Column: Hoping to join the parade

• Originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on March 7, 2009

A little rain couldn’t put a damper on the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in St. Charles.

And though there were no rainbows, the annual event filled with bagpipes, leprechauns and campaign literature still packed the streets.

I didn’t get to stay through the entire parade, but I enjoyed what I saw. And, as usual when I watch a parade, I got a little jealous.

You see, I’ve never been in a parade. I’ve covered plenty of them. I’ve walked the entire length of some. I might as well have been a part of some of the parades I covered, walking alongside the route taking photos. If I had brought along some candy to pass out, I would have fit right in.

But I’ve never had the chance to just sit in a float and wave at people.

It looks fun. Very rarely have I seen a gloomy person in a parade. And remember, these are people who many times have been waiting for an hour or more just for the privilege of walking a parade route or sitting on a slow float essentially stuck in a traffic jam of epic proportions.

Maybe one day I’ll get to join in the fun.

But I’m not complaining about getting to go to parades every once in a while for a living. It’s good practice.

Knowing how to watch and see what’s really there is a must for any journalism.

When I covered high school sports, I watched local prep athletes hustle up and down a court or run the basepaths. But I also learned to pay attention to the sidelines, to those on the bench, to those in the stands.

When I covered city council meetings, I watched new ordinances being passed. But I also watched aldermen and residents engage in serious — and sometimes humorous — wordplay. And I watched how that affected the outcome of meetings.

You can learn a lot by just watching for the right things.

And we at the Chronicle sometimes need a bit of help from our readers when our eyes are looking in one direction and something is happening in the other. We can’t see everything.

Is there anything we need to be watching out for that we’re missing? If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

In fact, I’ll be watching out for them.

Joe Grace is the editor of the Chronicle. Contact him at 630-845-5368 or jgrace@kcchronicle.com.

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