Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sports Talk: The return to the football press box

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published August 29, 2012.
I know I could have gotten away with not traveling to Taylor County last Friday to see the Rebel football team play; thanks to assistant coach Darren Summers, I knew I would get a detailed stat report on the game.
But after missing the season opening game at Lincoln due to being out of town, plus knowing that the first home game was still two weeks away, I couldn’t help myself.
This was the first Rebel football game I have been to in a number of years. I’m not even sure I went to more than one they fall after my 2004 graduation.  Being there last Friday sure took me back.
You see, I was not the typical spectator through my high school days. My Friday nights were spent high up in the press box glued to every passing second on the field recording the team’s stats. Who got that tackle? What was that penalty? How many yards to go? My job was to capture it all.
When I arrived at Taylor County’s field I took a seat in the stands. Now, I like to think that if I were truly there just for spectating, I would have been satisfied with where I was sitting; however, I barely made it through the first half where I was.
Just as I had a job as statistician eight years ago, I now have a job as a reporter. Sitting between chatty moms, kids playing on the bleachers and highly opinionated fathers did not make for desirable reporting conditions. (Don’t worry, Casey fans, I was amid the Taylor crowd, so maybe that was the true seed of my low tolerance.)
So the second half I invited myself into the pressbox—somewhere that felt much more like home to me.
Coaches in headsets, other reporters, with note pads, video cameras catching the action for review later, colorful radio announcers, statisticians and scoreboard controllers—all in addition to a great view of the field—where else but on the field could be better?
It’s interesting to back in the same place as I was eight years ago, yet in completely different shoes.  Once the spectator and statistician watching Sam Marples suit up in pads and take the field himself, I am not the photographer and reporter, writing about his team of young men as he builds a fine program.
I think no matter if it’s a nerve-wracking  night with a neck and neck score, or if it’s completely one-sided, even with Casey on the losing end, I will love watching Casey County football from the press box. It was there that I went from a girl who thought football was a senseless sport with too much standing around between plays, to the fan who didn’t want to be bothered unless you were helping figure out which five guys were in on that last tackle.
Needless to say, I am looking forward to Sept. 7 at our home field.

No comments: