January 2017 Cape Cod Times Roundup

The Cape Cod Times sports department is finally back to full strength after being down a person or two since the summer. That’s meant I have more days to cover games, more opportunities to write features, and more chances to get to know my beat beyond the nuts-and-bolts game recaps.

I’m always a bit nervous when my responsibilities expand. I was nervous when I moved to Oklahoma for my first full-time sports reporting gig, and I was nervous when I joined the Cape Cod Times, a bigger beat with more high-profile components (the Cape Cod Baseball League being the most obvious example).

But so far it’s been quite enjoyable to have the extra person. Feature-writing is always a bit more time-consuming than game recaps, but the end result is usually far more satisfying. And having a couple extra things to work on each week ensures I never have to worry about working a full complement of hours.

January’s batch of stories is a good mix of features, recaps and notebooks (which, to be honest, I kinda hate). There were a lot of bylines, and most of them were for articles I think came out pretty well.

Laine, Canalmen too much for Fairhaven

Falmouth’s hockey teams soar to victory, powered by love for lost teammates

Former Upper Cape coach Roy Porter dies of cancer

All-USA football honor for James Lavin

Surging Dennis-Yarmouth emerges victorious over Sandwich in basketball

Grieving the death of former coach, Rams came up short

Nauset’s LaBranche heads to LA

DiBona scores 32 in tight win for Rams

Strong defense leads to Monomoy’s 54-40 win over rival Cape Tech

Clippers find way to win in ‘sloppy’ shutout of Furies

Training Sharks: Arnold building a program at Monomoy

James writes another chapter in Barnstable history

Posted in Basketball, Cape Cod Times Articles, Football, Hockey, Soccer | Leave a comment

December 2016 Cape Cod Times Roundup

A former Cape Cod basketball coach passed away in early December, and my assignment that night was to help interview people for a story that ran the next day. It was sad, certainly, but even still I found it to be an enjoyable reporting experience, one in which I felt like I actually did some good.

The story, in which I shared my byline with another reporter, helped characterize the legacy of this man. It showed how much of an impact one person can have on a community, and maybe it gave people who knew him a chance to work through some of their own feelings about his death. I walked away from that story in a pretty good mood.

I helped with another story about death two weeks later, and this one wrecked me. Two local hockey players, kids I’d interviewed and gotten to know a little during football season, died in a car crash driving home after practice, and I spent part of my shift that night talking to coaches and athletic directors trying to confirm what had happened.

My part in reporting this story was much smaller than before. I didn’t get a byline, the follow-up stories on the candlelight vigil at the high school and the funerals a week later went to reporters on the community news beat, not the sports desk, and all of that was completely appropriate.

Yet even making a few calls concerning two dead teenagers was enough to send me into a tailspin. I ended my shift that night with a semi-incoherent rant against the unfairness of God, or the universe, or whatever was or wasn’t out there, and I did so loudly enough to probably make a few people in the newsroom uncomfortable.

The plastic Christmas tree standing in the newsroom also mysteriously fell over and broke in half while I was ranting, so maybe there is something up above, and it didn’t particularly like what I was saying.

I’ve since gained some measure of peace with what happened, maybe giving myself some measure of catharsis by covering a January hockey game that honored the two players. But I’m still surprised at how two stories so close to each other in what actually happened could produce two vastly different reactions.

Here’s everything I wrote in December for the Cape Cod Times.

