Brian Hamilton: With a little help from our friends |

Brian Hamilton: With a little help from our friends

Earlier this week, a proud parent of a prep athlete shot me an e-mail with news of a recent performance by her daughter.

Almost apologetic, she said she didn’t want “toot her own child’s horn,” but realized our staff couldn’t be “10 places at one time” and had hoped to share the news with the community.

My response?

Mama, toot that horn like Dizzy Gillespie!

Make no mistake about it, more than ever, The Union is your newspaper. It’s not only our mission to provide staff coverage of area sporting events, but also to open our pages to your news.

For the record, yes, our sports staff is a small one, consisting of writer Scott P. Hopper and yours truly.

But I like to think these days that our staff extends far beyond the “walls” of our office cubicles here at The Union.

Through the efforts of many community members in the spirit of “Citizen Journalism” we’re capable of offering quite a comprehensive daily report on the area sports scene.

Throughout my tenure as The Union’s sports editor, we’ve been fortunate to have the cooperation of area high school coaches who take the time to call in their game reports for events that we are unable to staff in person.

And that’s why in Friday morning’s edition, despite our physical limitations, our readers were figuratively taken to “10 places at one time” through our daily “Prep Roundup.”

It’s through those phone calls from coaches that sports fans were able to read about: Nevada Union’s 10-1 season-opening baseball win at El Camino; NU’s nail-biting two-stroke golf victory at Alta Sierra Country Club and Bear River’s five-stroke loss at Auburn Valley Country Club, Forest Lake Christian’s 9-0 tennis win in south county and Bear River’s 8-1 victory over Mesa Verde in Citrus Heights, NU volleyball’s 3-0 sweep through Oakmont in Roseville (and the junior varsity’s 2-1 win), the Miner soccer squad’s 1-1 tie at Oakmont (and another 2-1 JV victory) and FLC’s 6-0 league opener over Sac Waldorf down on Combie Road.

By taking the time – mere minutes, mind you – to give us a call, The Union’s readers and fans of the Bruins, Falcons and Miners were able to read about Thursday’s individual performances of no less than 70 area prep athletes.

But the fun doesn’t have to stop there.

Throughout each week in The Union, you’ll find reader submitted content throughout our Sports section. Our Alumni Notebook, which will now be published on Tuesday mornings, allows us to track former prep standouts at the club, college and professional levels.

And quite often, we learn of such news from folks simply taking the time to tip us off. That was the case with Tuesday morning’s centerpiece on former Bear River and current UC Santa Barbara skier Haley Ells winning the freestyle competition at collegiate national championships in Maine.

We also often are blessed with news from local sports organizations, such as the Sierra Express Racing Team, the Nevada County Sportsmen’s Club and all of the area golf courses. Turn to page B4 in today’s edition and you’ll get a quick glimpse of the kind of coverage our readers help us provide of our community sports scene, whether it’s adult rec sports, area club sports or our weekly Youth Sports Report.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a minute and acknowledge the efforts of a handful of writers who regularly contribute to The Union’s Sports section

Steve Bond, whose “Run For Your Life” column continues to provide consistent and comprehensive coverage of the running community, and Denis Peirce, our expert fishing columnist who offers vast and invaluable information to area anglers each week, have both been with us for nearly seven years now.

Then there’s John Renslow, an author and PGA pro at Alta Sierra Country Club, who helps readers “Get Into Golf” each Thursday. And Jim Adams, western Nevada County’s resident hockey nut and unabashed fan of all high school athletes, who always seems only happy to help boost our coverage.

And, yes, we do have parents who continually help The Union cover their own kids. How else would we get to regularly read about Nevada City’s own auto racing ace Alexander Rossi and downhill mountain bike pro Graeme Pitts?

After all, if trips to such far-flung locations like Le Castellet, France or Sydney, Australia start popping up on my expense report I’m pretty sure I’ll have some explaining to do. Yet with their folks filing reports from afar, their biggest fans back home in Nevada County can follow the highs and lows of their racing careers right here in the pages of The Union and, of course, has expanded our ability to cover the community well beyond the page-space available in our print edition. But it also offers an opportunity to share news through reader-submitted stories, guest columns, photos and even videos.

So how do you join in the fun?

Glad you asked.

At the top of every page at, you’ll appropriately enough find the word “Contribute.”

Click there and you see a page pop up titled “Useful Forms,” with various options to share your news – from letters to the editor, to obituaries to classified ads.

For our purposes in the Sports department, simply click “Submit ‘Your Sports'” and plug your news into the windows provided and upload any photos you have to offer. (For videos, click on the “Photos & Video” tab on the front page of and select “Member Videos” on drop-down menu).

We can’t promise to publish everything that ends up in our e-mail, but if you don’t see your submission in The Union or online at, it’s a good idea to contact me via e-mail or by phone just to follow up.

So as the weather turns warmer – we certainly can hope, right? – and action in the area sports scene heats up, why not pick up that horn of yours and give it a good toot?

Rest assured, The Union and our readers – and, surely, the athlete in your own life – will no doubt be glad you did.

Brian Hamilton is sports editor at The Union. Contact him via e-mail at or by phone at 477-4240.

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