I am a lucky guy – in some aspects, that is.
As a sportswriter, it is my job to convey to the reader the unbiased story of an event. There are times when that is more work than play, and times when that is more play than work. When covering a local team against one from out of the area, then the writing tends to focus on the local team. When two local teams are playing, then whichever team wins gets a little more ink. And in a local-non local match up, I root for the local team because it is much easier to write a winning story then it is a losing story. And with local teams relationships have been forged and it is easier to process happy than sad.
And as far as local coaches go, that is one of my lucky aspects. Over the years I have had to deal with some that were contrary and difficult, but not now. The tough part about a local matchup is that someone has to lose, and then both happy and sad have to be processed.
But this time of year is a little different than the rest – it’s playoff time. While many is the year that I had to leave the wagon in the barn, as of late I have been able to hitch onto a team and ride a good long ride.
In recent years for football that wagon has been painted green. I was reminded of that today (Monday) when I looked at the “Sports History” section of the Manteca Bulletin and the 2005 Manteca Sac-Joaquin Section championship win over Sonora was recounted.
But that was then and this is now. The Green wagon is back in the barn and this year it is the Blue wagon I am holding onto. Sierra made school history this year by winning its first SJS football championship – and its second major boys banner in three seasons – and is on the cusp of making it to a state Bowl Game.
On Saturday night the Timberwolves will take to the road to face Sutter at River Valley High in Yuba City for the CIF NorCal Division IV-A championship. But a scant few weeks ago such a contest for the boys in blue seemed less than improbable. Tied for fifth in the Valley Oak League with Weston Ranch and trailing a celebrating Cougars team by two touchdowns going into the second half of their Week 10 finale, Sierra blanked Weston Ranch in the second half and went on to a thrilling 34-27 come-from behind wind and snuck into the post season as the final playoff team.
But since halftime of the Weston Ranch game, the Timberwolves have outscored their opponents 121-41. How they will fare against the Huskies remains to be seen, but Sierra is fitting the dictionary definition of “peaking at the right time.”
And as for me on Saturday night, well, I have ties to the Timberwolves. Both of my children graduated from Sierra and I was part of the football program for a few years. A friend of mine from a rival school affectionately calls me a “blueberry,” but on Saturday night my job first and foremost will be to report on the game. It would be sweet if my focus was a winning story rather than an it-was-good-to-make-it-here story, but only time will tell.
Soon it will be back into the gym and covering anywhere from five to 10 teams per week in basketball and wrestling. But for at least one more week, I will get a little further down the road in the Blue wagon. Here’s hoping that ride does not end Saturday night.
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