Paul Valencia column: All hands on deck for final weekend

Commentary: Paul Valencia

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In my dream world, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association would stagger the championships of the spring sports over two or three weekends. We newspaper guys love the fall, for example, with volleyball, soccer, and football all concluding on separate dates.

In reality, everything in the spring (except golf) takes place this weekend.

In the winter, the two biggest sports, wrestling and basketball, finish weeks apart, giving journalists the ability to devote large chunks of coverage. We don’t have to pick one over the other. The calendar does that for us.

But come this weekend, by Sunday’s edition, a lot of decisions will have to be made. What if Clark County teams win three, four championships on Saturday? Who gets top billing?

Well, we’re not even sure yet. Kind of depends on how everything happens Friday and Saturday around the state. But I can promise you that our coverage will be extensive.

If you are reading this column devoted to high school sports, you likely are one who enjoys reading about life’s little victories for our teenagers representing our local schools. And life’s bigger lessons, too, which include dealing with disappointment. Not everyone will win this weekend.

I’m proud to say The Columbian supports the coverage of high school athletics. And while football and basketball might be more popular, this coming weekend of spring sports coverage might better illustrate our paper’s commitment to our young athletes, and those who like reading about them.

This is an all-hands-on-deck weekend.

We’ve got award-winning writer Matt Calkins scheduled for baseball’s final four and Camas’ quest for a title. Calkins is our Blazers beat writer, but the Blazers never announce any major news in May, so he has time to ... wait, what? The Blazers fired their GM this week? Wasn’t that last year? Oh, you mean again? Whatever. Calkins will still be our high school baseball guy this weekend, and then next week, he can put in his resume to become the next GM.

Sports Editor Greg Jayne is our resident track and field expert, so he will be in Tacoma for the 4A, 3A, and 2A meets. Trust me, you need a track expert to properly follow that schedule. The first time at a state track meet can be overwhelming with all that is happening.

Then there’s Paul Danzer, or as we like to call him, Mr. Soccer. He loves the game, understands the game. He believes the Timbers joining the MLS is God’s gift to him, personally.

His gift on Friday is covering not one, but two state semifinal soccer matches.

First, Danzer will be at Camas’ semifinal game in Lakewood on Friday. He will then write (really quickly, we hope) and head over to Sumner for Hockinson’s semifinal match. If both teams make it to the championship game, we will try to clone Danzer for Saturday.

Me? I’m off to Tacoma to cover the 4A and 3A softball tournaments. No, wait. Never mind. Those tournaments have been split up. Instead, I’ll be in Lacey for the 3A ... nope, that won’t happen, either. In a remarkable turn of events, Southwest Washington does not have a 3A team in the state tournament. So, my love for softball will take me to Spokane for the 4A tournament. I also hope to find a story or two from the 1A tournament, also in Spokane. Congratulations, Ridgefield, for making it to the Sweet 16.

Closer to home, Tim Martinez will be pulling double duty. He will be coordinating all of this coverage, plus he will keeping tabs on the 4A tennis championships, being held in the greatest city in Washington — Vancouver!

Wait, not done. Our copy editors and designers, Jeff Klein and Kurt Zimmer, will try to make us writers look smart by catching our miscues. We will have staff photographers, and possibly some freelance photographers, giving us their best.

It’s a team effort.

This column probably reads like a commercial. But I am proud to work at a newspaper that still values the local scene. For those of you who love high school sports, this is a big weekend. And we should be there for you.

Paul Valencia covers high school sports for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4557 or e-mail at paul.valencia@columbian.com.