Sunday, July 22, 2012

Art of compiling an area prep schedule

The area high school sports day-by-day schedule is a newspaper staple.

It obviously serves a purpose for the audience and for the local media to know what's going on when.

Getting it to a point at which it's complete, though, is an underrated art.

It used to be the media relied on the school for a hard copy of their sports schedules. Once they were submitted, they would be added to what was already on file. The problem being, if for whatever reason schedules were not available, it would render the master schedule incomplete.

Technology has allowed for the process to be a little smoother, although that has had its road bumps as well. There was a period about a decade ago during which everything fell into place. One website had all of the local schools' schedules, in a simple text format, and they were easy to acquire.

Then said website was bought out, and the process became more difficult. The new-look schedule website was, in retrospect, a little too graphic intensive, and ADs and media alike were frustrated. It led to a period as a result during which schedules were not entered online by some schools.

That ironed itself out to an extent, and for the last few years things have been a little more serene in this endeavor. The schedules were all online and could be had, although it took a few more clicks.

Unfortunately, the process has been challenged again. There was another buyout of a schedule website, and the new owner dramatically changed formatting.

So in order to compile a truly complete master schedule of daily high school sporting events now, a schedule has to potentially come from any one of four sources - two websites (a national entity and a site used by ADs directly), the school or each team's coach.

This is not to overly criticize anyone, really. The websites are free to run themselves and format themselves however they like.

It would just be nice for everyone - ADs, coaches, athletes, fans and media alike - if the information were just a little more accessible.

For once with technology, it makes you yearn for how things were a decade ago, when the art of finding a schedule was not complicated at all.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH


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