Commentary: Joining the team

Commentary: Joining the team

An extended family member recently sent me an old Empire sports article written by my great uncle Vern Metcalfe. “‘Post Mortem’ Shows Bears Learning” published Jan. 17, 1963, and in 750 words my uncle dissected a Crimson Bears basketball game at Mt. Edgecumbe High School.

It’s a wonderfully written article that includes gems like Vern comparing the MEHS Braves to “uncaged bees” with “ten thousand hands,” and, conversely, to a “dormant volcano inasmuch as they didn’t do much.”

Vern, however, never mentions the score of the game.

In today’s Juneau sports environment — with two high schools and dozens of sports to cover — I promise to always mention the score of the game. What I can’t promise is to reach the level of prose Vern wrote.

At least not yet.

My goal as the Empire’s new sports reporter is to produce timely and passionate work that shows a respect for the rich history and bright future of Juneau prep and recreational sports. I also aspire to have as much fun as Vern obviously had.

I have been freelancing for about three months for the Empire, covering high school basketball and a little bit of hockey. I’ve enjoyed it very much, and it seems I haven’t worn out my welcome (yet) as I move from the bench to the starting rotation as a full-time reporter.

Some highlights so far: Watching the now state-champion Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team banter in practice about who gets more rebounds; hearing teary-eyed seniors reminisce after their final games; watching senior Ava Tompkins and junior Chase Saviers battle like it was their last game, every game, during a tough season for Thunder Mountain High School.

I’ve loved being a small part of some big moments that these high school athletes will remember forever.

I know this from experience.

I grew up in Juneau and attended JDHS during its last year as the only high school in town. I played soccer my junior and senior years, just enough time to snag a spot on varsity on our way to a 2008 state title.

I have worked as a commercial fishing deckhand for nine salmon seasons throughout high school and college, and will also be covering outdoors for the Empire. I attended college in Northern California and moved back to Juneau in 2013, where I accepted a position with the Juneau School District.

I love it here, though it can be tough, and look forward to being a part of the team at the Empire.