Football, basketball, death and molestation

Quite easily the most shocking revelation of 2008. Read on.

I was taking a look at a list of the Sun-Star's most-viewed online stories of 2008 and three things hit me:

1. People here in this part of the Valley love them some murder, mayhem and molestation. Of the top-400 stories in 2008, I'd venture to say that 90 percent of them were heinous crime stories. So-and-so murdered. Joe Blow loses game of Russian roulette. Shots fired. Armed and dangerous. Bank heist here. Hostages there.

If you lumped circumstantial deaths into that dung heap -- like car accidents, train wrecks, train suicides, etc. -- police-scanner journalism would constitute nearly 99 percent of the most-read online stories in the last 12 months.

I don't know about you, but that makes me sick.

2. Not nearly enough people use our Web site for sports scores, updates and information. And that's a shame, considering the lengths we've gone to to make the Web site more appealing, user friendly and entertaining.

Of the top-400 stories, four were sports stories. Four. Two were columns written by former SE Steve Cameron -- one regarding Pat Hill's presence in Merced, and the other about the pitfalls of scholarship offers. The other two were about Gustine's herpes scare and Eric Baker's tragic diving accident.

In other words, more news than sports.

And 3. As much as I'd like to reach through your computer's firewall and physically direct you to the sports section, I can't. None of this is your fault. You know not what you do. You like murder. You like mayhem. You like when things go "Boom!" and people cry.

So what can we do? Well, I guess we could sprinkle our headlines with a few of your favorite keywords. How does "Golden Valley wrestling molests GV" sound? Or "Merced shoots the lights out, kills Atwater"?

Sorry, can't do that, either.

I guess we'll have to do more. More stories. More commentaries. More features and blogs. More video and more audio. We'll have to keep pushing hard, because someday soon, you'll get tired of being a rubbernecker.

Someday soon, I hope, you'll get off the sidelines and get into the game.