Upper Cape win its first vocational football title

High school football scouting reports for state championships

Super Bowl preview: Unbeaten Clippers chasing after school history

Unbeaten Falmouth’s triple option blasts Marblehead for state title

State championship a payoff for Clipper seniors

Nauset’s McCully named New England Coach of Year

Rams lose season-opener; DiBona scores 14

Boys basketball: Grant’s double-double helps Dolphins win season-opener against Barnstable

Mashpee and Falmouth state football champs meet in hoops rivalry tonight

Mashpee blasts Falmouth 55-37 in season-opening showdown

C&I splits into two basketball divisions

LEGEND OF THE CAPE

Andrade’s 25 points fuel quick-starting Vineyarders in win over D-Y

Bourne 79, Wareham 76: Chris Davis scores 20 as Bourne tops Wareham for third straight time

Boys basketball: Pressure defense helps Whalers win third straight

Bourne basketball starters putting up big numbers

High school notes: Soccer star Dawson having Whale of time in hoops

Cape schools produced seven state titles in 2016

In Falmouth, cheers turn into tears

Posted in Basketball, Cape Cod Times Articles, Football, Soccer, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

November 2016 Cape Cod Times Roundup

I first started blogging in July 2009. I wasn’t yet sure if I wanted to pursue sports journalism as a career, but I figured the more I wrote, even if it was just on my own site, the better I’d be.

I picked the hosting site sportsblognet.com, mostly because I googled something like “free sports blogs” and that was the first result. It was WordPress, so it was easy to learn, and I stuck with it.

SportsBlogNet was a fine repository for my sports writing. I used “Goose’s Gabs” for various purposes: writing exclusive content such as my reviews of the Best American Sports Writing series; referring readers to stories written for bigger websites like Somerville Patch, Boston.com or DigBoston; and eventually posting weekly and later monthly roundups of stories written for the McAlester News-Capital and now the Cape Cod Times.

But then a new company took over SportsBlogNet.com, and with that transition came issues I’d never before faced. Several months’ worth of stories were erased after a hardware failure in February forced the site to reboot from a much older backup. I had to recreate several old posts, including a BASW review that I’m sure isn’t quite the same as the original.

I started backing up more frequently after that, but I stayed with the same hosting site out of convenience. But then it happened again about a month ago, a hardware failure once again forcing me to reconstitute several stories that I’d already written. This time I only lost roundups, so they were easy to recreate beyond the introductory paragraphs, which this time I  just ignored.

But I’m not going through this again. I appreciate SportsBlogNet hosting my site for almost 7 years, but I refuse to stay with a site I no longer trust.

So here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in November 2016, for the first time published directly through WordPress.com instead of a separate site that uses the same software.

With any luck, these kinds of problems won’t happen again.

High school volleyball tournament: Defending champ Red Raiders win top seed

Field hockey: Team captains play leading roles in locking down unbeaten D-Y defense

Field hockey: Seniors boost Blue Knights to 14 wins and back into playoffs

High school notes: Cordeiro finds joy in goal for Crusaders

Volleyball tournament: Dolphins sweep Stoughton in Div. 2 first round

School football: Andrade, Ford run with Mashpee’s legacy

Field hockey: Dolphins shut out Dragons in playoff opener

School football: LaFrange scores 6 TDs in Falmouth’s 53-19 rout of Milton

Boys soccer: Unbeaten Warriors begin tourney journey with impressive win

Girls soccer: C&I champ Sturgis West tops Monomoy to move on

Boys soccer: Unbeaten Nauset advances in tourney with 20th consecutive win

High school football Week 10 scouting reports

PURE SPEED AHEAD: Michael LaFrange has scored 19 TDs in Falmouth’s 9-0 start this football season

Girls volleyball: Dolphins run’ ends in semis

College signings week: Falmouth’s Couhig to play baseball at BC

Mashpee 36, Seekonk 0: Falcons win second straight South football title

Another South title for Barnstable volleyball

Boys soccer: Unbeaten and top seed Nauset plays Feehan for South title

Boys soccer: Whalers’ strong season halted by Cohasset

Mulhern, Holzman sign D-I NCAA baseball commits

Boys soccer: 22nd consecutive shutout earns South title for Nauset

Girls volleyball: Barnstable takes on Central Catholic in state semis

Girls volleyball: Barnstable defeats Central Catholic to clinch spot in Saturday’s championship match

