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Chris Masse on high school sports: Time to unveil the best of the 2010s

Well, this has been a horrible few weeks. I wish I could spin it, but I would be lying by doing so.

We are all hoping normalcy soon returns and my heart aches for those impacted by this coronavirus outbreak. It hurts as well for the winter sports athletes still competing who have had their seasons put on hold and the spring sports athletes hoping their seasons soon begin.

Even if it takes into the summer months, I hope that those seasons can be salvaged and all the athletes can have their moments in the sun.

Selfishly, I hurt because I love covering area sports and telling stories about athletes and personalities who shape this community. Not being out at a field or a gym makes it feel like a part of me is missing.

Several people have asked me what my fellow colleagues and I are doing and will do as sports remain on hold.

Well, we will keep on doing what we do. We will keep writing, keep reporting and keep telling stories. One way I will be bridging the gap between now and sports returning will be by replicating the Headliners book I wrote and the Sun-Gazette published nine years ago.

Headliners was a look back at the first decade of the 21st century in area sports. I cover high school football, girls and boys basketball, baseball and softball. In Headliners, I compiled top 10 lists for the decade’s best teams, coaches, games and players in those respective sports with each member receiving a separate story.

Now it’s time to write Volume II and produce those same lists for the last decade, 2010-19. This time, however, it will not take the form of a 300-page book. This book will be spread out in the Sun-Gazette over a 100-day or longer period as the Sun-Gazette continues doing its best to provide local sports content to its readers.

While the plan is not set in stone, I am hoping to start producing the series next week. There will be stories in five to seven days a week, likely in parts of two. For example, I will open the series with a look at the best football teams of the previous decade. Depending on length, you will likely see either two stories or one story each day, starting with the 10th-ranked team, ninth-ranked team, eighth-ranked and so on in ascending order.

I will move through each category as if it was a high school sports calendar season, starting with football, then moving to girls and boys basketball before concluding with softball and baseball. Top 10 teams in all five sports will be unveiled first, followed by coaches, games and players.

By no means will these lists be perfect. All ranking stories and/or shows are subjective. An athlete, coach, team or game I rank at one spot, someone else might rank in another or not rank at all. The lists reflect my opinions, but there is no right answer in these debates. OK, in some categories the No. 1 choice is easy, but top 10 lists in whatever aspect of life one is talking about are almost always fun because of the debates they generate.

My hope, is that you all enjoy taking a look back at a decade which produced so many great moments throughout the Sun-Gazette area. If anything, it hopefully can take all our minds off the current fight we are battling.

One of my favorite things about sports is the release they provide. No matter what else is going on in my life, when I cover an athletic event I can lose myself in that game and enjoy myself. Some mock the importance of sports, but in addition to the life lessons they provide, they can offer a powerful diversion in times of need.

Here is hoping you can all find enjoyment as we look back at and also look forward to great times coming. I do not say this enough, but thank you all for reading my stories in the Sun-Gazette and for making this journey I have traveled since 1999 here such a memorable one.

I have lived in multiple locations and can say this with no debate: This area tops the list.

Chris Masse may be reached by email at cmasse@sungazette.com. Follow him on Twitter at @docmasse.

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