Last Tuesday night, I wandered out to Ridgefield for a season-opening volleyball match between Camas and Ridgefield.
After the match, I introduced myself to Camas coach Michelle Allen.
“Oh, a new guy,” she said.
Well, not really. But, then again, she’s not entirely wrong. I’ll explain later.
Then I introduced myself to Ridgefield coach Sabrina Dobbs, who was more on-target with her remark.
“They let you out,” Dobbs said.
Yes, they did. In my 16 years at The Columbian, my primary responsibilities have been page production, getting the daily print product to the press.
So that means I spend most of my days in the office, talking to coaches on the phone and directing reporters who are out in the field covering preps.
This fall, those reporters include Meg Wochnick, Andy Buhler, a talented young writer who makes his debut for The Columbian today, sports editor Micah Rice and a team of correspondents.
In the past, I’ve been on the last line of our reporting crew, usually in the postseason when we have several events to cover.
In that role, I’ve been able to cover football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track and field, cross country, swimming, tennis, golf, wrestling, bowling and gymnastics.
But I can’t remember the last time I went to a volleyball match. So in that sense, Coach Allen was right; I’m the new guy for volleyball.
This fall, I asked Micah if I could get out to more prep events. I want to use that opportunity to change the way I present this weekly column.
Instead of writing about events that are coming up on the schedule — and the weather forecast — I want to focus more on profiles on athletes and teams. And getting out into the field will provide me the chance.
I’ve been given the chance to cover some Friday football, and I will continue so.
But while football is the king of the fall in popularity, it shouldn’t overshadow the exploits and commitment of athletes in the other fall sports.
In coming weeks, I’ll be venturing out to events for golf, tennis, cross country, swimming, soccer, and, of course, volleyball, and sharing those stories here.
So, yes, they are letting me out, and I’m loving it.
Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep editor for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4538, email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @360TMart.