Upon arriving home from Manchester, N.H., for the Rock Cats' season-opening series, I leafed through copies of The Herald to catch up on what my colleagues were up to in my absence.
I came upon the All-Herald section for 2008-09 scholastic winter sports and in my opinion, it was an absolute masterpiece. I helped a little, writing some of the biographies for some of the finest youngsters I've ever met, but the brunt of the work fell into the hands of sports editor Matt Straub, assistant SE Ryan Pipke and Andrew Lovell. I commend them for a brilliant piece of work.
For a staff with four people which has to come up with local sports news daily, it is very challenging to publish special sections that take so many man-hours to craft. The guys obviously worked long, hard and meticulously on this endeavor. It made me very proud to know I played a part in it, but most of the credit should go to the others. Some of our student-athletes will utilize this honor to help propel themselves into the colleges and/or jobs of their choice. That's what it's all about.
The All-Herald section always reaffirms in my heart the vital nature of covering local sports, although we try to do our best every day to bring you a clear snapshot of what happens in our eight towns. Aside from high schools, we are one of only 30 cities in America to have a Double-A professional baseball team. We also have a terrific Division I college and a women's soccer team (SoccerPlus CT Reds) in one of the nation's top amateur leagues (Women's Premier Soccer League). And what great high schools we have! We couldn't do what we do without such clear interaction from our local athletic directors and coaches.
Another thing I noticed is the dramatic improvement of our local news coverage since we became a pillar in the new company, Central Connecticut Communication. Page after page reflects our coverage in the eight towns instead of the excess window dressing that gradually crept over the paper from the time I started here in 1995 until the new regime came in.
My recent trips to Fort Myers, Fla., and New Hampshire, enabled me to view numerous other papers in the same circulation category as The Herald, and our paper surpasses them in my opinion. I could not have said that honestly a year ago when I was previously in Fort Myers.
I hope the general populace recognizes what has become so very clear to me. While I haven't had the chance to see CCC's other daily, The Bristol Press, I'm sure it, too, has captured the essence of what fires sports and politics in that great city.
This may look like a shameless example of self-promotion, but I assure you that it is not my nature to engage in that sort of thing. It comes from the heart. I wouldn't put my pesonal integrity on the line to gain brownie points. It shouldn't place me among the boy-who-cried-wolf crowd because I have never done anything like this before.
We HAVE improved exponentially, and we are still improving! I hope that more of you will invite us into your homes from Rocky Hill to Terryville and Burlington to Berlin because there should be a spot for us on your favorite coffee table. You need to know what's happening around town and if you give us a chance, we're gonna tell you.