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Football just around the corner

The summer sports season is quickly drawing to a close and before you know it footballs will be flying, pads popping, soccer balls sailing, cross country runners jogging, and volleyballs spiking.by: SELF-PORTRAIT - Sports Editor John Brewington

The first football and soccer games are just a month away. Official practices are still two weeks off and there is a dead week when nothing is officially allowed.

I haven’t quite figured out what my role at the newspaper will be this fall, but my guess is I’ll be shooting some pictures and maybe doing a little writing now and then. I’ve been trying to retire, but my original end date of June 28 has long come and gone.

A new sports editor will soon be in place, but I’m going to stick around and work on our annual Fall Sports Preview.

It’s a publication I started many years ago. The first ones I did at another paper were more of football previews, but it gradually morphed into a full fall sports preview including volleyball and cross country. Then soccer came along and we had 10 local varsity fall sports teams—two football, two volleyball, two cross country, and four soccer teams.

The predecessor to the first fall sports preview was a special section we put together when St. Helens made their first football playoffs since something like the early 50s. That came when they dropped into a lower classification into what is now the 4A ranks (it was 3A then).

The section has always been well received by readers and advertisers alike.

It is a lot of work and for many years I always spent Labor Day Weekend putting it together. And then they started having endowment football games on the Friday evening before Labor Day, bringing the season total to 10 games.

Now it appears that they are back to nine games in the regular season, but teams still start on the Friday before Labor Day.

For us, however, we started publishing on Fridays which gives us a little more time to get the section done before it has to leave the office.

Oddly enough, this year is the first one we can remember in while that both St. Helens and Scappoose both start play on the road. That may just be selective (or perhaps repressed) memory stemming from the trauma of driving on Friday night before Labor Day. This year St. Helens is at Cleveland and Scappoose at Roosevelt. They are both at home the next weekend. Scappoose hosts Estacada and St. Helens hosts Wilsonville. And they’re both at home the weekend after that as well.

I haven’t studied the teams enough to make predictions just yet. St. Helens will have a new coach and a different type offense this year. Scappoose lost some athletes but brings back a good crew. The early signs are very hopeful for both squads.

I was looking forward to retirement, but as football approaches I find myself think about getting out and shooting some pictures. I started working for a paper here in Columbia County over 40 years ago.

I didn’t have a camera at first, at least a SLR (single lens reflex) camera, so I purloined a Canon from my father and bought a big lens for it.

Not too much later, Gary Moore, the state Nikon rep and a St. Helens resident came in and I purchased a Nikon from him and some lenses. It was an FM2, a real road warrior type camera. I had a speed drive on it (3.5 frames per second) and I just loved the sound of it going off. I still have that film camera and it still works. Of course, virtually no one uses film anymore—at least in the newspaper business.

I have to admit, I love the new digital age. I’m on my second Nikon, an upgraded version of the first one. My new camera, a D7000, takes six frames per second and it can be adjusted to take pictures on the often poorly lit football fields. Taking football or soccer pictures in daylight is a joy.

I shot a few pictures at the rodeo on Friday night this past week. It wasn’t my first rodeo. My first was actually as an intern for the Omak Chronicle—and I went to the Omak Stampede and Suicide Race. I think I tried to use the shop Yashica-D for those with mixed results. It’s much easier with digital and a big lens.

So, I guess I’m thinking that even with retirement pending, I may still have to make it out to the sidelines for football, and then there’s wrestling and basketball, and softball. It might be fun just to attend games when I want to go to games. I’m thinking retirement will be a work in progress. We’ll see how that goes.

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