Here's how the Daily Times will approach San Juan County sports coverage this spring
FARMINGTON — Nearly a full year after the COVID-19 pandemic upended life as we know it, sports are back here in San Juan County.
It’s been a rough time having to wait, and wait, and wait some more for the state’s outlook to improve enough for this moment to arrive.
But the return of sports will look drastically different. The New Mexico Public Education Department and the New Mexico Activities Association announced Thursday night that schools in "yellow" counties will be allowed to have fans at 25% capacity for outdoor events only. Having said that, it’s even more paramount that the Daily Times continues its live game updates online during football season.
In previous years, fans could see the action for themselves and keep their friends, family and other community members in the loop about what’s happening with their favorite teams.
This year, fewer fans will be able to do that. That’s why the Daily Times will continue to provide timely updates from each quarter.
And with football games being staggered each weekend, that presents the opportunity to get out to see more individual games for extra photo and video content and possible feature stories that may surface.
Above all, the staggered list of games offers the luxury of spreading the love a bit more content-wise and not having to settle on one game per weekend.
Coverage will revolve around photos, video, live online football updates and storytelling just like in prior years. However, event results will be online each day and later compiled into a weekly list of scores every Monday for print subscribers.
Those who subscribe to the print edition of the Daily Times can also find at least one or two weekly features, at least one weekly analysis piece discussing either a key talking point from the prior weekend or “things to watch” entering the next weekend of games, plus standalone artwork from at least one or two of the scheduled contests every Sunday, Monday and Thursday.
If the Daily Times can make it to more events where artwork can be added to the Wednesday, Friday and/or Saturday editions, that too would be done.
Visuals from the Piedra Vista-Farmington matchups in football, boys and girls basketball and baseball, as well as visuals from events such as tonight’s Aztec-Farmington football game, will be reserved for our loyal subscribers.
The goal is to be all in on highlighting athletes through visuals and timely storytelling as they get back to doing what they love most.
With all the twists and turns, nothing’s 100% guaranteed
The last year has reinforced the need to be prepared for the unexpected, and constantly changing developments make that point vividly clear.
For example, while Los Lunas voted to move into hybrid learning — hence, allowing its teams to start sports and moving Saturday’s Bloomfield-Alamogordo football game to Bernalillo High School — Carlsbad had to revert back to remote learning due to 13 COVID-19 cases among staff and a shortage of substitute teachers.
ESPN 103.7 Alamogordo's Charles Winiecki reported via Twitter that Ruidoso’s volleyball team is experiencing COVID-19 concerns, and its upcoming match against Tularosa has been canceled. Also, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported that St. Michael's had to cancel its first two football games due to a positive COVID-19 test within its program.
Although vaccination efforts have ramped up and are ongoing, the virus is still present.
It’s important to be vigilant and continue taking necessary steps to ensure San Juan County’s athletes can play sports safely.
The bottom line
We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves just because things appear bright and closer to normal.
As exciting as it is to resume live football updates, generate stories and capture visuals you crave, there’s no guarantee cases won’t emerge and bring everything to a halt.
Every practice and game matters for these athletes, and they can’t afford for last summer and fall to repeat itself.
The Daily Times’ hope is they’ll see those practices and games through to the end, because it means the world to chronicle teams’ campaigns through multiple platforms.
Visit daily-times.com and yours truly on Twitter to see the latest updates, stories and visuals.
Matt Hollinshead covers sports and business for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577, firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @MattH_717.
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