Most people look at the summer months and think there can’t be much to cover in sports, especially at the high school level.
While I’ll admit, it certainly slows down considerably around here in the summer — mostly to give myself and sportswriter Caleb Turrentine a chance to breathe before football starts — that doesn’t mean we’re slowing down our coverage. In fact, the summer gives us some time to really do more in-depth stories and features, roll out new ideas and start rethinking how to best deliver you the sports news in the coming year.
First and foremost, I’m really excited for Caleb and I’s new summer project, the launching of Inside the Lines Podcast. Each week, you’ll be able to sit down with yours truly and listen as we discuss some of the biggest issues surrounding sports in Alabama. We’re going to focus on our coverage area of Tallapoosa, Elmore and Coosa counties, but we also really want to delve deep into some bigger issues, controversies and topics people are talking about all around the state.
I’m also going to be reintroducing a couple of series in the paper and online. The summer is a good time to reflect on the past school year as well as look forward to the next one, so that’s what these series will focus on.
The first begins in today’s paper, Best of the Best. This will take readers on a journey of the top five moments from each of the Tallapoosa County schools from the past sports year.
The next two series will focus on what’s coming. Games to Watch will launch in June and will also have a digital component. It’s going to focus on the best three games you need to circle on your calendar for each of the five schools in Tallapoosa and Coosa counties. Following that series will be Players to Watch, and that will roll us right into the football season.
As always, we’re going to bring back some of your favorite video series during the new season. The award-winning Inside the Lines Live will once again be front and center; look for some changes and revamps there as well. We’ll also have our Player of the Week series, Pet Pick of the Week and TPI’s Games to Watch for the best games around TPI’s entire coverage area.
But sticking with what we’ll be working on during the summer — do you recall a column I wrote a few weeks ago about my to-do list for Lake Martin this summer? Well, I’m going to take on some of those adventures and write about my experiences for you. This might not end well for me after I do the Deadening Trail hike, so bear with me.
I also want to do a few more in-depth projects over the next two months. There are two major topics of interest for myself, both of which I think will bring a lot of insight to readers.
The first is about recruiting — what’s recruiting like for kids these days? How do you get recruited? What are the challenges? What are the differences if you’re a guy like Eric Shaw getting recruited by the best of the best or you’re someone who’s goal is more of a Division II or III school? What are the benefits of going to a JUCO?
The second is about the cost of a high school sports program. I don’t think a lot of people, myself included, really know what goes into the finances behind a sports team. Think of all those behind-the-scenes expenses from officials to scoreboard keepers to coaches. I want to delve deeper into that.
And as always, I want to hear from you. What do you want to know about? Is there a topic you think I should be researching and writing about? Are you curious about anything? Have you heard an inspirational story lately that needs to be in these sports pages? Please contact me. I’m always wanting to know what’s on our readers’ minds.
Finally, I hope to have some fun this summer. I have a few ideas cooking I won’t give away just yet, but look out for a few laughs as well.