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No rosters at a high school football game

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Smallpotatoes, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    It never fails to amaze me how often I make rookie mistakes after all these years. To all you young writers out there, if you're covering a high school football game, especially a season opener, don't ever assume that rosters will be available for both teams. A day or two before the game, do whatever you can to get rosters in advance. Download one from the team Web site (if there is one) or call the school and ask them to fax or e-mail you a copy.
    I didn't do that for tonight's game and sure enough, there were no rosters for either team available. Eventually, I found one for the visitors (the team I cover) from a parent, but there was no roster for the home team. I ended up just copying the names of the starting backfield and receivers off the announcer's roster.
    It's easy to turn this into a bitch session about how there's no excuse for schools not to have rosters at a football game, but it does happen, especially when it's the season opener. The question is, assuming you didn't or couldn't get the rosters in advance, what do you do? It's not like baseball, basketball or soccer, where you can just copy down a 10-20 names. With 40 or more players dressed for a football game, it's not really practical to copy down all the names and numbers. Do you wait until after the game and try to grab the rosters from the announcer? Do you just get the numbers of the kids who carry the ball? What do you do?
    Again, I can't stress this enough: Don't ever assume that rosters will be available for both teams, especially at the season opener. Get them in advance, before you go to the game.
    Maybe someday I'll heed my own advice.
  2. why not?
  3. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    I'd try to get the announcer's roster. Last week I had to pull one out of the trash can in the press box, and it still had nacho cheese on it. It was quite icky. Didn't find out if it was yummy, though.

    If that fails and everybody's bugging out after the game, just get the guys you need from one of the coaches. People who were in on key plays, people who scored, that sort of thing. If you need them for cutlines, write around them (Springfield High running back John Jones is wrapped up by a Shelbyville defender).
  4. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    I had a great time at my game tonight. The press box was tiny, but I had room. Talked to the PA guy a bit. He told me they would give me what space they could, but I might have to squeeze into the corner. I said no problem, I might even sit outside cuz it was a beautiful night. He said how the rival paper's guy was there the last game and bitched up a storm when they told him the same thing. Then they got wings and ribs and chicken tenders from Applebee's brought up at halftime and they gave me some. Mmmmmmmmmm! Too bad for them their team got pummeled 47-0, but it was the team I covered doing the pummeling.

    Plus they had rosters, and then the coaches from my school show up and even give me a sheet with their team's starting lineups all printed out! Never had that happen before.
  5. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    Well, it does take a little longer. But in this age of copying machines and printers, perhaps I've gotten a little lazy.
  6. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    Just make up names. I like to use Ron Jeremy as my default. Nobody will question it for fear that they'll be exposed as a porn addict.
  7. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Well, in our shop, you'd have your copy of the preseason tab with all the rosters in it -- for the area teams, anyway.
  8. Moland Spring

    Moland Spring Member

    Whenever people are discussing promotions or covering someone's first big event or reporting from a pro press box, stuff like this comes up. I'll maintain that this job is never harder than going to a 1A prep football game, with no rosters, a PA announcer who is some guy's father, no press box, with no phone line to send a story, and lights that go out as soon as the game ends. It's really the perfect way to train, I think. Covering a higher level event is always easier. Of course, the stakes are higher so that makes up for it. But logistically, it's always easier.
  9. MilanWall

    MilanWall Member

    I fully agree. Prep coverage is in many ways much harder for me now than when I was covering Division I college football for my college's newspaper as a student. Especially because I have to take the photos and stats for our small weekly, so no sitting in the press box for me.
  10. Del_B_Vista

    Del_B_Vista Active Member

    At the game I covered last night, the home team unveiled its beautiful 2006 program -- at its second home game. Lots and lots and lots ... and lots of pictures of high school cheerleaders in ads. A few of the team and the band. But, for five bucks, no freakin' Hometown HS roster. Go figure.

    (I'm not worried about the $5 since I'll expense it, but how can you honestly charge that for a rosterless program. And, for the record, it did have a loose copy of the visiting team roster. Idiots.)
  11. Claws for Concern

    Claws for Concern Active Member

    Getting HS football rosters is like a box of chocolates .. you never know what you're gonna get!
  12. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter Active Member

    One of the teams I covered last week had a program ($5) that included rosters for all of its opponents this season. I was, to say the least, quite impressed.
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