Soccer uniforms, scuffed-up referees, and senior night: Sports on Best of SNO

From the submissions we’ve received recently, we’ve gathered that winter sports seasons are wrapping up, and spring sports are kicking off (pun-intended). Therefore, what better time than the present to reiterate the type of sports stories we like to feature on Best of SNO. Hint: They usually don’t revolve around game coverage. We hope these will give you some inspiration and get you thinking about new ways to cover your school’s array of sports teams over the coming months. In the meantime, these are some of the best we’ve read over the last few weeks:

Defining a sport, by Sally Parampottil, Angela Yuan, and Nicholas Pranske, Coppell High School

You know all of those activities that often spark heated debates over whether they are a sport or not? Marching band, chess, and dance, to name a few. Well, those all exist at Coppell High School, and The Sidekick staff decided to put an end to the arguing. To achieve this, they laid out the defining traits of a sport, conducted interviews with participants of those aforementioned activities, and topped it all off with a hint of personal opinion. The result is an interesting three-piece series that challenges the reader’s preconceived notions about athleticism and pushes the boundaries of sports writing for the better.

Beneath the jersey: the 20-year history of sports uniforms at West, by Joe Goodman and Natalie Katz, Iowa City West High School

When thinking about sports coverage, uniforms may not be the first thing that comes to mind. To spectators, uniforms are a way to identify a team. To athletes, they may be a sweaty piece of clothing that has been passed down for years. But what if there was more to them than that? For West Side Story writers, there was. They did a deep dive into the budgeting for team uniforms, design progression over time, and the meanings behind color choices; all coupled with photo illustrations and a video. From the piece, readers are left with a greater knowledge of the decision-making process surrounding uniforms, while future players gain “respect and nostalgia deserved for 20 years of unmatched athletic talent.”

Scarcity of striped shirts: Why there is a lack of referees, by Drew Boone, Parkway West High School

Another component of sports coverage that is frequently overlooked are those facilitating the games themselves: the referees. While many attendees may pay no attention to these individuals, for others, such as heated parents, coaches and players, arguing with a referee is a common occurrence. And it turns out, in the Parkway West community, this is a big problem. The area is experiencing a referee drought, in large part due to mistreatment from spectators. With this in mind, the article moves beyond game coverage itself and looks at the potential future consequences of argumentative attendees. It analyzes a trend that could have a huge impact on school sports and that, ultimately, more people should be paying attention to.

For the love of the game, by Will Hanson, De Smet Jesuit High School

Surprisingly, for the amount of action and visual opportunities that exist in the realm of sports, we don’t get many sport-related video submissions at Best of SNO. That being said, this one from De Smet Jesuit High School would have to be the A-standard. If it wasn’t clear enough from simply watching it, we’ll break it down for you. The videographer uses a wide variety of well-composed shots and camera angles, the camera work itself is incredibly smooth and clear, the lighting is perfectly balanced, it contains two interviews conducted in a logical and relevant setting, the music choice does not detract from what the subjects are saying, it is an appropriate length, and the editing is spot-on. It’s clear that a lot of thought and preparation went into the production of this video, and the results speak for themselves.

Nine years in the making, senior gets his one shining moment, by Aaron Boehmer and Kirthi Gummadi, Liberty High School

Sometimes sporting events are about more than the numbers on the scoreboard at the end of the game. Sometimes, it’s more about those feel-good moments that will be remembered for decades to come. That was the case on Feb. 21, senior night, at Liberty High School. After six years of watching the Redhawk basketball team from the bench and hoping to play, team manager Matthew Philips got his shot –– and he crushed it. But not only was the emotional moment captured through intimate interviews. The embedded social media posts and video take it to the next level, transporting the viewer to the Texas gymnasium as Philips was swarmed by supportive teammates and documenting the storybook moment for all to see.

Read more great stories like these on Best of SNO