Life is a series of volleys


September 26, 2022

I attended an NR-S vs. Carrington volleyball match as publisher of both newspapers for the first time on Thursday, Sept. 15.

I saw administrators and school board members of both schools at the match, not to mention plenty of readers and advertisers, a good crowd overall. My daughter is a varsity starter for the Rockets, so that added another element. Of course, I was wearing columbia blue and black, but I was paying close attention to both teams that night.

The match was intense, probably the most competitive I have seen between the Cardinals and the Rockets on the volleyball court. And, for the first time in many years, New Rockford got a taste of victory against their longtime rivals from 15 miles away, by winning the first two of the five sets. Carrington is a formidable opponent, and they fought back hard to ultimately prevail, 3-2.

Then on Thursday, after both papers were sent to press, I headed to my hometown of Fessenden to watch Harvey-Wells County vs. NR-S, the Rockets’ first regional volleyball match of the season. It’s easier there, because I haven’t been a resident of that district in more than 20 years, and we aren’t even the same team anymore.

As I drove home from Drake on Tuesday, from yet another volleyball match, I thought about how life is a series of volleys. Sometimes we watch the ball drop in front of us, and other times we make the attack and kill it. In between, we do everything we can to keep that ball in the playing field and avoid making errors.

Here at the newspaper offices, I can see the parallels. We are at the tail end of “vacation season.” Kyrie O’Connor will become Kyrie Dauenhauer by the time many of you read this, as she and Jesse celebrated their marriage on Saturday, Sept. 24. In Kyrie’s absence I had to not only take photographs at the NR-S vs. Drake-Anamoose volleyball match, but also write an actual sports story, something that is certainly not my forte. Readers, think of it like this: Kyrie passed the ball to me, and I had to set the story. On page A7 of the Transcript this week you’ll find my feeble attempt at exactly that.

I can’t wait for Kyrie to get back, because she said that as long as I take photos at the Harvey-Wells County game and Devils Lake Tournament, she will do the sportswriting when she returns to the office. I am ever so grateful!

This week, Lori, our typesetter and photo editor in Carrington, takes her vacation. That means I’ll be at her desk for a couple of days, formatting text and editing photos for the Independent. This is more in my wheelhouse, as I was setting pages at the Transcript after two weeks on staff.

It takes great teamwork to navigate press deadlines and other projects when staff members are out, especially for a week at a time. We all have different skills, talents and strengths that we bring to the table, so someone’s absence is certainly felt in a busy newsroom. That’s why cross-training is so important. When only one person knows how to complete a task, it’s hard to get things done in his or her absence.

Yes, my work life has been like a volleyball match lately. As any member of the staff at the Transcript or Independent will tell you, it takes constant communications and sharp focus. And we hear from readers whether we’ve “killed it” or dropped the ball.

Speaking of volleyball, the NR-S community has rallied in support of Bailey Jacobson, the sophomore setter who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Bailey, we’re all rooting for you. When it comes to cancer, I hope you kill it!


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