Sunday, February 16, 2014

Don't ever mess up a high school sports qualifiers list

On Sunday, my Twitter followers were probably not too happy with me.

I was attempting to post a JPG version of our area state swimming and diving qualifiers list, after adding at-large berths that were announced Sunday by the OHSAA.

After the first attempt, I noticed a typo. After the second attempt, I noticed a typo.

Finally, on the third try, the list was posted, thankfully (hopefully) with everyone from our coverage area on it who qualified for Canton.

If there's one thing you never want to mess up, it's a district/regional/state qualifiers list. It's a list of names, but people take it very seriously.

One story that I'll never forget came in 2007, when I first took over as the swimming writer in addition to hockey during the winter. I wanted to try something different, so I posted a district swimming qualifiers list - but only of those competitors seeded in the top 20 due to space constraints in print. Unfortunately, the message about it being top-20 only was not conveyed particularly well, and the response was interesting. One email from a "concerned parent" - and don't we all just love "concerned parent" - stated, "Selective omission is a lie."

There was also an incident one year with state track and field qualifiers during which a 4x400 relay was omitted because they had finished fourth and not fifth as a result of a late disqualification at their regional meet. The coach, and the relay members, were not happy after the fact. They had a right to be, but it was an honest, and embarrassing, mistake.

So if you ever see a list of postseason qualifiers online or in print, just know it's gone over several times to ensure its totality and accuracy - even if it means annoying Twitter followers in the process.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH


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