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Sometimes it takes a village to get a story

POSTED October 02, 2011
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

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                                          Sometimes it takes a village to get a story

            Sometimes you have to appreciate the effort it takes to get a story to you. Let me regress to Friday night and the Torrington High-Holy Cross football game.

            Let’s start in the afternoon. I was scheduled to cover the clash of unbeatens in Berkshire League field hockey circles for the Waterbury Republican with Kathy Brenner’s high-powered Nonnewaug Chiefs set to take on perennial power Lewis Mills and Maggie Tieman  in Burlington.

            I roll up Route 8 and get that funny feeling in the stomach upon arrival at Mills that you only get when you don’t see a bus or any field hockey players on the field. Am I at the wrong field? Maybe the game was in Woodbury. Wouldn’t be the first time.

            I strolled around the back of the school and noted the empty field hockey field. Nary a player,  coach or stick only the ghosts of Ken Hoagland, Eileen Crompton and Hal Lindert.  On the way out I poked my head in the Mills weight room and one student told me that the game had been cancelled. It had been announced over the P.A. system in the morning, no reason given.

            So I headed back home, a bit excited to have a Friday off, a bit disappointed that somehow I had wasted my time and not been alerted to the cancellation. I called my Litchfield colleague Mr. Tim Gaffney to let him know about the cancellation and he offered this idea up.

            He was scheduled to cover the Torrington-Holy Cross game at Municipal Stadium, also for the Waterbury Republican, and was not feeling well. He was also scheduled to host a benefit golf tournament Saturday at Fairview Farms. In the slightly raspy voice of a grizzled veteran reporter, he asked me if I wanted to do the game.

            Feeling slightly guilty but with plans already made for the night figuring I would be done with my assignment by 7 p.m. I politely declined the offer. Hey, I saw Brendan Lytton run for 427 yards last week against Wolcott. How many more could he run for this week?

            So Gaffney made the journey to Waterbury. Then Mother Nature took over. With lightning bolts flashing all over, probably looking for Red Sox management and Theo Epstein over the handling of Terry Francona, the game was postponed for two hours.

            With the contest starting between 9-9:30 p.m., Gaffney realizes that by the time the game is over he will not have time to drive home write the story and come anywhere near the Waterbury Republican deadline. We are not equipped with PC’s to write from site.

            Gaffney alerts Mike Barger at the Republican of the problem. Barger gets a hold of Roger Cleaveland, another of the Republican’s very fine sportswriters, who had been scheduled to cover the Watertown-Wilby game only to see it cancelled.  Cleaveland arrives at Municipal and Barger has to bring him over a computer.

            Meanwhile Gaffney, who has spent about four hours at the stadium, is left tired and storyless and pretty much penniless. Roger, in his typical efficient fashion, gets the story and the Republican gets the game.  

            As for me, I guiltily and happily admit I was engrossed in fine plate of linguini with seafood in white sauce. Then I contentedly watched TV as the raindrops pounded down. Even saw a commercial with two let’s say interesting guys speaking glowingly about some sports web site.

            I spoke with a still raspy-voiced Gaffney Saturday morning and he was still lamenting the metal seats and press box as the lightning lit up the big ballpark on Thomaston Avenue in Waterbury.  At least his golf tournament had been cancelled due to the weather.

            Sometimes it’s just not as easy as it looks although I got off easy on this one.  

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