Hold the Back Page – And Look at the Listings!
by Sports Editor, Hugh Sullivan
Here is our new sports page – same as the old one but now closest it can squeeze to the back of the newspaper without getting in the way of prime advertising space.
In previous issues sport has lurked on an inside page between “Regulars”, a potpourri of Caribbean adventures, fishermen’s tales and opinion pieces, Business and Listings. Readers could work their way through news, politics – straight and satirical – and community, pause for sustenance in the company of the centre-spread, food section, then slalom through to the artistic heart of the paper: literature, music and the visual arts. Turn the pages carelessly with sticky fingers and you’ve missed it.
Which, for many – the same who stop reading a national newspaper three-quarters of the way through because the rest is just overpaid footballers, drug-enhanced athletes, eye-gouging rugby players and dodgy horse-racing – may have seemed no great loss. But for others, a minority no doubt, those first three-quarters are perused more out of duty than for entertainment: they have a part of their brain that needs feeding with the adrenalin that only sports scores and stories provide. Indeed there are some I know (but then a sports editor keeps peculiar company) who start at the back and may not graduate to the rest, like a diner who comes to the table for the dessert menu only.
On one level sport is sufficient unto itself. Its triumphs and disasters, its highs and lows, have no relation to reality outside. Even to write about it seems sometimes a kind of category mistake. Sir Andy Murray was asked what was going through his mind as he sat on his chair at the changeover before going out to serve for the match that would make him first British victor in the Wimbledon mens singles in 77 years. Was he thinking of the historic moment? Did the ghost of Fred Perry beckon him onward? Alas for the sports writer: Sir Andy said he was contemplating only whether to fire his first serve of the game out wide or down the centre. Difficult to make a romance out of that.
Nevertheless we can give out the info. And not just on this page: our newly expanded listings section in the centre-spread will now herald not only arts and community events but also present a diary of the major sports fixtures taking place in Hastings. Football games involving Hastings United FC at Pilot Field and South Saxons hockey club at Horntye feature this time around. The home games of Hastings & Bexhill RFC, still enjoying an outstanding rugby season, will be tracked in future issues (they just don’t have one scheduled in the current fortnight). But we would also like to diarise significant events in athletics, boxing, bowls, cricket, tennis – indeed any sport which seeks to raise its profile in the community. You can reach us on firstname.lastname@example.org. This editor looks forward to hearing from you.