I have one of the best jobs in the world — forgive me, I’m boasting.
I’m not saying it doesn’t come with a few downsides: It’s hard as a nauseatingly adorable newlywed to cover games during the hours my wife isn’t working. And I often wonder if I get paid enough to deal with various critics who insist I’m “the cockroach who sucks the life out of the newspaper” — no, I didn’t come up with that gloriously graphic description.
But you know what, I have a pretty awesome job.
I love being able to stand on the sidelines at a football game and chat with various players and alumni. I enjoy waiting just outside a basketball locker room, listening to a team’s celebratory shouts of having just won on a buzzer beater. I relish opportunities to pass the innings, sitting in a shaded press box on a hot day in late spring as scoreboard operators and I spit sunflower shells.
This week, I was speaking with Darren Vaughan, the Transcript Bulletin’s community news editor and sports writer, bragging within earshot of the other reporters how good we’ve got it, especially during the spring and summer months.
Make no mistake; the most exciting part of my job comes on Friday nights under the lights. But the most enjoyable time of year is when the long-tolerated snow melts and a pitcher and batter stare each other down.
Vaughan and I are looking forward to it and we’ve already divvied up responsibilities come March. Sure, we’ll have events to cover Tuesday through Friday with some on the days that bracket the stretch, but everything mostly starts around 3 p.m. and is done in time for dinner.
Summers are even better, when the majority of our articles (are planned to) come in the form of compelling storytelling. And of course on the off days, we can be found on the golf course, or at a rock wall, when we’re not getting lunch at the bowling alley.
Even during the winter blahs when every game starts after dark, grabbing a bite to eat from the local culinary options or the homemade concession stand usually makes up for the maddening downtime hours between paper production and tip off.
That awful time waste is often the worst thing about the job, though as I mentioned, it’s not without its pitfalls.
The hardest thing, in my experience and opinion, is trying to please everyone. As is the nature of printed publications limited to the space of the paper and at the mercy of the revenue brought in by advertisements, I’ve witnessed a decrease in opportunity to give a proper and respectable amount of coverage to all the stories I hear about in Tooele County.
I grew up in a relatively small school in Salt Lake County. While the number of students in my time may have been equal to the count at Grantsville and Tooele combined, we were much smaller than the teams in our region we once had every right to call rivals. I was often the most valuable distance runner on our team, but I may have struggled to make the varsity squads of the titans around us. I was told by coaches I wasn’t good enough to play the team sports I was interested in, either. Eventually, I proved my own worth at the state level and helped my teammates become region champions.
What I’m trying to say is this: I know what it’s like to be the underdog with a chip on my shoulder. I know what it’s like to have a newsworthy achievement that no one else seems to care about as much as I do.
This past week, I’ve had a record number of complaints about the quality, quantity and variety of my sports coverage. All of those complaints have been at least partially correct: I haven’t given Tooele County the sports coverage it deserves.
But I hope I can appease the masses when I say that I would love to do more, though it’s outside my power.
Until it is, I hope I can ignore those cockroach comments and continue loving my job.
Stucki is the Transcript Bulletin’s sports editor and has yet to find a sport he doesn’t like. Letters of appreciation are most welcome at email@example.com.