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Monday, Oct. 23, 2017: Holland Patent ends Cazenovia run in field hockey

   Leading off today: Senior McKenna Williams scored the winning goal in overtime to lift Holland Patent over top-seeded Cazenovia 2-1 in the Section 3 field hockey Class C semifinals Sunday.

   Freshman goalie Ella Buchanan made 13 saves.

   Cazenovia shared or won outright 11 consecutive sectional championships and played in five of the last seven NYSPHSAA state title games. The Lakers had eliminated Holland Patent in the postseason seven straight years, including a co-championship in 2013 followed by penalty strokes to determine advancement to the state tournament.

   "I'm very proud of this group, coach Renee Morrison told the Observer-Dispatch. "From day one, I told them we may be the youngest Holland Patent team in years, but we are the fastest."

   Calling it a career: New Dorp girls soccer coach Nick Kvasic bid farewell with a 3-2 loss Sunday to CSI/McCown.

   Kvasic, 63, was on the bench for 537 games and six PSAL city championships over 37 seasons. He also coached boys soccer at Port Richmond, Petrides and CSI/McCown, as well as a stint with the College of Staten Island men's program from 1987-1993.

   "He's an amazing guy, an amazing coach and was an honor to coach against him in his last game," CSI/McCown coach Julie Greco told The Advance. "He would help me with things when I first started coaching with all of his experience from over the years."

   Rethinking the approach: Greg Brownell did some out-loud thinking over the weekend. Given the state of the newspaper industry, a whole bunch of other media decision-makers should probably be doing likewise.

   Brownell, who took over as sports editor of The Post-Star in Glens Falls in 1999, admitted to having doubts about whether he's steering high school-centric sports coverage in the right direction at this newspaper and its website.

   Two paragraphs in particular tucked into his most recent girls soccer blog sum up his concern:

   "We get metric reports showing what people are looking at on our website. A mediocre football game will beat out the highest-rated girls soccer game of the season. This blog does well only in cumulative numbers, through constant contributions and relentless promotion. But a single blog post by other writers that addresses a subject of interest to a wider audience (for instance, just about anything written about Joseph Girard III) will blow me away. I sometimes look at those numbers and have a what-have-I-done kind of moment.

   "Have I built the wrong kind of sports section for the 21st century? Lots of people tell me coverage ought to be 'fair' or 'equal,' but the numbers say you're more interested in how the football and basketball teams did. It's like complimenting a restaurant for carrying liver and onions, then ordering the chicken wings."

   The Post-Star is a favorite of mine because it has a long history of quality work and has been a launching pad for numerous reporters who've moved on to bigger gigs. I get two or three requests a year from college students or recent J-school graduates looking for advice about breaking into sports journalism. My first advice is usually to not do it (I'm half-joking, but only by half) and that's usually followed by a suggestion to keep an eye out for any openings on The Post-Star staff.


   Having said that, here are some thoughts about what he wrote -- and what a couple of reporters I keep in contact with at some other publications are also thinking.

   (1) Metrics are a real thing in the online industry. Click data from websites may exaggerate at times, but it doesn't lie. What Brownell said regarding Girard is true. I tweeted out a link to my column about him on last week and my Twitter account lit up like a Christmas tree with 209 clicks on the link, 10 retweets and 21 likes.

   (2) "Equal" coverage is a noble idea ... that merits zero consideration. Setting quotas for coverage based upon gender or any other consideration is capitulation to political correctness rather than a sound business plan. If you're not giving the readers what they want, there are far too many other options for them now that we're more than two decades into the commercial Internet.

   From Sept. 1 through this past weekend, here's the breakdown of what the lead item to my blogs on this website have been about:

  • Football -- 28
  • Boys soccer -- 12
  • Girls soccer -- 8
  • Girls cross country -- 5 football site

  • Boys basketball -- 4
  • Boys cross country -- 3
  • Girls volleyball -- 2
  • Boys hockey -- 1
  • Boys lacrosse -- 1
  • Boys golf -- 1
   So just over 75 percent of my blogs have led with boys sports, and the statistics show that 10 of my 11 most-read blogs led off with football or boys soccer. I can write more about field hockey (see above) and volleyball, but a decade of data tells me that people do not read it.

   I think I've been threatened (probably too strong a word to describe emailed rants) with Title IX lawsuits three times over the imbalance between boys and girls sports coverage in my blogs. Not that I'm subject to the statute, but do you know what the penalty is for not being in compliance with Title IX? You risk losing your federal funding.

   Well, I don't get any federal funding and I doubt many traditional media organizations are getting any either, so the "fairness" issue should be out the window. (As an aside, more than 95 percent of donations made to the NYSSWA through our online link in the past four years came from males.)

   In an era in which a lot of newspapers are struggling financially, they need to give the readership what it wants rather than to strive to meet quotas on coverage. I can think of one media company in particular that has hastened the inevitable death of its daily newspaper by clinging to disproportionate coverage of the city at the expense of the neighboring towns where its readers live and its advertisers do business.

   None of that means I support entirely ignoring certain sports -- they all have compelling stories worth telling -- but generating revenue, which requires generating and sustaining readership, has to be the goal.

   (3) Elsewhere, Brownell wrote:

   "Girls sports, in particular, seemed to be gaining in popularity, with soccer leading the charge. I thought the demand for coverage would follow that trend, slowly building over time as former players moved out into the world."

   This is not intended as a slight to any group, but there's a lesson to be learned from professional soccer in this country. For literally decades, fans looked at the number of pre-teens playing soccer and said, "Just wait until they're old enough to drive. That's when you'll see (insert name of now-defunct soccer league) take off."

   Last time I looked, most of those kids-turned-adults were mostly driving to baseball, football, basketball and hockey games.

   Major League Soccer seems to be on relatively firm ground with 22 franchises and modest but reliable TV contracts, but the second- and third-tier leagues beneath it are in constant states of flux. Women's Professional Soccer lasted only from 2009 to 2012, and the National Women's Soccer League doesn't look long for this world despite an innovative collaboration between the sport's governing bodies in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

   (4) Brownell concludes with this:

   "I am not suggesting that we will stop covering girls soccer, or any other sport. But should I be plowing hour after hour into writing a girls soccer blog that is read by a relatively modest number of people? Would it be wiser for me to write a more general sports blog that addresses a wider audience?

   "Right now, I don't know. I've enjoyed writing this blog over the years, but reality dictates that we consider whether a change is in order."

   Deep down, I think he knows the answer. My question is whether some of the other decision-makers around the state will arrive at a similar conclusion.

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