There’s a nip in the air outside and my wife is getting up at a gawd-awful time of the morning.

School must be back and that means I’ve been crazy busy trying to get ready for the start of high school sports on the North Shore.

While sports isn’t the sole focus of my job, it’s probably my favorite part and — more importantly — it provides some structure and routines in my job that are important.

Pulling together all — or as many as I can find — of the scores from the last week is a morning routine that helps me get started at work each day.

Sports has led me to many of my favorite people on the North Shore, in one way or another. I’ve gotten to know folks like Michelle Ketola or Steve Van Kekerix while they’ve shot photos next to me. Before games and during halftime, you’ll find me chatting with Greg Ruberg about what’s going on over at Lake View Memorial Hospital in Two Harbors or maybe Silver Bay Mayor Scott Johnson about something happening in town.

I think about a lot of names, but the one person that jumps to mind any time I think about sports on the North Shore is Stew Carlson.

Stew is the pastor at Sychar Lutheran Church in Silver Bay and a contributor to the News-Chronicle.

During the school year, if he’s not working at the church or writing for the News-Chronicle, you can probably find Stew waving his Silver Bay flag and leading a “Let’s go, Bay” chant at a Mariner somewhere in the area.

Sometimes you’ll find Stew doing pushups for every point scored at Silver Bay football games or something equally ridiculous. Stew is always trying to get someone to do a lap with his flag or cheer just a little louder.

The thing is, for most people, cheering like that would seem silly or over the top. With Stew, though, I’ve never doubted his earnesty or why he’s doing it.

I remember talking with him about why he does it and what he told me was really incredible.

“Jamey, some of these kids probably won’t ever have any one cheer for them like this,” he said. “And everybody deserves to know what that feels like at least a couple times in their lives.”

I can't imagine a better attitude for a fan to have about high school sports and the North Shore is full of people who have similar attitudes — if a different way of expressing it.

Two Harbors boys soccer coach Kyle Chalupsky, even when his team is down 12-0 at Hermantown, always has something good to say about his kids. The same goes for Silver Bay girls basketball coach John Sandstrom and pretty much everyone else in Lake County that helps out with extra curricular activities, whether it’s sports or not.

All of them are out there trying to make every day a positive experience for the kids and getting to witness that is easily the best part of my job.

Jamey Malcomb is a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle and Pine Journal. He can be reached at jmalcomb@pinejournal.com or 218-879-1950 .