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Time to introduce yourself

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One of the great things about writing for a newspaper is there isn't always space to write about every encounter, every event and every interaction that happens during my day-to-day rounds at the local high schools. I say great because last spring, that lack of space saved my butt on one of the more embarrassing moments I've had in my career. It was a cold, dreary Friday at the Kansas Relays, and in order to get my bearings I approached the Lawrence High tent, perched proudly in the second deck of Memorial Stadium's east stands. Upon entering the tent I saw former LHS assistant coach Jeremy Milne, who I'd known since college. We exchanged hellos, caught up for a couple of minutes and then I asked him where "Coach" was. "Coach who," he asked. "Is he down on the track with the athletes," I responded, wondering now if I even knew who LHS track coach Jack Hood was. "Coach who," Milne asked again, genuinely confused. "Coach Hood," I said, reluctantly. "He's right here," said Milne with a laugh, pointing to the man sitting directly next to him. Gulp. Here we go. It was time for me to jump feet first into the spin zone to save face. Luckily, Coach Hood had a good sense of humor about the whole thing and simply played along, electing to call me by a name other than Matt. Fair's fair. Anyway, at the time I was thrilled that such a debacle would never in a million years make it into print. Why would it? There were bigger fish to fry that day. I barely had enough room to talk about the amazing efforts put forth by the area athletes competing in the event anyway. So why am I bringing it up now, more than four months after it happened? The answer is simple. Through my new blog, "The Dividing Line," I'll be more likely to put those kinds of stories onto our Web site, therein giving you a deeper, action-packed look at the local high school sports scene. Don't worry, the blog won't turn into a highlight reel - or is it lowlight? - of Matt Tait bloopers and blunders. More often it will focus on funny stories that happened at practice one night, the state of a certain team or sport and, of course, all the big games. In short, it will include all of the stuff that doesn't make it into the stories we write about the games. This blog isn't for me. It's for you. I plan to have a ton of fun with it and hope to bring you a look at many different aspects of high school sports, but in a perfect world the content would be driven by you. Have a question about a team, player, sport or stadium? Fire away. Post it here or [send me an email][1]. The goal of any blog is to establish strong dialogue between the writers and the audience. With the passionate high school sports fan base we have in Lawrence, I don't think developing that kind of relationship will be hard at all. If I don't know the answer to your question, I'll do my best to find it. So don't hold back. As for the name mishap, don't worry about that. I feel much more comfortable entering my second year as Journal-World High School Sports Editor and believe I have a huge headstart on the name game already. For instance, anyone been watching the Olympics? I've been glued to NBC for hours each night. And no matter how hard I've tried, every time I've seen U.S. Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin in the pool, I couldn't help but see Free State's Morgan Flannigan in my head. Maybe they don't look that much alike. Maybe the image just popped up because like Coughlin, Flannigan found herself touching the wall first at most races last season. But I think it illustrates my point. I love high school sports. Even when school's not in session, I'm still thinking about them. But school is in session again and Monday, it's time to kick off the fall sports season in style. Look for another edition of The Dividing Line then, when I'll be back with the sights and sounds from the first day of the fall seasons. Until then, let's get that dialogue going. And, unless you're Coach Hood, please try to call me Matt. [1]: http://www2.ljworld.com/staff/matt_tait/contact

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