Zone Read: A Hard, Valuable Lesson Learned By All

Writing has always come natural to me, but I’m having trouble finding the right balance of words in light of my raw, uncensored emotions during what has been a four-day struggle regarding a sensitive topic.

The wrestling match in my mind began shortly after the bombshell news broke involving two local high school “reporters” who, in reality, are sick, perverted monsters.

My internal dialogue tossed and turned between what to write, when to write, and how to write the devastation which is still ripping through a tight-knit Arizona high school sports community.  

I’m not a parent, but covering prep sports in Arizona over the past several years has allowed me to get to know quite a few of them. I understand how much they care about their children and how committed they are to be the guiding forces in their lives.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in this column talking about how both high school football, and the way it’s covered, have improved.

However, the improvements in coverage comes with its share of glitches.

The evolution of social media has changed everything. News breaks instantly and spreads like wildfire. So to do rumors, scams, DM’s, snaps and pictures which tempt vulnerable teenagers while making parents, teachers and school administrators shudder.

We continue to live in a fast food, me-first world where attention is craved and competition is fierce. In the classroom, on the field and in recruiting-Selfless rarely trumps selfish.

There are so many incredible journalists in this market who have a genuine passion for reporting and storytelling, while simultaneously providing a platform for the seemingly endless stories and accomplishments of thousands of student-athletes statewide.

In some ways, myself and every other legitimate source or outlet for high school sports coverage has been dragged through the mud with this week’s horrifying findings, which aren’t exactly slowing down or getting any easier to fathom. 

The work of ArizonaVarsity.com staff members Ralph Amsden, Chilly and Sports360AZ.com’s own Jason Jewell helped expose the ugly truths of these two monsters. National publications like The Washington Post have picked up the story which sent shock waves through high schools around the state on Monday.

My only hope is people who are in the communications business actually start communicating. 

There needs to be changes within the Arizona Interscholastic Association. No more distributing game credentials like Halloween candy. Unfortunately, they had to learn a difficult lesson, as well.

Nothing compares to what the victims and their families are dealing with.

I pray justice is served, and the guilty parties end up where they belong.