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03/31/2018 - From The Press Box: Why I Love What I Do, But Can't Please Everyone

From The Press Box

Happy Easter!

Hope you are enjoying the family time this weekend.  Unfortunately, the weather may make things difficult for celebrating outside with Easter egg hunts and various activities.

Mother Nature is used to not pleasing everyone.  She's very much used to it.

In my line of work, I realized a long time ago you will never please anybody.  

The most recent case happened just before I put this column together on Saturday morning.  One of the things I do with this website is to maintain its presence anyway possible---including social media.

Through the Twitter account (@LNKPrepSports), I wished everyone a "Happy Easter" and mentioned to also follow us on our Facebook page.

Almost immediately, I got a reply on the tweet from a booster club account (I'm not going to reveal the school because they have other teams that follow us).  The reply was "We might if you actually covered Soccer."

It gained a few likes from their supporters but it struck a nerve with me.

Let's be honest, I'm not the world's foremost expert on soccer.  I agree it's a fast-growing sport and popularity in the United States is around an all-time high.  About a year or so ago, we did cover a few high school soccer games because I had some announcers with play-by-play experience and knowledge of the sport.

Those announcers, though, have since moved on to other jobs in the industry or have become preoccupied with other projects.

Many of you don't know that I'm basically a one-man operation with this website. 

Not trying to make excuses, but I do enough almost every other day to maintain as much daily content as possible.  Plus, there's scheduling of games, covering them, writing up recaps and archiving the webcasts.  In addition, I handle some of the marketing/advertising when time allows.

I'm not asking for a pity party....I'm simply stating the circumstances I have to endure with this website, which is wrapping up its 14th year on the Internet. 

My daily job is sports director and news anchor at KFOR Radio and this site has become my secondary job, both of which I truly love.

One can only do so much in a given day, week, month and year.   Plus, I have a wife and two children that I need to set aside time for as much as possible.  Oh yeah, there's personal time I need to take and following my kids and their activities.

Why I let comments like "We would if you cover Soccer" bother me is a reminder to myself that more needs to be done to cater to specific demographics, interests, in addition to what I call the main interest sports.

In a perfect world, I would staff people to do play-by-play of soccer, wrestling and softball.  If the resources were there, I would do it in a New York minute.
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When you are a one-man shop for the most part, who allows broadcasting students from the University of Nebraska to cover games during the football and basketball season, the task of catering to other sports demos is a bit challenging.

My box of excuses has grown old, I suppose.  I don't blame the soccer group for making the comment toward my Twitter post.  Even out of frustration, I would perhaps do the same thing if I saw an outlet trying to draw readers, listeners, viewers or followers. 

Maybe you could say I haven't become cultured in other sports, like I have with football, basketball and baseball.  I have called high school and college volleyball before on this site and television.  TV, radio and this website have also allowed me to cover softball at the high school and college level.

Sadly, soccer hasn't been one sport that I've firmly grasped and taken upon myself to learn the strategy and expand my broadcasting palette. 

Is it too late?  I don't know.  Do I have the time?  Unlikely at this point.

Maybe I've failed completely in trying to market soccer, track and field, wrestling, volleyball and softball for play-by-play purposes.  Track wouldn't be a play-by-play type sport necessarily, just simply reporting daily results.  I rely on emails from athletic directors or event supervisors to send me the results.

I do know don't just rollover and play dead with something you've built up over 14 years.  We have nearly 4,200 followers on Twitter, as an example, to prove we are relevant in providing information that caters to the Lincoln high school sports community.

I've helped shape the careers of young broadcasters, who honed their skills through before earning their college degrees and go out into the world.  I've had three kids (Wade Hilligoss, Michael Dixon and Matt Rigby) who have gone on to work for independent or affiliated minor league baseball as their radio announcers and communications coordinators. 

If there is anything else I'm doing with aside from providing coverage of games on the web as a service, I've become another avenue for broadcasting students to get repetition of improving their skills.

I'll leave you with this......

If I have a new group of students next year contact me about covering games, one of the things I will ask is whether or not they have called soccer, volleyball, softball, etc.

If I find a soccer announcer in that mix, I'll likely consider audio webstreaming games.

That will be my challenge.

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