Welcome to the second Adam’s Angle mailbag of 2018.
I took to Twitter recently to see if any readers had questions they’d like me to answer. My first mailbag was just one question, focusing on the future of the University of Kansas football team, which ran in the June 16 Globe.
I’ll tackle a few questions this time.
Question: How many miles do you drive each year covering local sports?
Answer: I didn’t know the answer to this ahead of time, even though I probably should. Globe staff members turn in mileage reports every month and, thankfully, our office manager was able to look back at what I’ve turned in the past few years.
So far this year, I’ve driven 3,000 miles, which is a little ahead of the normal pace at this point in the year; I drove 3,058 miles in all of 2017. The big increase at this point is thanks to a couple trips to Hutchinson for state basketball. Perhaps I’ll top my mark of 4,634 miles that I drove in 2016.
Q: What was your favorite story to cover and why? The most difficult?
A: I don’t have one story that rises above the rest, but there are a few lumped together at the top. State championship games and tournaments have been the most fun for me because the stakes are so high.
The teams are so close to their ultimate goal and it makes every moment feel so much bigger. I’ve been fortunate to watch Senior and Junior A’s legion teams play in state tournaments, Atchison High School and Maur Hill-Mount Academy basketball teams at state, MH-MA baseball, multiple schools’ wrestlers, track and field, and cross country, and the Troy football team twice at state.
The first year, the Trojans lost to an excellent, big Phillipsburg squad and then they were able to knock off Plainville the next year. Talking to players and coaches, plus some fans, on the field after the win was really fun. Every single person I talked to mentioned how important it was to the entire town. It summed up small-town sports perfectly.
The hardest stories I’ve ever written was one year after the explosion at Bartlett Grain. I was a general assignment reporter tasked with putting together a package of stories prior to the one-year anniversary. I knew how sensitive the issue was for everyone involved and since I was just a few months into the job, I was a little scared of the assignment. I never heard complaints after the package ran, so I guess I did OK.
In sports, the most difficult moment I ever have is the interview after a season-ender. Talking to a coach after his or her team has been eliminated is always tough, especially if it wasn’t expected. Basketball sets the perfect scene for the mood – I’ll usually follow a quiet, somber team towards its locker room, stand outside while the coach talks to the players and then talk to the coach in a dark hallway or room with our voices much quieter than normal.
Q: When are we playing golf?
A: The answer to this particular person is June 30. Though, sometimes, you can hardly call what I do on a course “golfing.”
This is my second summer playing regularly so I hoped to be more consistent, but there have been a few outings where it looks like it was the first time I’ve ever swung a club. I’m not good, I know that. I just want to be respectably bad, if that makes sense.
Then there are the times where I feel like a pro, lofting a beautiful 9-iron high in the air and watching it drop a few feet from the cup.
On Sunday I golfed with my wife and everything I just said happened in the same 9-hole round. I lost the ball off the tee on the first, second and third holes. Then I came within an inch of a birdie on four and had to settle for par, and followed that up with par on two more holes. My golf game = box of chocolates.