Mannnn do I have a fun story to share. I just hope I can do it justice.
To set things up, I’m two-thirds of the way through a three-week run with our 3A school, IC, who is currently 4-0 and ranked #7 in the state. Two weeks ago I had them against last year’s runners-up from class A, and IC manhandled them by 30 points. Last week, against an 0-3 team, IC won by nearly 50. And this week they’re against a pretty bad 0-4 team.
So that’s been fun to watch and I think my stories have been solid.
Two weeks ago, it was in the mid-90s at kickoff. Five of us were packed into a tight press box and it was downright nasty. Fortunately we were wearing shorts and t-shirts and had a fan. The kids on the field had it rough. There were players puking all over the place. One puked just as the ref was placing the ball for a point after. As he ran off the field, the players from both teams tried to slide over to the left hashmark. The ref shook his head and brought them back to the center of the field. That was fun, I bet.
And then last week it was dreary and in the low 60s at kickoff. People were wearing coats and it was kind of chilly in the press box. Midwestern weather, man.
The best part about last week, though, was the radio crew that was there. I have no idea why, but this 0-4 vs 4-0 game was the Game of the Week on a nearby county station that carries a high school game each Friday night. It was especially odd because neither school was in the same county as the radio station.
Unlike the student broadcasters I listened to early this year, these guys were pros. They were cheesy, over-excited, and worked in cliches the way the great masters worked in oils. But they had been doing this awhile and were very smooth.
What attracted my attention was their great attention to detail. Not necessarily the details of the game, but the details of their broadcasting requirements. You see, pretty much every aspect of the game was sponsored by one local business or another. So there were sponsors for each first down, each sack, each kickoff, each big hit, and so on. What was really impressive was these sponsors changed from quarter to quarter, and the guys never flinched. They might misidentify a player, or get confused about whether the kick returner was crossing the 25 or 35, but they always had their sponsorship down.
I’d like to offer some examples that I scribbled down in between tracking my stats. I wish my text renderings of these could do justice to the quality of Randall and Jerry’s work. Imagine these being said with great enthusiasm.
“Johnson carries it to the 37 which makes that another Bob Wilson Ford first down!”
“And Lacy is pulled down by Mann in the backfield for a Furniture King Mattress and Home Decor sack!”
“Dylan picks it off for a Davis Country Diner interception!”
“Wow! What a big hit! That one was so big that the guys up here in the press box all let out a collective ‘Whoo!’ I think that qualifies as a Freiburg Food’s hit, don’t you Jerry?”
“I sure do, Randall. And they got him behind the line of scrimmage, so it’s also a Brother’s Body Shop sack!”
“We’re about to start the second quarter, which is brought to you by Springhill Christian Center and Bookstore.”
These guys were on it. Sure, they oversold a few plays, but their gusto was enjoyable to listen to. I would imagine their audience was rather small, so you might as well go big.
My other reporting news is that I worked on some basketball previews for a magazine that gets distributed around the state. I wrote about the boys and girls sectionals that most of the schools I cover are in, and then the same for the sectional that I live in.
It’s kind of a weird process. Coaches are supposed to turn in a one-sheet survey by early summer and then these get divvied out to writers around the state. We take all that info, funnel it into 3-4 paragraphs per team, then write a little intro for each sectional. It’s not terribly difficult, which the pay certainly reflects. It was cool to write a few words about a couple kids that will be playing D1 ball down the road, including one kid who is a top 20 player in his class and has offers from pretty much every school in the country.
I had to track down a few coaches who had not turned their info in. I took a little pride in that one of the coaches of a school I regularly cover apparently never turns his info in. I left him a message and he quickly called me back and was very friendly. And then he called me back the next day with an update on a player he forgot to mention. So I felt like I was showing the editors I worked for a little something extra since I was able to gather that school’s info just a few minutes after they told me that was one of the toughest coaches in the state to pin down and be prepared to write based on last year’s roster and stats I could find online.