This past week The Fort Bend Herald’s sports pages have been very similar day-to-day.
In fact, the layout has been the same for the past six editions.
The changes made were in the school names and the photos and texts honoring each school’s senior spring athletes.
The goal was to give a moment in the sun for all those who didn’t get the chance to write that final chapter in their high school athletic careers.
Many hoped to bring glory to their schools, community and themselves in their chosen sports.
But the moment never came when winning a district title or playoff berth was captured in print and picture.
Instead, The Herald rewarded them with displaying their photos and names and information about their successes in school and on the field and comments from their coaches.
There were nearly 400 senior student-athletes’ names published over the last six issues of the newspaper.
It was an honor to put these trophy pages together. I grew up in Fort Bend County and know what each of these schools means to its community.
And it would have brought me nothing but joy to be on the sidelines to cover these seniors shining on the field f play over the past two months.
My thoughts keep returning to the Battle of the ’Berg soccer matches, state events where LCISD competitors were regulars. There might have been state-level golfing for Fulshear. There was a promising Needville baseball team with a large senior class including a handful of future college players.
It feels strange in early May to be switching my focus on coverage to July and August -- preparing for volleyball and football coverage while crossing my figurines that athletics resume.
Before I turn the page on the spring of 2020, I want to thank the Lamar Consolidated ISD athletics department and specifically Athletic Director Nikki Nelson for helping me to put together these “Spring Sports Senior Spotlight” pages.
Coach Nelson reached out to me to do something for the seniors. I was already trying to formulate a plan but admittedly I hadn’t settled on anything.
To no one’s surprise, coach Nelson did the heavy lifting.
After we had brief chat or two, I began receiving a stream of emails with subject lines such as:
Foster Senior Boys Soccer.
Foster Senior Girls Soccer.
Foster Senior Baseball.
And on and on.
Then came the emails for Fulshear, George Ranch, Terry and Lamar Consolidated.
I soon had an email for 39 teams, each team submitting either individual photos or team photo and boatloads of information.
The work was done for me.
The only chore left to me was to get it on the page.
After a week of laying out the five LCISD schools, I had nailed down the formula.
There is no fast way to transfer bulk information and photos to the page. It just takes getting up early and listening to a few podcasts to get through to press time.
I engineered an information haul for our weekend edition.
Early this past week, I emailed the Needville coaches to ask for help in producing the same kind of page for the Blue Jays spring sports seniors that we’d done for the LCISD schools.
Athletic Director Mike Giles was instrumental in helping me get everything together.
Again, thank you, coach Nelson and coach Giles, for all your help in seeing that The Herald received all the information we displayed.
Additionally, I must give a heartfelt thank you to the coaches who responded. I had already reached to many about writing the story of their seasons being cut short.
They had to gather and assemble all of this information while still juggling family life in quarantine and teaching remotely.
I thank you, coaches, for all the hard work you put in for your seniors.
Finally, to the seniors, I hope that your school’s “Senior Spotlight” will be something that you keep for years to come and helps to ease any pain that might arise from not having experienced normal closure to your spring sport.
I know you would have rather been out there playing the sport you love and I would have been happier joining you out there providing coverage.
Reach Fort Bend Herald sports editor Ryan Dunsmore at email@example.com, on Twitter at @duns_more and @fbheraldsports and Facebook at Fort Bend Herald Sports.