Your lips say ‘yes,’ but we know what you want

With Minnesota’s primaries in the can and a scintillating presidential race rumored to be heading down the home stretch, there’s a new season out there many sports fans will overlook.
It’s poll and survey time, folks.
Not to be outdone, we here at Daily Sports conducted a survey of our own.
Normally, the ink-stained wretches who make up the Daily newsroom aren’t interested in numbers. Words, quotes, tasty anecdotes — these are a few of our favorite things. Give us a juicy quote we can sink our teeth into, and we’re happy as an IT student at a pocket-protector convention.
But numbers give us trouble. In fact, most journalists begin their careers after failing high school math. Times are changing, however, and now the “business” folks who live upstairs are passing on their research.
Usually, they take care of all this stat-crunching. And frankly, we just don’t care, as long as the checks are in on time. They really don’t care what “content” we put out, as long as it fills the space around the advertisements.
Fully 80 percent of people who pick up this rag read the sports section. Amazing, especially if you subtract the high number of people who grab a copy just for Network and/or the crossword.
There’s more. Eighty-six percent of readers always or sometimes read football stories. Bear in mind, this survey was pre-pickle juice, but still holds some merit. As one would expect, basketball and hockey articles put up the other big numbers.
Here’s where things get interesting. The last space on the survey was reserved for comments. This is where the wordsmiths were supposed to receive feedback.
“There’s too much focus and repetition on our bad basketball/football teams! We do have other highly successful teams that deserve it,” one respondent wrote.
First reaction? Well, the writer is not an English major, I’m sure. Still, the sentiment is intriguing. Do readers really want more coverage of smaller profile sports?
“A lot of Olympic and non-revenue sports are seriously shorted in comparison to others,” wrote another student.
Good gosh golly, maybe it’s time. Maybe Minnesota is finally ready for those in-depth articles about sychronized swimming. We’ve honestly been dying to write them.
Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie, and the numbers don’t back up the anecdotal evidence.
“More time spent on women’s soccer,” a reader pleaded.
We’d love to help you out, I reply. But only a quarter of you read soccer articles regularly. In fact, 43 percent of you never read about one of the most consistently successful teams on campus. Others pleaded to give teams like track and field and cross country more pub. An average of half of you never read about those two sports, both of which are varsity teams at Minnesota.
What’s going on here? Could our precious anecdotal evidence be wrong? Could those crazy people upstairs have been right all along?
Yes. Somewhere, maybe subconsciously, you all think more coverage of smaller sports is needed. Your left brains stand, placards in hand, picketing outside the Daily for our insensitive inattention to sports like track and field. But your right brains skim past our feeble attempts at javelin coverage like a yuppie perusing an inferior stock portfolio.
The voices in your heads tell you better coverage of small sports is necessary. But you’re bored by reading the very stories you say you want. It’s OK. The voices in my head sound an awful lot like Simpsons reruns, but I digress.
We gotta pay the bills here, folks. How can we make everybody happy?
We’ll try. With any luck, we’ll get better. We really are interested in things like rugby, rowing and ultimate frisbee, and frankly, sometimes anything is better than another interview with another pampered, pompous athlete from one of the “Big Three.”
Three quarters of you think the Daily has good coverage of University sports. We thank you heartily.
But you’ve got to read this stuff. And you’ve got to let us know you’re reading. We’ll put all the information out there, but afterward, nothing is certain.
Well, maybe one thing. We’ll still never cover cheerleaders.

Josh Linehan is the sports editor and welcomes comments at [email protected]