Sports column: Improving the Athlete of the Week contest

Published 1:00 pm Sunday, January 21, 2024

Now that the presidential primary season has officially begun, it’s time to bring back another poll that’s important to every American — The Vicksburg Post’s Athlete of the Week contest.

We started Athlete of the Week — or AOW, as we call it; if a catchy three-letter nickname is good for some politicians, why not us? — in 2022 and run it as a weekly online poll during the high school sports season from late August to early May.

The poll, like most high school sports, takes a brief hiatus during the Christmas holidays. This past week marked the first edition of 2024 and if you voted in it you might have noticed some changes.

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First, we’ve lifted the limit on the number of times you can vote. As of Jan. 1, we changed the software that runs the contest. The old version allowed a maximum of one vote per person per hour. The new software lets us remove that restriction. So rally the troops, vote for your favorite, and spam away!

Another difference that comes with the new software is a new user interface. Instead of clicking on a photo to vote, the four options will now appear in boxes located below a main graphic. Simply click on the correct box to register your vote.

The options can also take a moment to load once you reach the page, so please be patient.

We’re hoping the changes make Athlete of the Week better and easier to use. As with any new process, however, there are sure to be some bugs that we find and work out along the way. One of the fastest ways to turn a room full of otherwise intelligent people into a room full of idiots is to introduce a new computer operating system, so bear with us while we figure it out.

Other than that, the basics of AOW are still the same. We announce the four nominees — primarily high school athletes from Vicksburg High, Warren Central, St. Aloysius and Porter’s Chapel, but occasionally others from the area — on Sunday afternoon on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter/X pages.

Our readers have until midnight Tuesday to vote and then it turns into Thunderdome. Four athletes enter, one athlete leaves. The winner is announced on vicksburgpost.com on Wednesday each week, and in our print edition on Friday.

So there it is. Follow us online and let us know what you think. Vote early, vote often, but vote. Your favorite athlete — and your country — are counting on you.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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