So many places to be, and so many people to see. That’s our dilemma every night as we decide which games to cover. So many choices, so many places we could be. On many occasions I often hear, “leaving already?” as I make my way out the gyms or off the soccer and football fields. When the Zamboni rolls, we roll, typically off to another hockey game, basketball game or wrestling meet.
What many don’t realize, is that we don’t have the luxury of shooting an entire game or match. Instead, we often shoot 2-3 games per night, trying to catch as much action as we can before the final buzzers sound. In the winter season, we’re in more intimate settings with the fans literally at arm’s length and our presence and/or absence is a lot more noticeable than on a darkened football stadium or soccer field. When our flashes stop lighting up the action, it’s a lot more noticeable. But, our goal is to make sure we cover all the hockey, wrestling, hoops, swim and dive and skiing events each week for our various schools, which number 22 in our various community papers.
Don’t get me wrong, now. We’d love to be able to sit in the stands, snacks and beverages at the ready, but we have so many places to be each night that it’s a literal revolving door at every school with us bypassing the fans and administrators like ships in the night. Halftime simply signals that it’s time to be back in the car so we can catch another team’s second, third or fourth period in basketball or the final period of a hockey game.
On the girls’ season-opening night two Fridays ago, I had the opportunity prior to the Lapeer West girls’ game to talk to a couple different booster members and administrators and even they were not aware of just how thinly stretched our staff, and every other newspapers staff, is every night. But, it’s also our favorite part of the job. Writing the game recaps is one thing, but getting out to the schools and shooting the action is what we enjoy most, so having to hit so many games each night is part and parcel of what we do. It’s just a bit more daunting in the long, cold winter season, but still, nothing tells a story like those action photos. If we could parcel the writing off to someone else, we’d all be the first to do just that, and we’d be also be able to stay longer for the games, especially when we have two teams from our large coverage area doing battle. Duty calls however, and as many coaches were reminded on our first midnight Friday session, no pizza or refreshments for us after the games, just a semi-darkened office, the fax machine and our computers, as we put the game action into text and colorful layouts for the printing plant. There it is…another halftime buzzer. Off to the next game! Catch you next time everyone, play on and play hard. Don’t let time be your enemy.