For those who don’t know me, please allow me to introduce myself to you.
My name is Melvin Tate. I have been a freelance sports reporter for the Wednesday Journal and Landmark newspapers since 2017. It’s been a rewarding experience, and with the return of the sports section, I will be handling the majority of it.
I have learned a great deal from both Marty Farmer and James Kay, who have served our communities well as sports editors. I have always been passionate about high school sports, and again I need to thank Marty for taking a chance on bringing me aboard.
My only previous writing experience had been with my high school newspaper years ago, and even then my work consisted of just a couple of articles. But I consider myself to be a quick learner, and I have been able to transfer my passion into producing quality work for both the Wednesday Journal and Landmark.
Like other high school sports fans in our communities, I was disappointed when the decision was made to temporarily suspend the sports section. But I also understood why — the COVID pandemic has greatly impacted all aspects of our regular lives adversely. Yet, I knew that once things started to improve, there was a chance sports would return, and my patience was rewarded. I am thankful for the opportunity Dan Haley has provided me, and I plan to do my best to show my appreciation.
The sports section is going to look different than the way it has been in the past. While yes, scores and roundups will still be posted, we’re going to place less emphasis on game stories. The vast majority of the section will be features — stories that spotlight the achievements of student-athletes, coaches, and fans.
Everyone has a unique story to tell, and our goal is to find out the values that serve as motivation for their successes. We want to present compelling stories that will merit your complete attention. I have written a few feature stories before, profiling several student-athletes, and I am looking forward to doing so more often.
I will also look to present current hot topics in high school athletics. For example, there has been a lot of talk during the last couple of years about a basketball shot clock coming to Illinois schools. Many folks would like to see this instituted, but there are just as many opposed to the idea. My idea is to get you, the reader, intrigued by this and other topics and encourage fair and friendly debate.
Finally, I want to do a “where are they now” series. It would be great to catch up with former student-athletes and coaches to see what they’ve done with their lives after their high school days have long ended.
Will I be perfect with my work? Not always. There will be mistakes made; no one is perfect after all. But, know this: I will always write with my heart and I will always put the student-athletes first, which is the way it should be.
In other words, I’m simply going to do what Marty and then James did so well over the years: have the community’s best interest at heart. It showed through their work, and I plan to keep that tradition going.
Again, I’m eager and excited for this new journey, so let’s get it started!