Thursday, November 11, 2010

On The Road To Howard; Remembering Last Night

Man, it's been a crazy couple of days. The men's basketball season starts tomorrow and, as the guy in athletic communications who handles the sport, I thought I'd do some blogging throughout the year on the team. We're currently on a bus headed to the airport to fly the rest of the way to Washington, D.C. for tomorrow night's game. I think there's a lot of anticipation (at least for me) about what this team is capable of. But before I get to that, I thought I'd quickly comment on last night's football game.

As a statistician, last night's game was a nightmare with the fog. In 12 years in this profession, I've never had a situation like last night in trying to stat a game. It was unbelievable. I've just got to throw some kudos out to the cast we have in the pressbox for the work they did in making sure the stats were accurate. Scott Swegan handles the actual inputting on the computer and he has the final say on all stats -- so he's got to confirm with his own eyes what he's told by others around him. Nate Doolin calls out the action on the field and spent half the game trying to decipher what happened through binoculars and half the game trying to figure it out while watching the ESPN telecast. Brad Meyer is our defensive stats guy, mostly handling tackles. Like Nate, he spent half the game with binoculars plastered to his face and half the game trying to confirm what he saw through the binoculars on the foggy ESPN telecast. Everett Fitzhugh and Kyle Wilbur spent much of the second half braving the weather on each sideline with cell phone in hand in case we needed a closer set of eyes to distinguish whether a #6 caught the ball or a #8. Reid Linder was helping with the ESPN telecast on headphones, but he helped us out to figure out the puzzle that was trying to make heads or tails of what happened. It was truly a team effort to get accurate stats completed last night.

Despite the final score, it's always fun to be involved with a team all dedicated on the same goal -- in this case figuring out what actually happened on the field when we couldn't see what was going on. And those guys did an excellent job. For the better part of two hours, we did nothing more than work as a collective unit to put together the detailed account of what was happening on the field. It may seem trivial, but it's probably the closest we get in our profession to actually being on a team. I've also got to give credit to my assistant and the football SID Dave Meyer. When we left the pressbox and walked back to our cars at 1:30 this morning, we realized we had just finished up an 18-hour day. And for Dave, an ESPN game like this one involves a whole lot of long days leading up to the game. We couldn't get the publicity and national attention we get without his tireless efforts.

Now -- onto men's basketball. For me, this is a pretty exciting time of the year. Two years ago, I started at BGSU three days before the men's basketball season started. I hit the road with the team to Minnesota for three games without knowing any of the players, coaches, or staff who I was on the road with. I had no idea what kind of team we'd have or even who our starting point guard was. Of course, I did my best to cover up those facts but as the season rolled along, I learned more. That season was such a blur that the fact that they won a MAC Championship almost snuck up on me.

As for this year, I'm really interested to see how this season develops. From a talent perspective, I don't see this team missing anything that would be needed to win a MAC title. But as those close to the conference know, the talent level in the MAC is so evenly distributed that there are a lot of intangibles that determine the best teams from the worst. There's very little talent discrepancy in this league. What this team achieves could be determined by how the individual pieces come together, chemistry, experience, and leadership. All the pieces are here but we're yet to see how the six newcomers fit with the eight returners. Will all those pieces fit together for a MAC Championship? Starting tomorrow night at Howard, we'll begin to find out that answer. So stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff, Jason! Just wanted to go on record as saying that, between the Fog Bowl, the Mud Bowl and the tornado scare in Oxford, I will have to think long & hard about working another BGSU-Miami football game. :)

    Sincerely, Mike Cihon