One word does not make a season

By: 
John Mueller, news@newpraguetimes.com

Congratulations to New Prague High School’s wrestling team. You finished second at the state tournament. You have represented your school and community well and have much to be proud of in your accomplishments throughout the regular season, post season and last week at the state tournament.

You had a fine season, one to be proud of and remember fondly for many, many years to come.

We, meaning the newspaper, specifically yours truly, caught a bit of flack this week for a headline on an online website post following the championship match vs. Simley. The headline noted the team’s “fall” in the Class AA championship match vs. Simley. There were dozens of online comments from folks who took the word “fall” to mean the team’s successful season was overshadowed by the outcome of the championship match and its ascent to the top of Class AA, and thus the team finishing no worse than second place, was not recognized. One person even commented it was, “the worst headline ever.”

Ever? Really?

We need to correct the record on a couple of things. Most importantly, one person accused staff writer Patrick Fisher via our Facebook page of writing the headline. He did not. Patrick spent nineplus hours covering the team Thursday. He sent me results and they were posted on our website to inform readers immediately.

If you want to berate someone for the whole online world to see, please get your facts straight. Patrick worked his tail off Thursday and deserves better treatment. As for the headline itself, it only referred to the championship match, not the overall season as a whole. Yes, New Prague came out on the wrong end of the scoreboard. The headline and short story only referred to the championship match. It was not a summation of a great season in its entirety.

A headline on the season as a whole would perhaps include something to the effect of, “A great season” or noting the wonderful ride to the championship match. After all, the team had several wrestlers rewarded for hard work and outstanding performances. We would never criticize high school studentathletes individually for their performance on the field of play. We were asked to make the headline more positive. The challenge becomes when you incorporate the scoreboard, an electronic device mercilessly recording winners and losers.

We often use the word “fall,” “falls” or “setback” as a softer term for the L word. We try to navigate the line between supporting students and their activities without being cheerleaders. Anybody notice we said the boys’ ice hockey team “falls” in the section title game? The team had a really good year coming off a run to the state tournament a year ago. One game, one match, doesn’t make the season. Sometimes, it’s tough to avoid using the L word.

The school used it online last week. It was used, like “falls,” as a summation of a singular event, not a season or a career.

We appreciate the feedback from readers and their passion for the team and students. It’s one of the things making high school sports really fun. We hope you keep it up. If you want to know why and how we do what we do, please ask. We’ll be happy to explain it. Thanks for reading The New Prague Times.

Superintendent search

It was nice to hear school board members deliberate their options between the two finalists they had selected. The differences between the two finalists, Dana Miller and Andy Vollmuth, were more matters of style and personality than educational philosophy.

The board faced a decision where no matter which candidate directors selected, they both would likely do a good job.

One interesting facet of discussion through the hours of interviews was board members indicating the importance of passing an operating levy question in the months to come. What that question will exactly entail is yet to be determined.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

‘Bingo!’

We received an unsigned note with some good news in the mail last week. As much as we don’t publish unsigned letters it was worth a chuckle.

The writer’s sister, Alice, enjoys playing bingo. On a recent Tuesday, she called and asked for a ride to play bingo since she was without transportation. Alice is a giving, caring person, so plans were made for playing bingo.

When the two were into their fourth game, the writer remembered why Alice was called “The Bingo Queen.” Shortly thereafter, Alice almost knocked her neighbor off the chair with an excited proclamation of “bingo.”

Three games later, the ladies went out for a smoke break. Our writer mentioned plans to a neighbor to quietly switch all the cards on the neighbor. Maybe that might give someone else a chance to win besides The Bingo Queen.

The following game, Alice once again hollered out, “bingo” using a card the author had been using the previous game.

“That was my card,” the author wrote. “I need a beer.”

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