Ramble On: Back in the sports saddle (sports column)
August 10, 2016
When I was a kid, let's say 10 years old, I consumed myself with stats (not the mathematical kind, not ever).
A backwards ball cap on, taking jaw-unhinging pinches of Big League Chew, I'd scroll over the backs of baseball cards, studying and memorizing the batting averages and home run totals of the Griffeys, the Bagwells and — in hindsight, sadly — the McGwires.
When I flicked on the tube to see my guys' home run swings come to life, I eagerly waited for their season stats to pop on the screen as they dug in for an at-bat.
But, growing up in southeastern Wisconsin, home of the (then and still) beleaguered Milwaukee Brewers, catching glimpses of my beloved sluggers — and just as importantly to me, their current stats — were few and far between. And baseball cards, those collectible rectangles of joy, were obviously only so up to date. I wanted to know how my guys were doing every day.
Ah, newspapers. A revelation for me. When I finished my walks home from school, before I did anything, before I dunked my first of a rows-worth of Oreos, I slouched off my backpack, scooped up the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and pried out the sports section.
Reading the gamers and columns, this did not interest me; I just wanted numbers. Stats. Those box scores — NL and AL Leaders, everything — running down the page were why I had my nose in a newspaper.
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Fast forward to the age of 23, I am still consuming stats (and Oreos), but only now it's from the sidelines and baselines — pen and pad in hand, camera slung around my (un-ironed) collared shirt.
After earning a journalism degree at Minnesota State University, Mankato, I cut my teeth in 2007 as a sports editor at the Waseca County News in Southeastern Minnesota.
After a two-year stint in Waseca, I bounced around. Went to Michigan, where all of my immediate family now live, and was a sports writer for a newly launched website in Ann Arbor, where I helped cover preps and the University of Michigan football team. (Quick aside: My late father, Martin Roedel, a Michigan native, raised me a U of M fan, so getting the chance to prowl the sidelines at the Big House was quite a kick.)
Then I branched out of the Midwest and migrated south for a sports editor gig in North Carolina before eventually circling back to Minnesota for the same position at a five-day publication in Owatonna.
Simply put, these past 10 months working as a reporter for the Sierra Sun amd North Lake Tahoe Bonanza have been my first as a journalist without "sports" in my job title.
That's (sort of) changing.
While I will continue to keep a foot in the features/entertainment sector, I will be also be firmly planting a Nike in the sports field — recreation, endurance events, ski/snowboard races, preps, all of it.
With my pivot back to athletics, I will be handling the sports coverage of the Truckee, North Tahoe and Incline high schools throughout the school year.
And so, since I will be splitting my time between sports and other content areas, I'm going to use this introductory column as an opportunity to ask for assistance. Photos. Stories. Stats. I'm looking for submissions (especially photos) from parents and coaches throughout the year to bolster the Sun and Bonanza's prep sports coverage.
Those interested in submitting content, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2654.
Now, I know this juggle of duties won't be an easy task, but it's one I am ready, and eager, to tackle.
Bring on the stats.
Kaleb M. Roedel is an entertainment and sports/recreation reporter for the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. Connect with him on Instagram @kaleb_ray or on Twitter @kaleb_roedel.