School notes: Bowl game a dream for Tabor QB Billard

Falmouth football rolling into state playoffs

School football: New-look Falcons take another run at title

Local cross country runners honored

Girls volleyball: Barnstable looks to spike Newton North for 18th state title

Girls volleyball: Red Raiders sweep to 18th state title

School football: 11th straight win sends Clippers to title game

Thanksgiving football: Barnstable, unbeaten Falmouth renew traditional rivalry game

School notes: SJP II’s Campbell twins headed to Catholic

School football: Thanksgiving tradition runs deep for Red Raider captains

Thanksgiving football: Couhig passes for 3 TDs in unbeaten Falmouth’s win over Barnstable

Thanksgiving football: Couhig leads Clippers past Red Raiders 40-21

High school notes: Barnstable’s challenging schedule pays off with title

Opening Day Dribbles: Sandwich girls basketball team among squads starting season off with workouts

School football: Championship breakfast brings Falmouth and Mashpee players to Patriots’ home stadium

School football: Falcons learn from Nantucket loss

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCOUTING REPORT

School football: Falmouth back at full strength

Falmouth football offense wants ball first

Posted in Baseball/Softball, Cape Cod Times Articles, Cross Country/Track and Field, Football, Soccer, Volleyball | Leave a comment

October 2016 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in October 2016.

HS notes: Falmouth to honor former star Branch on Friday

ACL Showdown: D-Y takes shot at unbeaten Falmouth

WEEK 5 SCOUTING REPORTS

High School Roundup: Clippers net first goal vs. D-Y field hockey

Falmouth grad Jamaal Branch humbled by ceremony

High schools: Sandwich field hockey qualifies for playoffs

Sandwich’s Robbie Davison helps his teammates on and off the field

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL WEEK 6 SCOUTING REPORTS

Honeycutt’s TD sends Nauset to 32-26 win over Sandwich

Morse’s goal the winner in ACL showdown

Twilight run draws thousands for annual ‘fun’ meet

High school notes: SJP II to play in Compass Challenge

Goal in last minute pulls Sandwich into 1-1 tie with Monomoy

Monomoy names Guillemette new AD

Mashpee mourns passing of JV soccer coach

High school notes: Sturgis East’s LaMotte closes in on another school record

School football: Monomoy takes aim at a playoff spot

School football: Week 7 Scouting reports

SJP II’s Tim Jordan is a receiver, a cornerback, a safety, a kick returner … and, oh, a ministry retreat leader

Starting with TD on first play, unbeaten Falmouth pounds Nauset to win ACL title

Sandwich 4, Nauset 1: Souke’s offense pays off for Blue Knights

Falmouth, Nantucket receive No. 1 seedings

Girls volleyball: Barnstable wins Medfield Tournament

Bourne 3, Seekonk 1: Canalmen finish strong in South Coast showdown

School notes: Raiders, Navigators raise money for cancer

Top seeds Falmouth, Nantucket cooking at home

High school football: Week 8 scouting reports

Upper Cape quarterback David Coakley is team captain for the Rams and a hospital volunteer

Unbeaten Falmouth steps up the defense in 27-0 playoff win over Norwood

Eliza Van Voorhis becomes top goal scorer in FA history

Field hockey seedings: Unbeaten D-Y awarded top seed in Div. 1 South

Posted in Baseball/Softball, Cape Cod Times Articles, Cross Country/Track and Field, Football, Soccer, Volleyball | Leave a comment

September 2016 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in September 2016.

Former Red Raider Stephanie Swider is new volleyball coach at SJP

National anthem not an issue for Cape schools

High school notes: Another Sherman returns to Cape coaching

High school notebook: Brougham helps build up Nauset girls

School notes: Size could play big part in D-Y’s success

Red Raiders, Dolphins seek quick start in season opener

School football: D-Y grinds out 20-16 win over Barnstable

Blue Knights can’t slow Taconic’s Whiteley (4 TDs)

High schools: Nauset boys soccer beats Barnstable

Arnold named new coach at Monomoy

High school notes: Big volleyball numbers, and hopes, for Sturgis West

Posted in Basketball, Cape Cod Times Articles, Football, Volleyball | Leave a comment

August 2016 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in August 2016.

