It’s hard to focus on the blurry line between news and sports |

It’s hard to focus on the blurry line between news and sports

The difference between news and sports these days seems to be blurred. All of a sudden, sports sections around the country are being led with stories of rape and dead bodies.

Even on “SportsCenter,” it takes five minutes before highlights don’t include yellow police tape or a nervous district attorney.

After all, sports are supposed to be a release from societal problems, right? Isn’t the saying, after you throw your putter into the upper limbs of a tree, “It’s only a game, right?”


As I make the transition from news reporter to sports editor this week, I’m taking a certain philosophy into the sports section that seems to echo current events. Days as a police reporter in Milwaukee, Wis. drew me inside a world of gang-banging and bank robberies. I’ll never forget the day a woman ran down the street to find her son, in the doorway, accidentally shot by a baby sitter.

But alas, this has nothing to do with sports, right? Right? The activities in Summit County range from golf to paragliding and, in the end, the problems shouldn’t really be problems. Unfortunately, the connection between sports and news in this county is as strong as it is anywhere.

Ski races take place on National Forest land. Recently, the topic of conservation has fueled a debate on the responsibility of event promoters to clean up after themselves. Again, just when you think you’ve got a happy story about folks challenging themselves, we sports reporters get challenged.

What is news? What is sport?

In the upcoming weeks, we are going to look into a variety of debatable topics, ranging from the abuse of supplements by athletes to the playing conditions at the local high school. We will, from time to time, get serious.

That will not be where we stop, however. The real reason I play basketball or spend my lunch hour on the putting green is to escape. To see what my body has learned over the years of playing sports.

I want to see pictures in this section of people smiling, win or lose.

The reason we cover events in the county is not just to pacify the public interest in acknowledgement.

It is, actually, to learn what drives people and to share that knowledge with the community. Who are you to puke after a mountain bike race, go to a bar, eat a hamburger and ponder future training? Who are you to keep the string of birdies last Saturday to yourself? Sports, after all, are always just precursors to celebration.

From beer league softball to the Broncos postgame, sports only become important when we forget what we are actually doing (or, more accurately, what we are not doing – like work).

Anyway, I want to hear from the community. Keep me informed on the mindset and schedules of Summit County athletes.

After all, it’s nice to be recognized for hard work.

Accomplishing a goal, any way I look at it, is news to me.

Ryan Slabaugh can be contacted at (970) 668-3998 ext. 257 or at

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