Included in today’s Sentinel is our annual Fall Sports Preview.

Included in today’s Sentinel is our annual Fall Sports Preview.
Putting this edition together is the best of times for me. It’s also the worst of times. But it’s my labor of love.
You see, every year I always think there’s no way I am going to complete this assignment on time. It’s a 32-page tab, and it takes countless time to get all the pictures, write all the stories, run spell check, and most of all, put it together.
I actually got a great start on the tab this year. I had many of the stories written more than a week in advance.
But getting hold of ADs and coaches to set up pictures is always tricky. I have to work around their schedules, and with some of the area schools starting late, it turned out to be quite a juggling act.
I received the layout sheet, or dummy as we call it, last Wednesday. I immediately tore into laying out pages, which includes writing headlines and cutlines.
Fortunately, I was down to three stories by Thursday and the last one was written Friday. That gave me the weekend to pull it all together.
By noon on Sunday, I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. The last page was transmitted to Hutchinson, which now publishes all of our papers and special sections.
I just want to give a special thanks to all the coaches, athletic directors and players for making this such a pleasant experience. I couldn’t do it without their help. And thanks to Kendall Shaw, a contributing photographer to The Sentinel, for his wonderful front-page photo, which makes the tab “pop.”
I’m sure there’s probably a mistake or two that I didn’t catch and for that, I apologize. And there’s probably going to be a kid or two (and their parents) who believe his or her name should have been included, but wasn’t, for which I feel badly. I have go with what the coaches give me, and I try to get in as many names as I can.
This is the 34th Fall Preview that I have put together. To say that it has come a long way is one of the great understatements of all time. I recently looked back at the first one I did in 1979 and I can honestly say I did a disservice to the readers and the journalism profession. I had been here all of two weeks and had never done a tab and it showed. It was a ragtag-looking publication that looked amateurish. But as I grew into this job, the tab also grew in size. At one time, when the economy was good, it was up to 40 pages, before we scaled it back to 32.
Finally, and most of all, I want to thank those businesses who advertise year after year. Without them, a tab of this magnitude is not possible. I feel the tab is important, because so many kids get mentioned and it’s the kickoff to the school year and athletic season. Excitement abounds, and there’s nothing like that first game or match to get the juices flowing.
Alas, there’s no rest for the weary. On Monday, I began work on Game Night, our weekly tab previewing McPherson High and all the area football games that comes out every Thursday for the next nine weeks. I believe this has been a plus to our newspaper, as it gives us a chance to give the area schools the notoriety they may not receive otherwise. There are very few papers in the state that provide this service, so we believe it’s unique and something the readers enjoy. Again, it wouldn’t be possible without the advertisers, as without their dollars, we wouldn’t be able to publish it. Thank them, please.

Steve Sell is The McPherson Sentinel’s sports editor. He can be reached at