Cape League: Cotuit clings to playoff hopes

Final day will determine final playoff spot

Cape League: Playoffs begin Friday

Team Cape Cod ready for Babe Ruth World Series

Posted in Baseball/Softball, Cape Cod Times Articles, Cross Country/Track and Field, Football, Olympics, Soccer, Volleyball | Leave a comment

July 2016 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Structure is critical to journalism. The standard structure is called the “inverted pyramid,” the idea being to have every subsequent sentence be slightly less critical than the one before, so that no matter where the story is cut off – conceivably even after the opening paragraph – the reader still gets all the critical information.

I use the inverted pyramid as a general guideline to how I cover a game, but it’s not the straight decrease in importance you might find in a news story. I start with the most important moment, then work my way forward chronologically to the end as a way to show why that moment was the most critical. If I have background information that I think is relevant, I’ll bring it in early, if for no other reason than to minimize the drier play-by-play.

Features don’t typically follow the inverted pyramid, and every feature is structured slightly different. Some will work chronologically through the subject’s life, others will bounce back and forth between the past and present, while others will introduce a theme and then structure the feature around that.

For most of my features, developing a structure comes easily. But occasionally the story I’m trying to tell doesn’t lend itself automatically to one structure or another. Sometimes the parts of the story are so modular that multiple sequences of events are possible, and a lot of times the best order doesn’t become clear until the whole thing is written.

The last story here – which was good enough to get onto page A1 of a Sunday edition – was one of those “modular” features. I agonized repeatedly over whether certain parts worked better earlier or later, whether transitions successfully got the reader from one section to the next, and if I devoted enough time to all the different elements of the story I knew had to be there.

I’m still not sure if there wasn’t some alternate format that would’ve made my feature even better, but hopefully the effort I put into it comes across to the readers. I genuinely think it’s one of the strongest features I’ve ever written (it’s also one of the longest). Plus, it brings me one step closer to my career goal of covering the Olympics.

Here’s that, plus everything else I wrote in July for the Cape Cod Times.

Bourne 2, Brewster 1: Mangum’s 3 hits boost Braves

Cape Cod Baseball League: Feight’s slam fuels Mariners win over Brewster

Cape Cod Baseball League: Y-D tops Orleans to move into second place

Cape League notebook: Brewster signs Littell, temps

Cape League Extra: Packy Naughton at home in Harwich

High schools: Cape pitching foes join forces on Sandwich Post team

Cape League: Hallberg brings worldly approach to Orleans

Cape Cod Baseball League: Roberson, Kettleers continue hot streak

Cape League Notebook: Kettleers celebrate Arnold Mycock

Cape League Extra: Jordan twins remain inseparable

Y-D 8, Falmouth 4: 14-hit attack carries Red Sox to another win

Cape League: Falmouth rolls over Cotuit, 12-0

Local baseball: Wareham Legion beats Sandwich for title

Extra innings: Brewster’s Davis signs with Cardinals

Cape League Extra: Brodey doing his part to lead Cotuit resurgence

Cape League All-Star Game: League’s best hitters and pitchers go to battle in Chatham

West wins All-Star game; Hyannis star Zach Rutherford named MVP

Extra innings: Catchers impressive this season

Cape League Extra: Pitt’s Isaac Mattson is reliable reliever for Chatham

Cotuit’s Colton Hock shuts down Hyannis, Kettleers still alive in playoff chase

Home runs carry Falmouth to 6-4 win

Local runner who helped equalize Olympic track and field events for women returns to native Brazil

Posted in Baseball/Softball, Cape Cod Times Articles, Cross Country/Track and Field, Olympics | Leave a comment