Thanks Sportswriters

by Dan Hinz, Jr. on 09Feb2010 Print This Post Print This Post

A Big Thank you to Gary and Marisa for all the publicity they are getting our team in the Times.  Since our girls are doing so well, I wondered if we could get them some press in the Mercury News. I asked the question of one of the writer’s, Mark Purdy, if they were to win the State Cup, how could we get them covered in the Merc?

And here is his response:

From: MarkPurdy@
To: danhinz@
Cc: BGeracie@mercnews.com; dmatsuda@mercnews.com; MCONLEY@mercnews.com
Sent: Tue, February 9, 2010 2:37:21 PM
Subject: Re: Bay Area Youth Soccer

Dan–

Thanks for your note. And congratulations on the success of your daughter’s soccer team. That’s always a cool and special experience for a family. Our daughter played youth soccer on a team that reached the State Cup finals. She went on to play high school soccer at Archbishop Mitty where her team was ranked No. 1 in the country and then was fortunate enough to be part of a Division I soccer team in her college years. I have fond memories of all those years, both the ups and downs.

The short answer to your question is: Our policy for coverage of youth sports varies, but generally we use the space in our sports section for athletes of high school age and older. We have to use that space judiciously because of all the pro and college teams must also cover.

I’ve been in your shoes. When our daughter as playing youth soccer before high school, I would always get questions from the other parents on our teams such as the question you pose. And I would offer my opinion (which I still hold) that kids at such a young age should be playing because they are enjoying the experience and learning the sport rather than playing to see their names in the newspaper. I would also tell them that over the years as both my kids played youth club sports at the travel level (our son played hockey and basketball), I never had one of the kids ask why their game results weren’t in the paper — it was always the parents (wink).

But the truth is, when it comes to making the hard decisions about what we run and don’t run in the section, I don’t think it’s a philosophical issue at the editors’ level — it’s more of a space issue as I described above. We have so many great youth teams in the South Bay playing all sorts of sports — baseball, soccer, basketball, football, gymnastics, swimming, etc. — that it’s difficult to give attention to one team without making sure to include all the others. High school age seems to be the most relevant cutoff. And while I can’t speak definitively for my bosses on this, I think we also believe scholastic-related sports also carry more interest because other students at those schools, plus the teachers and members of the school community, are interested in the teams. We don’t cover much, if any, high-school age club basketball and baseball and soccer, for instance.

That said, I do believe that some of our community weekly papers such as the Willow Glen Resident, etc., do like to run stories on the youth teams from their particular neighborhoods. Perhaps you receive one of those weekly papers at home. If so, there should be a list of contact people inside the paper, including the name of the sports editor. The wonderful story of your team might be a perfect fit for that weekly.

Best of luck and make sure to enjoy the ride — your daughter will grow up fast, trust me.

Mark Purdy

So there you have it. I think he makes a great point at the bottom. And it’s like Jim’s said in the past: when they show a kid signing with a college team, whatever the sport, who is standing with them? The high school coach, NOT the club coach. Club coaches do all the work and the HS coaches get all the glory.

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