Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2004, Chatter • Just doin’ my job

Lassen High School’s varsity football team gave me a fantastic plaque at Wednesday night’s awards ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Hall. Now my dear old mother taught me to graciously accept gifts, and I’d like to say thank you to the team’s players and coaching staff for the award. It’s always nice to hear someone thinks you’re doing a good job, and I promise I will cherish the award and the memories it represents. I like our local athletes and I’ll stick up for them every chance I get. That’s not unusual.

The Times isn’t a large daily with wide circulation. I’d bet only a handful of readers from over the Sierras will ever read my stories, and I doubt many local readers are very interested in our opponents’ statistical performances. In the same vein, I’m not very interested in publishing photos depicting great plays by opposing players either, even though the photographer in me usually presses the shutter button and gets the shot anyway.

Because we’re a small weekly, I have the luxury of hanging with our local sports teams. I wouldn’t enjoy such a relationship if I worked for a daily where readers would be interested in both teams. In some ways, this makes my job easier. Of course, it some ways it also makes my job harder.

Frankly, I always get a little uneasy when I realize someone’s about to honor me with an award for my work as the sports editor at the paper. I’m just doing my job for the Times and earning my paycheck. I’m simply a writer, a chronicler, a reporter. I really don’t do very much except take a few pictures and tap my fingers across the keyboard. My contribution is quite small.

It seems to me there are so many others much more deserving of recognition than I — and Tom St. Jacques, the Grizzlies’ head coach, recognized those folks, too. For many, many years, a local bank president and a former city council member and several others have worked the chains during the varsity games. Parents feed the kids lunches and dinners during the week, the football boosters work the snack bar and help raise much-needed money for the football program. Many school employees work behind the scenes without recognition for all the athletic programs at LHS. And how could I forget all the fans who attend the games, stomp and cheer for our local kids.

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again — we’ve got a great bunch of kids involved in athletics up here in Lassen County, not only at LHS but up the hill in Westwood and across the desert in Herlong, too.

If you don’t believe me, just attend a high school sporting event, and you’ll see what I mean. These kids, their coaches, their fans and their programs are all class acts.

So let me again say thank you to the football players and coaches at LHS for giving me this award. But I hope they will remember I’m just doing my job, taking pictures, writing stories and giving the teams and players a little bit of ink in their local paper. You’re the ones who do everything — I just watch and write about it.

God and Feather Publishing willing, I hope I’ll have the pleasure of writing about all of you for a long, long time to come.

Thanks again. You’re the greatest.

Sam Williams, Lassen County Times Sports Editor