Columns

Seeking home and finding dignity: Reporter's Notebook

I cannot imagine having to start looking for a new housing situation at an older age, let alone single. This issue will take much understanding of a generation that rarely asks for help.... more

The Leadoff: Times are changing

Somehow, someway, I found myself bellying up to an empty Elk’s Lodge bar last Tuesday night from around 7 p.m. till about 8:30 p.m. If you’ve ever been in an Elk’s Lodge you can picture it. Two lonely, spider web-draped, televisions hung in the corners with one set to Fox News while the other was covering some midweek MACtion. ... more

Imagine this is your first time

I came home on Wednesday night around 7 p.m., maybe 7:30ish from watching my sister’s middle school volleyball game. Yes, even after I spent my entire day watching and reporting on sports I attended yet another sporting event. I have a problem, I know this, I am working on it (no I’m not). ... more

Fluffy, nonsensical fun at the Wiener Dog Races

"In the early hours after the parade, just before the races, we witnessed grown humans practicing their tiny, costumed muts on the race course over and over, drilling them like Russian Olympic gymnastic coaches. Oh goodie, we thought, Milly is going to lose big, and it’s going to make us laugh." – Beth Giuffre ... more

Now for the games that really matter

As the fall season starts to draw to a close, we finally start playing meaningful games. I'm talking league games. Games that decide who goes to the playoffs, games that decide bragging rights for the next 50 years, games against opposing players that kids grew up playing with as teammates on various club teams and want to decide once and for all who is more valuable. These games are so much more fun to watch and they have an added emphasis that you don't get everywhere else.... more

Reporter's Notebook

"The explanation – the truth, the expression, the actual something that makes an object a piece of art – is already in existence, but we ask them to give more." – Beth Giuffre ... more

All I know is that I know nothing

The NFL is a beautiful mystery. I consider myself almost an expert. I’ve won multiple fantasy leagues, football auctions, regularly play daily fantasy football, but after the start of this season, I am confident in saying I don’t know anything. The Bills are leading the AFC East while the Patriots are in third! The Jets and the Patriots currently have the same record — how is that even possible? Last week Blake Bortles looked like a first ballot Hall Of Famer. The LOS ANGELES RAMS HAVE THE NUMBER ONE OFFENSE IN THE NFL. The Giants, who only lost five games last year, is now 0-4 and only added pieces in the offseason. I mean, Alex Smith is actually throwing the ball downfield. It’s preposterous and amazing and why the NFL is number one in America right now. If Connor from today jumped into a time machine and teleported back to the beginning of September and told Connor from then any of this, I would slap future Connor straight in the face for saying such things. The Rams are leading the league in scoring. I just had to put that in writing again because I simply can’t believe it.... more

Calling all sports parents

Do high school kids care about being featured in the newspaper anymore? I think absolutism in anything is horrible (like you definitely shouldn't eat only OREOs, but you also shouldn't not eat OREOs) so I wont say no or yes, but that’s exactly what I’m doing actually, I’m saying no. I don’t know if it has to do with the fact that younger generations are reading less and less and aren't interested in anything that doesn't show up on their 2”x4” mini computer they have attached to their hand, or that fact that we all constantly receive our information instantaneously and don't necessarily need to wait until the morning, but one thing I do know is that moms, dads, grandpas, grandmas, aunts, uncles and that weird family friend that you refer to as your cousin (even though there is absolutely no relation) do still love seeing familiar faces in the newspaper.... more

Reporter’s Notebook

"Why the school board meetings aren’t devoted to figuring out how to accommodate these children is beyond me."... more

Playing ball like a girl

I don't know if I have ever been more inspired than I have been in the past couple months. In just my few months a sports reporter here at the Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press, I have covered multiple stories of brave, beautiful, bold young women venturing out into typically male-dominated sports and have not just competed, but have outshined many of their male counterparts. That doesn't even take into account different things that I have heard throughout the community and even things happening on a national stage. It finally seems that women are getting their chances and they are absolutely killing it and I couldn't be happier.... more

How would I 'fix' baseball?

As I walked into my office on Friday morning our receptionist Cami alerted me that someone had dropped off some paperwork for me. I found this odd because I wasn’t expecting anything and had no idea where it could have came from. Upon opening the envelope that had been placed on my desk, I immediately began beaming with pride. I began running around the office showing everyone that would make eye contact with me the letter I received while simultaneously reading it aloud for all to hear. It was my first, lets say “critical” piece of mail that I’ve received from someone disagreeing with my opinion in a column. I would like to say that a good portion of what I’ve written in my columns is “tongue in cheek” — they are jokes. I aim to entertain and provoke thought, not lay down the law, but alas, I guess this is lost on some people. My favorite part of the letter was when this disgruntled reader mentioned that my ignorance even exceeds my young age, while his age didn’t allow him to understand my gentle ribbing (that NASCAR isn’t a sport). However, with that being said, I loved the response and encourage them, and I hope some of you are prepared to be angry because I’m at it again and this time I am serious!... more

EDITOR'S NOTES: A little whimsy in Atascadero

Something magical happened at Atascadero Lake this week. Through Facebook groups and friends, I learned about a project that some creative and thoughtful person or persons created that brightened the lives of local residents out for a stroll around the lake. Walkers with sharp eyes spotted at least a dozen (probably more) colorful, painted stones dotting the landscape around the lake’s walking path bearing friendly and inspirational phrases. I love that somebody took the time to do this, not for any type of personal gain, but just to put smiles on faces. I’ve always been a proponent of public art. Not only does it provide visual appeal to our surroundings, it also gives a sense of wonder, whimsy and inspiration. Public art demonstrations and installations can make us feel like kids again and it can also show actual children that the world can be a fun and beautiful place.... more

Commercial pot ban a bad idea

The Atascadero City Council, along with the Planning Commission hosted a joint meeting this week to discuss the future of legal marijuana in Atascadero. While nothing firm was 100 percent decided, the meeting provided the opportunity for those in attendance and those listening on the radio to get a feel for how city officials and local citizens are thinking about the issue.... more

How much is too much?

As we progress further into the fall, as teams start to realize who has a shot at playoffs and who doesn’t, practices undoubtedly start becoming harder and start lasting longer. I am here to ask, does that really work? I understand the conventional wisdom and tradition that comes with practicing out in the hot sun, or in a hot gym, for hours because it builds character, makes kids tougher, teaches resilience, etc. However, coming from the standpoint of a former athlete, I question its legitimacy, and if it is rooted in any sort of fact and not just speculation. I want to take a slightly different, slightly scientific approach to this piece because I believe I can introduce things people haven’t considered.... more

The Leadoff

I have spent the past two weeks traveling to various training camps of a couple different sports at three different schools. I was blessed to spend a couple days with the Bearcats football team, a couple days with the Greyhounds football team, one full day with the Templeton Eagles football team, and even attended a volleyball practice from both Paso and Atascadero. I didn’t speak much while at practices, I would respond whenever asked a question, but I just wanted to observe the dynamics of each team. Through my years of playing sports I’ve realized that each team, no matter what sport they are in, have a unique personality, but where does that personality come from?... more