Lucy Jensen

Sometimes it is a hard old universe to still be in old-style media, as opposed to social media that most people are familiar with in this modern world. I’ve been in, on or around newspapers most of my adult life and I still love the old dinosaurs, bless ’em.

Actually, I realize that people DO still read regular, news printed papers, especially when I am tardy or negligent with the weekly newsie column I’ve been writing for about — ahem — 20 years now, and I’ll get a nudge from someone reminding me of that fact. It keeps me going, it is a discipline and near responsibility that I mostly take very seriously. If my editor ever fires me, I shall likely go into a period of mourning.

I digress. A neighbor of mine sent me a message that her daughter’s tennis team had never received any kind of recognition over the four years she had been playing at Notre Dame High School. She told me they have been PCAL (Pacific Coast Athletic League) champions all four years and they are currently in the CCS (Central Coast Section). Her daughter Morghan also holds the record for the PCAL team championship for her school and maybe even the Central Coast.

Morghan Mansfield

I pondered on this factoid for a bit, knowing how youth sports are mostly well covered in local papers; but — newsflash — they don’t have the resources anymore to directly report on much in that regard and mostly rely on the parents and coaches to send in the info. The parents must be proactive to deliver that kind of news coverage themselves. When you look at the skeleton staff that are trying to put together a good news product either daily or weekly, it is a wonder we have any newspapers left.

Back in the early ’90s at the Salinas Californian, we had an enormous building in downtown Salinas with the press in the basement and the buzz of reporters, photographers and advertising folk coming in and out of every door. At one time, there were about 150 people working there in day and night shifts.

Nowadays, I believe, that they have a small office in a strip mall, and no one knows who works there except for the paper is mostly USA Today — a wire feed of yesterday’s news and little local anything. It’s such a shame for the die-hard newsies like me. I still love to pick up a paper and read it from cover to cover, although it can no longer be delivered to my house, and I mostly read it on my phone like the rest of the world.

The notable exception to this being the Salinas Valley Tribune — that still gets mailed to me and I love it! Who died, who won the game, who’s selling what in real estate — oh, and occasionally, the odd, interesting column or letter to the editor. Once I have read my copy, I send it on to my dad on the Isle of Man (between England and Ireland) so that he can catch up with South County news as well. Though he hasn’t actually been here in about 12 years, he likes to stay in touch. I also give copies of the paper to clients who move away and seem like they would like to keep a thread on the local stuff even though they have physically moved from our community.

And that brings me back around to youth sports. So often we rag on our young people for all the things they don’t do; but youth sport is a way of building them up and saying “Look at you! Now what are you going to do next?” Such an effective esteem builder!

I quietly love it when the Aztecs go all the way in the season or when the Wildcats thrash Carmel at volleyball. The friendly rivalry and camaraderie go a long way in teaching young people how to navigate the regular world, which, let’s face it, is an essential component of high school.

I remember, with great fondness, the buzz on the volleyball court when our daughter was playing. It is a rite of passage for most families to be able to cheer in the stands and watch your child be larger than themselves, be part of a team — good and bad. The lucky ones carry it on into college.

And this brings me home to Morghan and her teammates. I put her Mum in touch with the sports reporter for the County paper in the hope that some facts and commendations could be delivered County wide, since their school is in Salinas, but they play all over. I also thought that I would throw my own small contribution into the ring, since she is my neighbor and I equally love a good game of tennis and an opportunity to commend our young people. I am no sports reporter, let’s get that straight, but I see no reason why I can’t use this space to send kudos where the kudos are due.

Morghan will be graduating high school this coming year and moving on to study pre-Vet at the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D., where, we also hope, if she has time, she will continue to play tennis and breed her competitive spirit.

Go Morghan and go Tennis Team Notre Dame! I’m so glad we are able to give the credit to the students where the credit is due — in our small way, in our local papers that people — local and otherwise — still love to read.

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Soledad columnist Lucy Jensen may be reached at [email protected].


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