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Prep reporters, chime in please

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

  1. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    There's one high school in the area that I sit in the press box. It's the city's stadium, so it's much larger and nicer than the single-wide trailers on stilts that most of these places have.

    We write 10 inch "featurized" gamers, so the idea of writing during the game usually is a wasted notion. We're four weeks in and, unlike the two college games I've covered so far, the critical information has happened in the second half.

    Standing on the sidelines before Friday night's game, bullshitting with the stats guy, he mentioned that Major State U.'s recruiting coordinator was supposed to show up. They've received one commitment already from a player on this team and the other player is high on their list. I decide to keep defensive stats for the two, plus two other stars, and ended up getting a really solid story on the linebacker racking up an ungodly amount of stats in hopes of earning a scholarship.

    Wouldn't have had it up in the press box with the chain-smoking PA announcer.
     
  2. Bud_Bundy

    Bud_Bundy Active Member

    As I get older, I prefer the press box more and more, unless I'm writing a sidebar on a big game. Then it's the sidelines no matter how bad the weather. But I always get to games early and make a point to say hello to both coaches and to check for any changes in uniform numbers. Most of the schools we deal with have a roster printed at the start of the season and it's not changed either in the programs or in rosters left in the press box.
     
  3. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Hear a coach yell "You cocksucking pussies ain't ever won shit" once, you heard it multiple times.

    Press box for me.
     
  4. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    I don't think there's a right or wrong answer to this, just preference.

    A lot depends to me on weather and field conditions.

    The game I had Friday night was on a field that was muddy and was very poorly marked, so I chose sidelines because it would be easier to get accurate spots on the ball. With it being so muddy, it would have been impossible to see numbers from the press box, so that was another plus for sidelines.

    If it's on a FieldTurf/AstroTurf field where the yard lines are clearly marked, then I'm more apt to sit in the press box, if there's room. That's another big thing. I can't stand being up there with a bunch of loud idiotic people. If it's a professional setting, I can handle it.

    I do like the color you get on the field, which lends to better storytelling.
     
  5. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    It's the sideline for me.

    When it comes to stats, at most of the places around here that actually have someone in the pressbox doing them, we're a yard or two apart 99 times out of 100. Not enough difference for me to get worked up over.
    On the sideline you can get quickie injury info from trainers or the players themselves, and not waste time after the game tracking it down. You get some insight into coaches' thinking from offhand comments -- or lack thereof. You can even see some of the politics going on, like a coordinator bitching about the head coach's playcalling.
    You can get those explanations for the confusing calls. Not the easy holding penalties, but the inadvertent whistles and personal fouls that take five minutes to sort out.
    And, from my experience, it seems like coaches and players enjoy seeing your face. It helps with building sources. We have one school here where the baseball stands are built into a hill and extremely uncomfortable, so I started sitting at the end of the bench in the dugout. For several years, the coach would get freaked out if I covered one of his games and wasn't sitting there.

    Plus, you get to be useful sometimes. The other night the referees were off their game, to say the least. They blew several calls, and by the time they sorted it out the chains had already been moved. Two or three times they wandered over to me to ask where the ball needed to be spotted.
     
  6. rgd

    rgd Guest

    And did you tell them? That's not your job.
     
  7. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    I've heard this argument before, and while I do understand the reasoning behind it, it's always seemed a little silly. On Friday night (or any other night, for that matter), I have two jobs -- tell people what happened at the game, and do it before deadline. If giving the officials a correct and accurate spot helps me accomplish those other two jobs, then I'm all for it. Believe me, with this officiating crew, we'd have been there until midnight if they were left to their own devices.
    Besides, I got the feeling neither the referees nor anyone watching the game were interested in getting into a philosophical debate on the role of the press in spotting the football at a high school game. They just wanted to get the damn thing spotted and move on.
     
  8. BH33

    BH33 Member

    That brings up another issue, and I'd answer it this way: If the ref asks you, you can go ahead and tell them, but don't offer up the information. It's not your job. But, it is high school sports, and if the ref asks, I'd have no problem saying, "he stepped out at the 4 1/2 yard line. But, if I'm standing there, and they mark the ball at 6 and I know it should be the 4 1/2, I'm not saying anything.

    Either way, you become a part of the game, but if you're not asked, don't get involved.
     
  9. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    That was what happened, BH. The ref came over and asked me for help. I think he was from our town (the game was in another part of the state), recognized me, knew I kept stats and would be able to tell him where the ball should be. I wasn't sitting there waving my hand going, "Oooh! Ooh! I know! I know!"
    In fact, even after they asked me they screwed up the spot. They got the mark right, but instead of 4th-and-15 they made it 4th-and-5. I didn't say a word then.
     
  10. Stupid

    Stupid Member

    the people who say they prefer the press box because they can't see over the players on the sideline might have a point. I don't have that problem because I patrol the 3-foot zone between the sideline and the barrier the players must stay behind or be penalized. Of course, you have to negotiate coaches and, at away games, the chain gang but I can see the spot much easier than in the press box, where the players will block your view.

    I can also see plays develop much easier on the sideline as well as who makes the tackles (unless it's a far-side pile-up). The best reasons to stay on the sidelines are to have access to the referees to ask specifics on a call (most will oblige between plays) and hear what the coaches and players are saying.

    The only times I've sat in the press box is when it rained. Both times I felt detached from the action and missed a few tacklers (was able to track them down from the team stat guys later). But there's no way I can keep legible stats in a downpour so I'd go upstairs again if it's raining.
     
  11. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    I've never met a ref that wasn't accomodating when asked about the call. You can usually joke with them or make small talk during timeouts, quarter breaks, scoring breaks, etc.
     
  12. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    The verizon cards are a godsend.
     
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