I realize that my year in review comes a little tardy as it is Jan. 8 already, but I’ve been so consumed with the Athletes of the Year and the Athletes of the Decade pieces over the past few months that I had little time to reflect until now. 2019 was a bit of a crazy year at the Atascadero News & Paso Robles Press but one thing that has remained unchanged for over three years now is your sports writer. We have cycled through a few general managers, a couple of editors, now some new owners and a whole lot of good writers but through it all, I have been able to remain in my position and I am not naive enough to think that is because of my talent, so thank you to everyone that has been a reader this past year.
Whether you are a silent follower who just watches my Twitter feed with a judgemental eye, someone who just checks in for the Athlete of the Week, an occasional e-mailer with a condescending tone or a loyal, weekly reader, it means a lot. I believe that working as a sportswriter in small communities is much different than it is from working in a big city, although how would I know? I have only done it here, in that my connections aren’t just sources, my stories aren’t just about athletes that you see on TV, they are about my friends, your friends, that guy you see at Starbucks and people that we all genuinely want to see succeed.
I have had the opportunity to tell so many fun and unique stories, from Keenan Howell making the U.S. National Team, to every step of the Eagles softball CIF Championship run and even the tales of Maddi Gordon who moonlights as a drag racer on the weekends. I want to continue bringing you North County stories that no one else is going to be able to tell.
This year, the newspaper’s new owners, Nic and Hayley Mattson and I have decided to tell more feature stories, pieces that go beyond the box scores and the bright lights. Stories that make you want to text your friends and say, “Hey did you know that tall guy from the gym used to play basketball in Italy?” But this is where I need your help. If you have an awesome story, a comeback saga from an injury, a tale of perseverance that finally paid off, your son/daughter is a nationally ranked hacky sack champion or maybe your neighbor is just unbeatable at darts after six BL Platinum’s, I want to hear about it.
As we start another year and our first with new ownership under 13 Stars Media, I want to remind everyone where and how you can find us and all the stories on North County athletes because if you consume all of your Atascadero News or Paso Robles Press content from one source, you might be missing out on some fun stuff. First and foremost, we have the weekly printed version of the newspaper — that is our bread and butter. We spend most of our time and meetings and energy focusing on bringing the North County a quality newspaper, something that is very rare these days. If you are not a subscriber, I would highly recommend it. Luke Phillips, my editor, has finally had his shackles cut free and he can design and layout pages the way God intended.
I don’t want to be hyperbolic, but our paper will make you want to use the LA Times as your puppy’s potty paper (I’m kidding, but seriously).
We also have a Facebook and Twitter page for both newspapers that are very active. There are times when things will appear there that are very time-sensitive, such as game times changing. Sometimes I will throw a photo of a team up there that has won a tournament or something of that nature over the weekend if I know I won’t have time to report a full story on it. Lastly, and my personal favorite, is my personal Twitter account (@ConnorCAllen). This feels weird, like I’m running a promo for my own radio show on my radio show, but that is where you will get the most information. That is where I post the scores after games that I attend, that is where you will get awesome in-game action and scoring videos. You come for the breaking news and post-game interviews but you stay for the occasional sports memes and regular prods at general anarchy. Let’s be better in 2020.