Column: Bringing the life out of sports

Posted: May. 17, 2016 4:51 pm

Sports offer glimpses of life.

There’s more than just the score of every game. There’s the chemistry of each team, the backgrounds of players and coaches and the way the community can rally together.

There’s exhilarating triumph and bitter defeat.

The same is true here in Hannibal. There are stories here that are meant to be told.

That’s where I come into the equation.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Kevin Graeler, and as we head into the future, I am the new sports editor for your Hannibal Courier-Post.

Just like many of you, there is a special place in my heart for the state of Missouri. This is my home. My wonderful parents raised me just down the road in St. Louis, and I have never strayed too far from those roots. I am a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism.

Ever since I could crawl, I’ve been a big fanatic of baseball. I remember listening for hours to my radio, late at night, to hear how Jack Buck would call the play-by-play for Cardinals games.

I wanted to be the Buck of the future.

Soon, however, I realized I was much more geared to write than to speak. That’s when I started pursuing what it would take to be a sports writer. Ever since then, I’ve been on a mission to produce the most compelling sports stories that matter to my audience, producing work for the Columbia Missourian, Washington Missourian and Spokane Spokesman-Review.

Now is the time for me to make a positive first impression on you.

But it’s also the time for vice versa.

To be frank, I come to Hannibal knowing little about the history of the local prep sports scene. I know Hannibal-LeGrange University exists, but not much more than that. I know about the Prospect League, of which the Hannibal Cavemen are a member team, but I’ve never met their new manager or any of the incoming players.

What does all of this mean? I come with zero expectations of what Hannibal will be like. I have no real friends except my soon-to-be wife, Laura, though I intend to make a few more over time. I am not sure where this job will take me in the coming days, weeks and months.

Essentially, my first day here is like the first day of kindergarten all over again — except this time, I’m supposed to know how to count and be able to form full sentences.

My top priority is to be relentlessly local with sports coverage. The athletes in the Hannibal region will be featured within our sports section. Local sports will always have precedence in coverage over out-of-town topics, including professional teams in nearby metros.

To all those St. Louis and Kansas City fans out there, this doesn’t mean I’m forgetting about your teams. The Cardinals and Royals are two of the best teams in the majors, and their seasons will be chronicled within our sports pages. Same goes for the Chiefs and the R-… — oh wait. And there’s plenty of excitement surrounding the Blues, a perennial contender hoping this might just be its time.

But the point is, what I want is directly connected to what the readers want.

That’s why I will now take this opportunity to open up lines of communication between the two of us. There may be times that you feel very strongly about something in the Courier-Post’s sports section or on our website. Perhaps there’s a story you think I should pursue. Maybe you feel like it would be best to openly criticize the feature that was printed in that day’s paper. Or maybe, just maybe — and I’m going out on a limb here — you want to offer some encouraging words.

Please don’t hesitate to call my office number at 573-248-2754. When I’m in, I’ll pick up the phone. When I’m not, I’ll listen to your voice message when I get back.

Come visit the newsroom at 200 N. Third Street. We can take time to chat. However, since not many athletic activities happen in the newsroom except for when my paper towel wad misses the trash can, I’ll often be out in the community covering the next story.

The Courier-Post’s sports section will continue to stay on pace with the ever-changing world of new technology and social media. We will be ramping up our Twitter account (@HCP_Sports) with pictures, videos and breaking news every single day.

I am here to serve you the best way I know how.

Let the fun begin.

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