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Taking back the sidelines and press boxes.

POSTED November 29, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

Lets call it sideline etiquette, or how to act when you are working a high school sporting event.
Be it in a gym or on the sidelines, things have kinda gotten out of control.
I’ll talk press boxes while I’m at it too.
It used to be that only those working for a local print or web-based media and their photographers were allowed down close to the field, in the press box or at the scorers table inside a gym.
Now it turned into a free-for-all with mom, dad, grandma or grandpa and the dude up the street who likes to take pictures.
These well intentioned folks are crowding out the folks who are there to work, to tell the story of what is happening in said game.
Granted, I understand it’s a cool place to be.
Roaming the sidelines has always been the way I like to do business while keeping stats and getting the game story.
You are close to the action and can get a feel of the emotions that team or coach is feeling.
Is the team fired up or have they thrown in the towel?
Is that technical foul or flag about to be thrown on the coach who is now fed up with what he or she feels have been missed calls?
Who’s hurting? Will they return and how could that effect the outcome of the game?
All these things help a reporter tell the story of what’s going on behind the scenes, where games are sometimes won or lost.
What doesn’t help is having to jockey for position with the folks that just want to get a good picture for the family album or to post on a Facebook page.
These folks sometimes tend to root loudly for their interest on the field.
Fans should be in the stands. If you are on the sidelines, press box or at the scorers table, please don’t yell at the ref for the call you think he just missed or tell the defense in football to “watch the pass”!!!!
Your killing me.
It has always been my feeling that if you are a reporter or photographer at an event, you have no rooting interest.
Yeah, we all like to see the locals prevail, makes for better copy sometimes, but you have to maintain a non-biased approach in order to do a professional job.
I go back to my New York roots when I say, “Hey, I’m working here.”
With everything we now do during a game, Twitter the score, text the score, send a picture while eating a hot dog; there’s no time to chat, especially if I’m working on a deadline or have spilled mustard on my notepad.
The same thing applies in the press box.
Twenty-five people can’t fit in a cubby-hole sized wooden structure with dirty windows that often don’t open.
The place is already crowded with a time-keeper, reporters from a couple of media outlets, maybe a radio station, television might be on hand and the PA announcer.
Three kids who are cold, two parents, a guy who seems lost and the entire cheerleading squad just isn’t gonna cut it. Help!!!
Some places have tremendous facilities to cover a game from and do try and control who is in them.
We thank these folks, especially when they have rosters for each team.
Helps us tell a better story if we don’t just call them all “number 7” played great.
So can we please get the sidelines, press boxes and scorers tables back?
I think it may be too late, but I just had to get it out.
I feel better, thanks for listening.

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