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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: My Christmas Wishes granted...turf and a video camera

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Christmas Wishes granted...turf and a video camera

Dear diary,

Tuesday was one of the most exciting moments in my 10 year history as a sportswriter with The Saratogian and Community News.

I spent most of the night inside the Gowana gymnasium during the voting for the athletic facility upgrade speaking with voters, friends and familiar faces.

The voters came out in droves to cast their votes. The voters ranged from school district employees, residents, parents who have kids in current programs and those that have graduated.

One of my highlights included seeing first-time voters, Shen ice hockey senior standouts Bryan Hunter and E.J. Reutemann, exercising their right to vote and help make a difference on a vote that was decided by just 23 ballots.

It was great to see a large turnout, showing that people cared; both to approve the proposition along with those casting a ‘no’ vote and finding out their reasons.

Several of the ‘no’ voters I polled at the exit gave me reasons, but not their names. I appreciate their candor, but not their unwillingness to share a name or hometown.

The ‘yes’ voters did come from parents of athletes, past and present and some reasons of supporting athletics and education. Some of them, all giving their names, even had reasons that surprised me.

One voter said ‘If you want to have nice things, you have to pay for them. I live in Clifton Park because it’s anice area, I like the school and I’m willing to pay for these things.’

Some of the ‘no’ votes came from familiar faces that I have seen through the years. All were supporters of athletics, the school district and its students. The reasons were financial, something I cannot argue with.

Several ‘no’ voters wanted the taxpayer burden to be spent on other projects, music, books, robotics, school bus routes and building repairs. All were justified and pertinent to each child’s education at Shenendehowa. Don’t give up, continue to fight, write and vote for what is important to you and your family.

The biggest smile on the night did belong to Shenendehowa varsity coach Brent Steuerwald, equally shared with new Athletic Director Christopher Culnan.

Coach Steuerwald will now have the opportunity to see the school district’s athletic programs grow from playing on cornfields, to turf fields and finally, synthetic turf. It was one of the biggest challenges Steuerwald has faced and it is deserving that Steuerwald Stadium will contain an artificial surface for hundred and thousands of students, not just football players to participate on.

Are you ready for your close-up?

For the past several years you may have seen me toting my Canon Rebel digital cameras (shameless plug for free equipment) to various sporting events. Many of my photos appear each week on the Community News and Saratogian sports pages.

Be prepared, I’ve got a new toy!

Our corporate parent, Journal Register Company, has outfitted all 22 of its daily newspapers with Sony digital video cameras, Mac cinema stations and editing software, Final Cut Pro. (Another shameless plug for more equipment).

I’ve been able to create several videos so far and have them uploaded on our new, re-designed Web site, www.saratogian.com. They are listed under the AP Video Archives and include previews of the Shenendehowa and Saratoga ice hockey teams, Tuesday’s facility proposal outcome and Mechanicville bowler, Brian Mariano. Look for previews on the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake ice hockey team and an outlook by the Shenendehowa gymnastics team to follow soon.

It’s another labor of love for the entire staff at both newspapers, but it is the wave of the future and includes its own sets of challenges.

We can’t video everything, we can’t stream live video of contests and it does take some time to edit and produce the final projects. We also are at the mercy of software, jump drives, video tapes, servers and the biggest culprit ever, time.
I think the upcoming weeks, months and hope, years, will be full of great opportunities for myself to offer even more to our readership as we become more comfortable with the process and equipment.

So, here’s looking at you Community News readers, through yet again, another set of eyes.

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