Fall Sports Column: Another High School Season with a Revised Approach (2024)

Fall Sports Column: Another High School Season with a Revised Approach (1)

Another high school fall sports season kicked off in northeastern South Dakota on Tuesday when Watertown High School’s girls tennis team notched a 7-1 dual victory over Sioux Falls Jefferson in Sioux Falls.

In the coming days and weeks, the rest of the WHS athletes — as well as those in the Class A and B schools throughout the area — will join into the act.

And the Public Opinion sports department, namely myself, will be there providing coverage for what will be my 37th season with the newspaper.

The coverage, like just about everything else in this world, will have a little different look this fall — one that emphasizes more human-interest stories and features rather than just a typical 15-to-20 inch story about results of a game/match/meet that happened two days before it ends up in print.

The coverage will be different, but hopefully it will be more fresh and provide information that is of interest to more of our readers — both in print and on our web site (www.thepublicopinion.com).

I’m still here, with a knowledge of area sports that has been developed over the past four decades.

The preseason coverage actually will open Thursday on the web and Friday in print with the release of a preseason roundup of the Arrow girls tennis, boys and girls soccer, girls fastpitch softball, boys and girls cross country, boys golf and competitive cheer and dance squads.

In the next couple of weeks, keep an eye out for:

• Area high school football preview highlighting some of the top teams and players. A number of area teams are slated to open their seasons on Friday, Aug. 20.

• Area high school volleyball preview that will also include the WHS team along with some of the other top area teams and players to watch this fall. Area volleyball teams are set to open their seasons on Tuesday, Aug. 24.

Fall Sports Column: Another High School Season with a Revised Approach (2)

• A preview of Great Plains Lutheran’s football, volleyball and boys and girls cross country teams.

• And last, but not least, a story about the 2021 Watertown High School football team getting ready for its return to Class 11AA.

I’ve been busy the last few weeks devising a weekly plan for how to handle the high school sports season. It’s still an extensive plan, but one that’s going to involve more than just going to event after event and writing notable stories about each one.

The plans, some of which will involve the public’s involvement on the web site, include:

• An Athlete of the Week web page, where readers can submit nominations for a weekly honor with the weekly winners being eligible to be selected as the Athlete of the Month.

• A top performers list each weekend highlighting the athletes who recorded the best performances in the week’s high school football games.

• A top performers list early each week highlighting the athletes who recorded the best performances throughout the past week in all of the other WHS and area high school sports.

• A weekly schedule list of area football and area volleyball games that will be updated with game and match information received each night from the area coaches.

• Photo galleries of WHS and area athletic events that will be published online and also used a photo package in print.

• Promos on top games and events, as well as feature and human-interest stories I didn’t always have the time to focus on in the past because of running from one event to another.

It’s important for me to let all the Watertown and area high school coaches, in all sports, to report results from their events each week so that all of the athletes can be included in top performers lists. I’d also invite area coaches to let me know if they have an athlete or athletes with an interesting story that others should know about it.

Hopefully, those plans will keep our current subscribers happy and also attract a new generation of readers, many who will head online for their coverage.

Some of it is change, change for me and change for you. But change isn’t necessarily bad. The idea is to focus the time on doing things that research shows people are reading.

There will be things, such as coverage of sub-varsity events, that won’t get the same play. But as I’ve told many people through the years, those sub-varsity performers will eventually get to the varsity level.

Just know, I’m still here doing what I can to let the public know about what is happening with the athletes and teams from Watertown and other area high schools throughout northeastern South Dakota.

Fall Sports Column: Another High School Season with a Revised Approach (2024)


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