It's five minutes until noon on Tuesday.

After stopping by the first Blair girls golf tournament of the year in Gretna, I'm seated at an undisclosed coffee shop, where the employees either do or don't know that I've made their workplace my personal office.

I'm watching the clock because I posted my Athlete of the Week social media poll on Labor Day and am waiting on its final result at, you guessed it, noon. Facebook polls are goofy, so instead of having a poll just end, I have to set a deadline and figure out my results at that deadline.

So, since those words I just typed took 5 minutes, I can tell you that Fort Calhoun's Rianna Wells won the poll with 199 votes. Gavin Acker of Blair had 186, while Tanner Pittman of Arlington had 162.

This was one of biggest poll turnouts during the past 18 months with 547 total votes. Wow.

All three Washington County athletes are technically “Athletes of the Week,” but I have time for just one video interview. Those arrive online on Wednesdays. Follow the link on or go straight to

Now, the reason I'm writing about the Athlete of Week is to explain it. Seemingly, some people have a hard time comprehending what I'm trying to accomplish.

I've read in the comments that I should recognize kids from all three schools, which I do, though, not in the way I'm assuming that commenter wanted. I simply can't do three video interviews, edit them and post them each week — there's no time.

Turns out chasing around 300 kids is almost as time-consuming as making it to everything your one or two kids does.

I'd also like to point out that the polls themselves get a lot more hits than the videos. Winning doesn't really get the athletes much more press or kudos than if they came up short. It's all about rallying the community and letting everyone know just how impressive all three athletes were last week. That's why getting 547 votes in today's poll is exciting for me — all three athletes had those 547 people see their picture.

Another criticism I've received is related to the whole, “There's no 'I' in team” argument. While I agree with the sentiment, it's not my job to promote a “team first” philosophy. I'm not a coach or a parent.

If I only focused on team results, stories I write would all be one sentence. Blair beat Plattsmouth 21-14 in overtime Friday, for example.

If you think about it in a broader sense, a world without highlighting individual accomplishment probably wouldn't fit in with how you want your world to work anyway.

The last criticism from last year that I want to hit on is a fun one. Someone commented on a video interview from a year ago that I should respect the teenager I was highlighting by taking off my stocking cap. That one made me laugh.

No. 1, I am the adult.

No. 2, the teenager in question wasn't wearing shoes in the video, which didn't bother me in the slightest.

No. 3, I have tremendous respect for all of the athletes I write about. My career is focused on going where these kids are and showing folks how talented they are. I showed that kid with no shoes respect by picking him to be his school's Athlete of the Week nominee.

Last but not least, I want you to know that the Athlete of the Week is about fun — which is why the aforementioned criticisms are burned into my brain. The goal during each of the video interviews is to make the athlete laugh.

I've told people for more than eight years now that I write about sports because I'm not smart enough to write about anything else. That's partially true. It's also because I love it. I love what sports did for me growing up and, now, I'm seeing what good coaches and good lessons can do for these kids every single day.

So, don't take the Athlete of the Week too serious. It's just good fun, promoting the efforts of our athletes here in Washington County.

Rant over. I'm just going to enjoy recognizing these athletes and shooting goofy videos with them now. I swear.

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