Is it just me, or did summer just fly by?
I suppose that's what happens when you switch jobs mid-summer and take on a Sports Information Director position just weeks before the athletic seasons start.
Perhaps I should introduce myself -- my name is Leah Rado, and I'm the new SID at Dakota Wesleyan. I took over July 26 for Matt Higgins, who is now the Assistant to the Executive Director (anyone watch The Office? Anyone?) for the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
I come to Dakota Wesleyan after three years at The Daily Republic, Mitchell's six-day-a-week newspaper. I was a sports reporter for a year (with Matt as my boss) and then sports editor for two years before making the jump to 'the other side' -- public relations.
So far, so good with the new job. My to-do list is getting more and more manageable by the day, although I don't think I will ever get completely caught up. Football moved in today, and the rest of the sports check in later this week or early next week, so things will only get busier from here!
One of the first things I got to do with my new position was make the trek to Lincoln, Neb., for the Great Plains Athletic Conference football media day. I'd never been to something like this as anything but a reporter, so it was neat for me to watch and listen (and not have to worry about pounding out a story on deadline).
The one thing that struck me as each of the coaches spoke was the respect between the coaches. The University of Sioux Falls and Morningside were picked first and second, respectively, in the preseason coaches' poll, but they got up and praised other teams and admitted that each team in the league should be tough this year.
It was also neat to hear the coaches talk about some of the hardships the league suffered this summer. Dana College closed its doors in late July, sending ADs and GPAC Commissioner Corey Westra into a scheduling frenzy. A few weeks later, both Midland Lutheran and Dordt lost a student athlete in an accident. It seems that all the GPAC coaches offered help and support to the two campuses who lost an athlete, and the entire GPAC community pulled together to find a place for Dana students to play, live and study.
That just goes to show that, despite the intense rivalaries these schools may have, everyone understands there's more to life than winning and losing.
OK, enough with the heavy stuff. Fall sports seasons start soon, so there will be plenty going on in the coming weeks. The DWU football team was picked to finish sixth in the preseason coaches' poll an the volleyball team was tabbed 11th. If I had to guess, I would say both will surprise a team or two in the 2010 season.