Back in the Saddle Again
“These two gentleman need no introduction.” To steal a line from an old talk show, Bill Potrecz and I truly believe it’s unnecessary to provide you with an introduction to us. You have invited us into your homes for the last three decades and we hope we have entertained and enlightened you with stories about the sporting scene in Niagara.
We’ve chased the region’s best athletes for quotes and insight late into the night as they made their marks at the provincial, national and international level. We’ve prayed for good luck as we sent texts, e-mails and phone calls around the world. We’ve walked through mud up to our ankles and got soaked to the bone at football games. We’ve frozen our butts off in countless arenas to spread the word about hockey at all levels. We’ve dodged baseballs, volleyballs and lacrosse balls, We’ve ventured into countless gyms chronicling the on-court exploits of Niagara’s best.
We’ve been splashed with blood as we detailed the exploits of Niagara’s boxing legends. We have nearly been kicked in the head at wrestling meets. We have dodged scalp-seeking pucks. We have been frost-bitten, drenched and scorched during long days at regattas and track and field meets. We’ve trudged through the mud and bundled up against rain and snow at cross-country meets.
We have scratched statistics on our wrinkled notepads while trying to keep an eye on all that was happening. We have tried to decipher our writings on notepads dripping with rain or snow melt. We worked 12-hour days to provide news and insight when major sporting events such as the Henley regatta visited Niagara. We’ve feasted on pizza and chicken wings late at night to celebrate the end of crazy sports weeks.
We have written good and even great stories and we have tried to do our best in challenging conditions. We have gone from Plan A to B and then C as deadlines approached. We developed friendships with countless Niagara athletes and coaches; sharing their joy in victory and pain in defeat. We have written stuff you agreed with, disagreed with and sometimes even thought we were crazy to put down on paper. We’ve written about heartbreak and tragedy and shared your anguish.
We’ve watched locals win Olympic gold and were the first to interview then when they returned home victorious. We’ve sought out stories about Niagara athletes from all their respective disciplines. These stories deserve to be told not just when the athletes reach the pinnacle, but also in the steps they took along the way. The Grade 9 point guard who out-shines all his peers with supreme ease to lead his team to the championship before a packed gym in the finals of the Standard Tournament is just as good a story as a medal at the Olympic rowing venue.
We Facebooked, tweeted and posted so many stories that it seemed like our heads would explode. Through it all, we continued to be driven by our passion for local sports reporting and telling the stories of the best and brightest athletes in Niagara. In the early fall of 2016, I applied for a voluntary buyout from my position as the sports editor of the St. Catharines Standard.
It was an extremely difficult decision to walk away from a job I had done for 27 years, but I was honest with myself in realizing I was tired and needed to step away from a position that was more a vocation than a career. As I waited to hear news on acceptance of my buyout, I wavered back and forth hundreds of times on whether I was making the right choice.There were at least a dozen times when I considered asking if my application could be withdrawn. In late December, the company accepted my application and I entered 2017 as a member of an ever-growing legion of unemployed former journalists.
My friend and colleague Bill Potrecz followed me out the door a few weeks later. We are now entering a new chapter in our careers and we hope you will share our enthusiasm and support a local sports website. The hard-working and talented colleagues we left behind are doing their best to carry on the tradition of great sports and news reporting in Niagara but they are overwhelmed with all there is to write about. We are passionate in our belief that detailing the ongoing sporting history of Niagara is an important objective. We hope you share that belief and are willing to help make BP Sports Niagara a reality.
How can you help? As readers, you can click on out website daily and hopefully our content will convince you to purchase a voluntary subscription. If you own a business or are part of a sporting organization, we encourage you to support us through advertising or sponsorships. We have done a lot of advance planning to get us to this point, but there is plenty of work ahead. Rather than monetize the site right away, we are taking some time to gauge whether or not this is a viable project.
Launching the site and getting back to what we love is a way to show you what we intend to do and it will help us remain sharp in our writing and photography skills. Think of it as a free trial period. Our plans are to start with sports coverage in St. Catharines and Thorold with a focus on Brock University, the Niagara Ice Dogs, the Niagara River Lions, junior B hockey, high school sports, rowing and local grassroots sports.
We will also cast a wider eye across the entire Niagara region for athletes making their marks at the national and international level. We are hoping this is merely the start and your support will allow us to expand our coverage accordingly. We promise to invest any profits into making our website even better. In the coming weeks and months, you will see Bill and I out in the community and I encourage you to let us know what you like and dislike about out site. Our aim is to once again be a frequent and welcome visitor in your home.
We’re looking forward to this great adventure and we’re inviting you along for the ride.