Seven columnless years come to a screeching halt

You are reading the first sentence of my first sports column in the Fort Frances Times.
After weeks of fretting over a solid opening, I decided to settle for the straight forward and oh-so-obvious hook (if you’re looking to turn the page, I don’t blame you). That’s the best I could come up with. I’ve hit my peak.
I’m not going to lie to you. I had been lukewarm to the idea of writing a regular column since I arrived in May only because I felt it would take away from my primary aim of covering sports here.
It was my editor, Mike Behan, who finally gave me the hard sell last month. He stressed it would be something the reader can look forward to each week and a chance to cover goings-on on both our local and national sports scene–all laced with my bubbly opinion, no less.
And believe it or not folks, the creator of the “Moving with Mike” column, which had its beginnings in the sports section way back in 1987, started to make sense. (If this line stays, Mike must have forgotten to delete it).
So here I am, writing off the top of my head. To start, though, perhaps I should tell you a little bit about myself. I’m a 25-year-old Thunder Bay native who still watches professional wrestling and desperately holds onto the belief the Edmonton Oilers stand a real shot at winning the Stanley Cup–every darn season.
Ahem, moving on . . .
I’m no stranger to column-writing. The sports section of the Charlatan, Carleton University’s independent student newspaper, had a rotating opinion forum for all its writers called “Rant n’ Raven” (the Raven was the school’s mascot. Quite the delicious pun, no?). So I know how tough it can be to avoid stepping on toes in a community atmosphere.
I’ll save the story of how the Raven cheerleaders stormed our office looking for me in anger after I may have, technically, mentioned they didn’t exist on campus for another time. But I digress.
And fear not, residents of Rainy River District, for I’ve been doing my homework on this paper as well. One Sunday, I found myself leafing through the big dusty collection of archived Times issues to see what columns sports reporters of years past have written.
Unfortunately, not much in recent years.
Not since 1994 when Mike Freeman’s “Sportsline” graced these fair pages has there been a sports column at the Times. There has been three sports reporters between Freeman, now the news director at CFOB here, and myself. Three reporters who, for whatever reason, decided not to run them.
I guess the seven-year itch is over. To Rob Drinkwater, Brian Bowman, and Jennifer Battler, I say, although I’ve never met any of you, I will do my best to carry this weekly tradition as the successor to “Sportsline” in your honour.
And to Mike Freeman, I say, if you want some semblance of a column back, send us a letter.
Now on to the shout outs.
“Shout outs” is a term born from Generation X, Y, or whatever they or we call themselves. I only can define a shout out has a way to acknowledge the feats of our district athletes.
I’m basically calling out their accomplishments. Rappers use this term. Need I say more?
Trust me, it’s a good thing to make my “shout outs” list and I heartily encourage you to give me a call or visit the office with any news bits you may have. Perhaps your son or daughter is playing at a college or university, or someone you know won or competed at an out-of-town bonspiel, tournament, or Super Bowl.
Believe it or not, I’ve been known to miss a few story ideas and have things go right by me.
You can call the Times office and ask for me by name, contact me b-y e-mail at rvillagracia@fortfrances.com, or feel free to stop by and talk to me in person (we reporters are shielded by a grey divider but sometimes they allow us out in the open).

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Posted in Uncategorized