As is the case with any job, there are elements of my chosen profession that I like an awful lot, and parts that I think are just plain awful.
Getting paid to watch sports? An obvious perk. Getting to watch our local youth succeed? Definitely a plus.
But one of my least favorite parts of the job comes after the season — choosing All-County teams.
It would be a lot easier if I had some sort of bias coming in. I could load the team full of nothing but Buffaloes, or nothing but Stallions, or nothing but Cowboys, and wouldn’t bat an eye.
But I don’t have any rooting interest. I really, really like all of the kids on all of the teams in the area. That means that at the end of a basketball season, I’m forced to choose between two athletes I feel are worthy of the same honor, whether it be Most Valuable Player honors or a spot on the First Team.
I know it’s an exercise in futility. No matter who I choose, someone’s going to be disappointed. A coach or parent is going to feel that their player deserves that spot ahead of someone else who got it. And, you know what? I can’t blame them or even necessarily disagree with them.
In fact, I would be somewhat upset if they weren’t a little disappointed. After all, it’s kind of their job to stick up for their athletes.
It’s difficult for me to pick a list of the best athletes in any given sport, and then have to justify why certain kids were left off or weren’t given top billing — especially when there’s a legitimate case to be made. In fact, if I had unlimited time, I could probably come up with four or five different versions of the All-County basketball team and feel good about all the kids who were on it, and still lament that certain kids weren’t or continually go back and forth over who the MVP should be. Certainly, the choices are clearer in some years than they are in others, but this year was particularly difficult.
Athletes: just know that if you weren’t selected this past season, it doesn’t mean you weren’t worthy of the prize. It’s just that there are only so many spots available.
And I truly appreciate those of you who make these decisions so difficult. It’s why covering sports in Tooele County is so enjoyable.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. He graduated from the only high school in Grand County, which meant there was no All-County team to be picked. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.