Thursday, October 08, 2009

Expressing Some Well-Known Frustration

Tim Parry decided he was mad as hell and so on. So he said what needed to be said about the lack of rosters, stats, and other high school football information. He even mentioned WGCH, correctly:
Several news outlets cover your teams, including a few that do live broadcasts. Without stats, their broadcasts contain little color. I can only imaging how the WGCH-AM crew managed doing the Harding-Greenwich game the other day with no info on Harding, other than facts like “they wear blue helmets.” Plus, the media will go to some games and be told there are no rosters. So on deadline, they’re coming up with random names in hopes calls from angry parents don’t come it.
Incidentally, thanks to assistant coach Matt Hamilton, Greenwich's MaxPreps page has stats!

Tim is absolutely right. Recently, a fellow broadcaster asked me about game prep. Before I could begin to laugh, which I did, he said, "Oh, right. High School football. You're often lucky if you have a roster by kickoff."

I've seen broadcasters who have elaborate spotting boards, or these handwritten manila folders, packed with info. I don't have that luxury. Even with Greenwich, despite my amazingly good relationship with them, I don't always know the starters until they take the field. It's not like basketball, where they're required to be in the scorebook.

I used to call schools to request a roster. Sometimes, it was like I had asked for their playbook. So if you don't want to fax it to me, or email it, why not just put it online?

To that end, Matt Hamilton (and Ricky Fritsch, for that matter) can tell you about the time that we didn't get a football roster until one minute before airtime. The thing was, though, it was the public address announcer's copy. So as I opened the broadcast, Matt wrote the whole thing out - longhand. That is the worst-case scenario.

Then there's the classic case of a player who isn't listed on the roster, or the player who changed his number. We just do our best to even not mention the player, or refer to him (or her) by their number, as we scramble to find out who they really are.

And another of my favorites - the roster that isn't in numerical order! Always fun to call a game with.

We're fortunate that Greenwich fans, players, coaches, and families are happy to assist when necessary. Of course, stats are a whole different story. That's why I'm so grateful to Matt for his hard work. Of course, as Vin Scully has said:
“Statistics are used much like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination.”
Too many announcers worry too much about stats. It's the little things that make a broadcast better. I like the stories, when available.

Is it really that hard to post a roster and stats, heaven forbid a little tidbit about the players or the team? There has to be an assistant coach, a student, a parent - SOMEBODY - who would be willing to do these things. It takes a village sometimes!

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