Sports involves a lot of drama - the near no-hitter, the long touchdown pass with time running out to win a game, the setting of a record.
We strive to chronicle that drama through excellent writing and photographs.Fortunately, we have the talent in both areas to deliver most of the time. The recent Jazz-Lakers series showcased the abilities of our writers and photographers. Sports Editor Lee Benson, Jazz beat writer Kurt Kragthorpe and feature writer Doug Robinson gave life to the printed word that the games and the intrigue surrounding them deserved. And chief photographer Tom Smart and his crew continually captured the flavor of the series. In fact, a photograph taken by Ravell Call, showing Karl Malone cradling the ball while falling backward with Magic Johnson in front of him, was taken at the same moment as the one used by Sports Illustrated for its cover that week.
Our writers and photographers have shown they consistently perform with a high degree of professionalism under deadline pressure. An example is the effort made to report John Stockton's single season assist record in the last game of the regular season - April 23 against Houston at the Salt Palace.
That was a Saturday night, which meant for Sunday morning's paper we had only about an hour and a half after the game for writers, photographers and page designers to get everything done before the pages needed to be sent to the backshop to be put on the press.
Stockton needed 14 assists. Kragthorpe was at press row chronicling every one. Perhaps the more difficult assignment was that of the two photographers - Call and Gary McKellar. Their task was to get a picture of the record-setter. That meant they had to keep track of each assist to get themselves in place for the big one. Call went to the side of the court and McKellar was underneath the basket to the left when it happened - early in the third quarter on a pass in the lane to Thurl Bailey, who then made a finger-roll shot.
Call clicked away, but was screened out by several players collapsing on Bailey. McKellar somehow got a shot through Bailey's arms and legs just as he took the pass from Stockton, with Stockton's arm extended in the background. Kragthorpe's usual fine story complemented the photo.
There are many more such examples - Linda Hamilton's reporting on the Golden Eagles' second straight IHL championship; Mike Sorensen's stories on the underdog University of Utah golf team stunning the favorites to win the WAC title; Brad Rock's coverage during Brigham Young University's 17-game winning streak in basketball; Ray Grass' WAC championship tennis coverage - all with excellent photo accompaniment.
And high school prep sports benefits from stellar photos. Some that come quickly to mind are those taken at the state track, baseball and soccer championships. Perhaps the top prep photo was taken by Garry Bryant at the 4A championship football game as he captured Orem's Brad Eldredge stretching out in the end zone to catch the winning pass from quarterback Ed Chatterly in the last minute of play.
Writers and photographers doing their job and doing it well for you, our readers.