Well I was born in a small town.
Those words from John Mellencamp’s 1985 top ten hit song, “Small Town,” best describe me. My name is Jeff Arenz and I am the newly hired sports editor of the Wapakoneta Daily News.
I have put a lot of thought into this column as I introduce myself to you, the readers of the WDN, because making a great first impression is very important to me.
Like I said earlier, I understand the small-town way of life. I’m originally from Streator, a community of 13,000 people located in north central Illinois, about halfway between Chicago and the Quad Cities. My parents, Leonard and Judy Arenz, own a farm of corn and soybeans a few miles outside of town.
Living in a small town is a great way to grow up. Some of my best childhood memories, like leading my troop of Cub Scouts by carrying a big American flag as we marched through Streator’s Fourth of July parade, come to mind. Playing a massive pipe organ while attending Mass at St. Stephen’s, our Catholic church, is another fond middle school memory.
The bonds I have with my family and friends from small towns are the most special to me. No matter what situation I find myself in, I know they are the type of people who care about me and support me, and I feel the same way about them. I hope to establish bonds like these here.
I have been a sports editor, writer, page designer, photographer, historian, social media and website content provider for almost a quarter century. I must acknowledge former Streator Times-Press Sports Editor Harold Olson, who allowed me to become his intern in November 1997 and taught me many valuable lessons in this business that I still use today. Harold is influential today, even from Heaven.
Although I have been employed at several newspapers during my career, I have tried to learn as much as I could from each experience and learn from the people I have worked with. My goal is to bring a variety of those experiences to the WDN, and I am considering creating new elements for the WDN sports pages.
I believe the best sports sections cover many different sports. I think the best sports journalists set aside their personal biases for the benefit of the sports section. Sure, I might like some sports more than others, but I know that it’s my job to entertain all the WDN readers.
I take a similar approach when covering games, where I see my role as being an impartial observer of the action and a recorder of the facts. When I take the facts and combine them with comments from coaches and players, I believe well-rounded stories are the result.
If there is one thing you should know about me, it’s that you may not find a person who is more passionate about sports and covering them. Not only are they the most dominate interests in my life, I find great pleasure in reporting stories to you.
During my career, I have written about topics that include auto racing, baseball, basketball, bowling, boxing, cross country, football, golf, gymnastics, hockey, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball and wrestling.
I am looking forward to meeting new faces here since I am brand new to town. I could use some suggestions on some good places to eat, shop, relax and enjoy life.
For readers who came to know the stories written by former WDN Sports Editor Mike Frank, he is staying with our company, Horizon Ohio Publications, as the sports editor of the Evening Leader in St. Marys. Through crossover games among teams in Auglaize County and the surrounding area, Mike and I are working together to share content in each other’s sports sections.
Jeff Arenz is the sports editor of the Wapakoneta Daily News. He can be contacted by calling (419) 739-3508 or sending email to email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @WDN_Sports.