In some ways, I can hardly believe it's been just more than seven months since I began my current job as sports editor at the Lake Oswego and Prep Sports Editor for Pamplin Media Group.
I feel that I've really settled into the job, gotten to know my bosses and co-workers at the Review, established good working relationships with the varsity coaches at Lake Oswego and Lakeridge high schools, and finally know most of the best places to find parking at each school depending on which sport I'm there to cover.
I'm getting to know the athletes at these two great schools, getting to know their names, their faces, their strengths and their abilities. And even better, the athletes are getting to know me, to know that I'll be there to watch them play, that I'll be there to take photos of them when they make great plays, and to know that I'll be there to interview them for the paper and treat them fairly when I do.
On all those fronts, covering high school sports in Lake Oswego feels very, very right and very, very comfortable.
That said, I still have yet to cover a full third of the varsity high school sports teams at Lakeridge and Lake Oswego — those that play in the fall season — and to be honest, the summer season has presented a number of challenges, too. I'm learning — slowly, and week by week — which events must be covered during the summer, what other stories are out there and how to plan ahead.
While the final stories of the summer and fall sports seasons have yet to be written, there have already been some great successes in my six-plus months on the job. Working backward from the end of the school year, I'm proud that we launched the first iteration of the Lake Oswego Review's Athlete of the Year award at both LOHS (lacrosse/soccer star Lauren Gilbert) and LHS (soccer star Paul Seydel).
I was also honored to cover the great state championship runs of the Lake Oswego girls tennis and girls lacrosse teams.
Beyond that, I learned a lot in the spring season — literally the wettest spring I've had to deal with in my 28 years of high school sports coverage — about how to balance coverage between sports and genders, especially when coverage days were cut by at least a third due to the lousy weather. Should I face another spring as wet as 2017, I'll be better.
Looking back to winter season, my first season on the job in LO, this is how much I knew when I started — I knew how to find the gyms at both schools (having covered the Interstate Shootout many times) and I knew where the Lake Oswego District Pool was located.
Here's just the tip of the iceberg of what I didn't know — I didn't know a single athletic director or head coach at either school, I didn't know which days the Three Rivers League scheduled contests for basketball, wrestling or swimming, and I didn't know that Lakeridge also swims at the LOSD pool.
Thankfully, the good folks at both Lakeridge and Lake Oswego high schools kept answering my many phone calls and emails, especially athletic directors Brigham Baker at LO and Ian O'Brien at Lakeridge, along with able help from secretaries Cindy Frankovich and Liz Murphy.
By season's end, I'd gotten to know (and photograph and interview) many of the players on the Pacers' and Lakers' boys and girls basketball teams, wrestling team and swimming teams.
It's been a great ride, and one that's just begun.