Sunday, July 15, 2012

Memories of compiling Jog results

The Johnnycake Jog is a revered part of the local sports calendar, and for good reason because of its popularity and staying power.

In one sense for me, though, it's difficult not to cringe a little looking back - and to be clear, it's a Jog memory that in the end has absolutely nothing to do with the event itself.

When I first started at The News-Herald, originally as a sports clerk well more than a decade ago, the Sunday night after the Jog was not a walk in the park in that particular job capacity.

The reason could be summed up in one word: Results.

Today, unless the technology somehow doesn't cooperate, Jog results are stored on a text file and our clerks have to copy and paste into our system and do some minor editing and formatting toward the finished product you see in Monday's paper.

Back in the day, not so much. A post-Jog Sunday night shift brought the sight of large rings,  containing hundreds of tags each with a competitor's name, age and hometown, and time tapes. Every tag had to be typed in manually, matching a competitor with their time on the tape. Name, age, hometown, time, repeat. There was no other way.

(And this was after walking 5 miles to the office in my bare feet uphill.)

The totality of such a task cannot be understated. It took up several hours, an enormous amount of space in print and a lot of patience to make it to the end. It was such a task, in fact, that a comp day was given merely for going through the process.

Again, it's not to imply anything negative about any community event, in this case the Jog.

It's just that, in the course of typing in community results, there are certain tasks that stand out a little more than the others based purely on volume and subsequent time needed to complete - large bowling leagues, youth swimming, high school conference seasonal awards and, yes, the Jog as examples.

They're all great local staples, and we welcome their appearance in print because it means our readers want to see it there.

But in addition to being great local staples, they're high volume local staples as well.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH


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