I can only be in one place at a time, so when I am not at a game - or return from one - my job requires a lot of desk duty in which I talk to coaches on the phone to summarize the contests I did not attend.
About three years ago I wrote a column listing the most overused phrases in sports quotes, many of which I will absolutely refuse to print. Nope, you will not see a “we’ve been working hard” or “we gave 100 percent” in my write-ups. I will go that extra mile – or in my case, ask additional questions – to draw out original thoughts from the local coaching brethren. Folks, it’s not as easy as it might seem, especially when a coach is reporting a blowout loss. Sometimes less is better, and often, I adhere to the adage, “if you can’t say something nice… .”
However, there are the jewels of the coaching profession who consistently provide me with thoughtful responses that spice up game stories. Below I have compiled a list of past and present coaches who have always given me interesting fodder to write about for the readers of Chenango County. As a disclaimer, I have enjoyed working with all of the local coaches, and no disrespect is intended toward any of those not mentioned.
Bob Branham, Norwich golf coach
Until I took this job, I only knew Bob from his exploits on the golf course. He was one of the first coaches to report a result to me, and he has consistently offered me quality insights in a sport that doesn’t have much in the way of play-by-play. His knowledge of his particular sport is on par – pun intended – with any coach I know.
Bill Case, Greene
The relationship I had with Bill for nearly 15 years extended well beyond the boundaries of the box score. Bill is truly a decent man with broad-reaching thoughts on all topics beyond sports. His successor for Greene’s girls basketball team, Dave Gorton, is a bit “edgier,” but no less thoughtful. Would you expect anything else from a high school English teacher who was a newspaper reporter in a previous life?