By JEREMY SPEER
Those who know me personally know I am a sports fan.
As a child, you could find my dad and me at Wildcat Stadium on fall evenings and at either the Mich-e-ki-wis Ice Arena or the Alpena High School gym on winter evenings.
My parents would trek me down to the big city every so often to catch a Tigers, Lions or Pistons game, and I spent halftime on fall Saturdays tossing the football around with friends and family, dreaming of being the starting tight end for the University of Michigan. I’ve played on and coached many teams, but the biggest constant in my life has been my sports fandom.
Thus, you can imagine my excitement when I moved to northwest Ohio, which has some of the most passionate sports fans I’ve ever seen.
I’ve gone to high school and collegiate games in the towns we cover, and I have seen just how much athletics fit into the fabric of the Buckeye State.
And I see this passion in how our communities consume our newspapers. School pride runs rampant in these parts, and I’m so thankful that so many of you rush to grab your paper to see how the big game went the night before or whose photo made the front page of sports. Just look at the runs of teams like Clyde football this fall, or Liberty-Benton soccer and volleyball. Or McComb football the year before. Examples abound of how our papers have shared a relationship with some of our most successful teams and athletes.
I’m proud to have such a great team of sports journalists, whether it is Zach Baker and Matt Nye in Tiffin, or Michael Burwell, Ted Radick, Dave Hanneman and Andy Wolf in Findlay. That’s not to mention all of our fine correspondents who add colorful words and photos to our papers. These people are as passionate a group of sports journalists as I’ve ever seen, and that passion leaps across our pages each and every day.
Occasionally, the passion of our readers comes across in criticism of our choices for coverage. And as a guy who spent seven years of his professional life as a sports editor, I completely get that. Everyone wants their team covered and I wish nothing more than to be able to deliver the type of coverage our fans want.
Know this — we hear each and every complaint and we try hard to position our staff to thoughtfully cover the right games. There is a reason we choose to cover each game, and while we don’t always make 100 percent correct decisions, we do our best to canvass the teams in our coverage area.
One thing I’m excited about — now that the Tiffin, Fostoria and Findlay papers are teammates, we plan to use our collective ability to supplement one another’s papers. That game in Carey can now be shared in both The Courier and A-T, or that Hopewell-Loudon contest can now find the pages of all three of our papers. This will allow us to further cover the teams and the leagues you’ve relied on us for.
I love the passion of our readers and, in a strange way, I am thankful for every piece of criticism we get. Like I tell our sports staffs, that is an indication that people want their teams to be in our paper. Please continue to share with us what you like, and what you’d like to see in our pages — after all, our goal is to deliver to readers what they want to see.
This sports fan is thrilled to be in a place full of athletic passion and around a team of sports journalists who understand and share that passion. Thank you all for reading as we continue to try and craft a better product each and every day.
Jeremy Speer is the publisher of The Courier in Findlay, The Advertiser-Tribune in Tiffin and the Review Times in Fostoria. He can be reached at Send an E-mail to jeremyspeer.