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Prep reporters, chime in please

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

  1. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Just be careful what you say. I had one threaten me with ejection once. It was kind of a goofy game anyway, and at the start of the fourth quarter a fuse blew and knocked out half the lights in the stadium. It was still light enough to play, so both coaches decided to go ahead and start up again.
    Well, on the first play the visiting team is called for offsides. Except that, apparently, one of the referees was an electrician who had gone up by the light pole trying to help, and he hadn't made it back down for the play. So the penalty was wiped out.
    Like I said, several goofy things had already happened in this game, so I just laughed out loud at this latest turn of events. The side judge heard me, turned and pointed at me, and said, "And if I hear one more word out of you, you're outta here!"
    I guess he thought I was with the team, but it worked. I shut up. Last thing I need is a coach pissed at me for getting his team a 15-yard penalty and an editor even more pissed because I didn't file a story.
  2. BH33

    BH33 Member

    Batman, I wasn't accusing you of offering information to the ref, I was just making a blanket statement.

    There is part of me, however, that thinks it's odd to chat with coaches and refs during the games. Most coaches I know, the last thing they want is the media chatting with them during the game. I've known coaches that don't even want to talk to you BEFORE the game. And, I'd think refs hear enough from coaches and players to have to explain calls to a reporter, too.
  3. schrdp2002

    schrdp2002 Member

    Sideline...keeps me in shape....running up and down the sidelines...
  4. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    I didn't think for a second you were accusing, BH. I was just trying to explain that particular situation. Especially for Ebby Calvin, who did seem to use disapproving font #43 on me.
  5. Stupid

    Stupid Member

    I rarely talk to coaches during games (except baseball) and never talk to players but there's always a moment or 2 during a football game where the ref will say something and I'll respond or vice versa. We're both just working guys out there with pretty much the same objective.
  6. berklonius

    berklonius New Member

    I'm personally a pressbox guy, but if you are writing a sidebar where statistical information isn't necessarily important or if you have another source for it (i.e. another reporter when we used to double-staff the big rivalry game at one of my previous stops) sidelines can be useful. However, like many of you have said, I think its hard to take accurate stats and see plays develop on the sidelines due to the commotion that typically goes on with kids walking back and forth, coaches bellowing, cheerleaders throwing pompoms, mascots acting stupid, etc.

    I also can't trust coaches with stats, because most of their stats are way off. They usually take stats by going off game film, which is usually shot by some 16-year old kid who a) spaces out and misses an entire play b) who's camera skills are amateur and miss penalty flags on plays, therefore the coaches count nullfied plays in their stats or c) are more concerned with using the camera to pan in on their friends/people they want to hook up with.

    As far as the emotions of the game thing, I really don't think you get much. You get to hear a coach call the ref an uncle-fucker at times, kids telling other kids to stop being pussies, but that never gets in the gamer. If you develop your sources well enough, the coaches and players will explain the emotions in postgame well enough to make for a good story. And on another note, sometimes the emotions of the game don't factor into a story at all. Not every game is an epic battle versus good and evil. Sometimes a 42-6 ass-kicking is simply that, an ass-kicking that needs to be reported as such without flowery language on how the team getting bitch-slapped was trying real hard.

    I think sometimes we try too hard to make our stories seem like more than they are. Unless you have a one-legged benchwarmer kid who catches a touchdown pass with his facemask late in the game while his quadraplegic mother is watching on the sidelines while figuring out a better version for the theory of relativity and you are able to capture all that in an elegant way, you aren't going to win an APSE, APME or Pulitzer from a bad high school football game. That's just the way it is.
  7. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    I was a pressbox guy when I first started and then I tried the sidelines with a guy from a rival paper and loved it. It feels so much more real. At my new shop it is all pressboxes and I could almost fall asleep in there at times. It is like someone else earlier said, you might as well be at home watching the game on your couch. You are so far detached. The only thing to do if you are in the press box and want to feel apart of the game is to open the window.
    Also, sometimes you don't have a choice about the weather. I was on the road once, 300 miles from my paper, and was told there was no room in the press box. So I walked the sidelines for a triple overtime thriller in 22 degree weather and a blinding snowstorm. That was good times. I kept stats on paper inside of a freezer-size ziplock back. Sketchy to say the least.
  8. rgd

    rgd Guest

    Didn't mean to sound too disapproving. I faced a situation last year at a basketball game when the clock operator let a bunch of time run off while free throws were being shot. I had noted how much time was left when the foul was called, so when a ref asked me how much time should be on the clock, I refused to tell him. I told him I didn't want to be involved. The clock wasn't reset to the proper time, yet both coaches said after the game I did the right thing by not saying anything. I never want to be a part of the story.
  9. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    True, but they know he's paying attention.
    Never tell them they have the ball in the wrong spot, but if they ask and you know, I dont see a problem.
    And with the basketball clock. Years ago, I worked a game where the clock kept malfunctioing. The two officials were probably the best tandem in the state. They knew I kept play by play and when the clock would go out, they would ask for help.
    If I was in the stands, yeah, that would be a problem. At the scorers table, I see no problem. They had every right not to use my timing.

  10. Here it's the opposite. The press box is pretty open, while the local team I cover invites community leaders, former players, four or five parents and friends of the coach over to the sideline. Whenever we play big venues, I have to be quick to get my sideline pass or the team will give them all away before giving any to the press. It's ridiculous, and something I've complained about, but it ain't going to change. For me, the press box is my sanctuary.
  11. BarbersGmen

    BarbersGmen Member

    Ahh just not enough to get the opposing QB's name right? Just kidding, it happens to me all the time.

    I'd rather be in the pressbox too, unless there are a bunch of fuckheads in there that insist on talking about a million other things that make it hard to concentrate on the game. I'm not good at math to begin with.
  12. CradleRobber

    CradleRobber Active Member

    There are pros and cons to both, and I'm sure they've already been discussed. I didn't read through all three pages but here are my two cents.

    You do get a better feel for specific plays from the sidelines, but your perspective is so close-up that you'll have to move a lot. I know with the stat sheets I run, it's difficult to do standing up or attached to one clip board AND move up and down the field with the action.

    My main problem with the press box has always been during night games and dark jerseys. It's often difficult to see who runs the ball up the middle, because the back usually escapes the pile and is back in the huddle before you can even come close to reading a number. This isn't a problem when the home school has an effective announcer with a spotter who knows the athletes or is good with binoculars.
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