I'm a numbers guy. That's no secret to anyone who has known me, even prior to the time I became a sportswriter.
I want to know if I'm in the minority.
Here's the scoop. Each week during the school year, we at The News-Gazette compile lists of area leaders for a total of 17 different high school sports.
The least favorite part of our day is scanning the obituaries. All too often, there’s a listing for a former area athlete, an acquaintance or a relative. It doesn't get any easier as we get older.
We always wind up thinking, “they’re gone too soon.”
Chris Herren told a heart-wrenching and compelling story when he spoke Thursday to nearly 2,000 students at Champaign Central High School.
There’s an equally heart-wrenching and compelling story he didn’t address. It’s how the lives of friends and family of drug users are affected, the agony and devastation they endure and the guilt they live with for years.
Anyone interested in checking out some boys' basketball players of the future should check out the action Saturday at Urbana. The school is hosting a 12-team shootout featuring seventh- and eighth-grade teams.
Urbana High School's two gyms will be utilized as will the Urbana Middle School Gym.
Veteran reporters, by nature, are cynics. And, usually, there's good reason for the skepticism.
When you've covered state tournaments of some sort for more than three decades, it's easy to predict what losing coaches will say in advance of their time in the interview room.
"We didn't play well today." (Translation: we would have beaten this team on another day.)
I know what's coming, and it's not going to be pretty.
Eighteen area high school football teams made the playoffs, which start this weekend. Sixteen of them decided to play their first-round game on Saturday. One area school (Ridgeview) picked Friday and one other school (Urbana) is presently undecided between a Friday and Saturday game, though the latter appears most likely.
Arriving early for Thursday night's varsity volleyball match at Urbana between the Tigers and the visiting Centennial Chargers provided reason for me to pause and reflect.
The obituary in The News-Gazette on Saturday told about the Friday passing of Paul Jarboe. It created an opportunity to reflect on a person I had known in the years that don't seem that far back.
This wouldn't have been possible five years ago. It wouldn't even have been possible last year.
But rules have changed.
The really important plays in any athletic event depend on your perspective and -- I suppose -- whether you're a parent of one of the players.