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Like it or not, it's time for some football

September 09, 2004|by ANDY MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

Football, football, football, football. ... Football, football, football. ... Football, football. ... Football.

I probably could keep going and still not lose you.

It's that time of year. What else is there to possibly think about?

From delivery-pizza discounts to satellite-TV packages to you name it, everyone has their hands in it. Football.

Look at us. We delivered you a 32-page section last week devoted to nothing but high school and college football previews and followed it with several NFL pages in today's paper. It won't be until February, at the earliest, that we put out a football-free sports section, if that's even possible.

Lots of football is what most people want and expect from us, we assume.

But believe it or not, not everyone appreciates football, or at least not the seemingly great inequality of the sports. Most of the complaints I hear - they already have started - come from the high school soccer people, usually from the girls side.

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I politely listen and shrug my shoulders. I mean, what are we supposed to do?

Soccer might be the most popular sport in the world, but, as my paycheck reflects, our circulation area is not the world. (And if it were, there wouldn't be much space left for Washington County girls soccer.)

You'd need a plane ticket and a passport to find a newspaper that gives more ink to soccer than American football.

Still, we all have to get along in this world, and, at The Herald-Mail, we never stop trying to please in the Tri-State area.

I know that several hours of my life, as well as those of my colleagues', will be devoted to covering prep soccer this fall. Whether we're on the sidelines or gathering information over the phone, we're taking it seriously. We take our jobs seriously.

Many, many kids in this area play soccer, and we certainly aren't just going to forget about them. We don't want to, and we couldn't get away with it if we did.

But football still is king, whether you or I like it or not.

I didn't play either football or soccer when I was in high school. My fall sport was cross country, which also takes a back seat to football and often even soccer.

But the lack of coverage never really bothered me growing up. I worked hard in practice, gave it everything I had while competing in school colors and never once felt what I was doing was less important than what was happening on the gridiron.

If you need to see your name in the paper to feel important, you probably aren't participating in sports for the right reasons.

Contrary to how it's often presented to me, this is not a chicken-or-the-egg debate. Love of football came long before our special football preview sections. And, in this neck of the woods, football came long before girls soccer.

But look how much ground we all are making up.




Andy Mason is assistant sports editor of The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at andrewm@herald-mail.com

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