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Starting new year with a clean slate

A VOLLEYBALL CLINIC includes a demonstration by Neticia Fanene.

A VOLLEYBALL CLINIC includes a demonstration by Neticia Fanene. Photo by Mark Gibson.

No matter what corner you turn, changes abound at several schools and their respective sports programs.

Like mixing all elements in a bowl and stirring, finding the right mix and personalities, together some of those potions can bring the best out when it comes to state and championship possibilities.

As fans and casual observers, that is the fun part of it all.

With summer activities in the rearview mirror, numerous athletes have put a new era in perspective with the start of the 2014-2015 sports seasons.

In the gorge, it has been some time since a local high school team has hoisted a blue trophy, but there have been a few close calls.

At least The Dalles Babe Ruth 15U Baseball team hoisted some hardware.

Several squads appear to be in line for earning that right, given strokes of solid play, limited injury, personal growth and a sprinkling of luck.

There have been many major changes in Sherman with Ron Townsend taking over as athletic director and football coach. At The Dalles Neticia Fanene is the new varsity volleyball coach and Greg Burkart is the new boy’s soccer coach, taking over for Luis Gamez, to name a few.

Other schools will break in new players and hope their returners further develop.

One of the many splendors of sport is figuring out the numbers, factoring them all together and adding the sum of those parts to get an answer.

Talent and depth aside, other factors, such as heart, will, dedication and desire are factored in.

It is definitely an inexact science to say the least.

All we can do is sit and enjoy the action between the lines.

Just as these local schools are welcoming a new challenge, as sports editor of The Dalles Chronicle, I too intend to become a far better writer and editor.

Trust me, last year provided some ups and downs along the way.

From misspelled names, identification mistakes, taking too long for a reader’s taste to produce a story or bumping a story for another deemed more relevant, much to some reader’s chagrin, I can take this past year as a memorable one.

I sincerely apologize to those I have upset or disappointed, as it was not done purposely by any means.

One thing for sure, I am going to work diligently to improve.

To a degree, I was happy with some of things I did writing and paginating-wise, but overall, I give myself a B.

Entering my fifth year here, I strive to earn additional awards for writing and photography.

To my credit, in all but one year here, I have earned awards in photography, layout, design and this past year, I claimed first place for best sports story, so that was a crowning achievement, especially given how difficult this category is.

There are several features I would eventually like to include in the daily pages, with the first being a weekly color Sunday section. I plan to institute a ‘Get to Know’ feature on the local athletes, ‘Player of the Week’ sections and a ‘State of the Team’ feature where coaches and athletic directors discuss the latest news inside the locker room or within programs as a whole.

We have expanded video coverage of sporting events on the web and I hope to post video interviews with players and coaches in the near future.

As a whole, the newspaper wants to continue with its top-notch coverage of the area – this sports section plays a small role in binding everything together for a complete package.

I guess you could say I need to get a life because I think about my job more than I care to disclose.

My philosophy is that you are only as good as your last story, your last interview and your last page.

I am not the best, and I will never claim to be the end all be all.

I love my career and desire to be a member of this community for many years to come, winning countless awards through it all.

The coaches have been great, the parents have been supportive and the athletes have been a joy to cover.

You are all my heroes.

I wish all of these teams the best of luck.

My hope is that they dream big and shoot for the stars, using passion and focus to outwork their opponents.

Heart and work ethic is something nobody can take from you.

Enter this season with a positive outlook on life and openly embrace a boxer’s mentality.

Get up every time, no matter how many times you fall – that will prove to many the guts you truly have.

Maybe, it leads to a championship triumph.

We can only hope.

Next year will be fun, and I am counting down the days for the start of fall sports.

If you have anything to say, just approach, call, text or e-mail me with suggestions, ideas or constructive criticisms.

Until we meet again.

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