Friday, November 12, 2010

Big time

You know how in movies when the small time performer, be it an athlete, singer, or actor, marvels at being on a big field, court, or stage for the first time? Perhaps the reality and magnitude of the situation puts some doubt in him even though he's doing something that he's done many times before. That's what I experienced tonight as I took my seat courtside to keep the official statistics for the Ohio State University men's basketball game.

I've been keeping official stats for Division III teams since the fall of 1995, so I've had more than my share of practice. I've worked NCAA Tournament games, high school tournament games, and a nationally televised high school basketball game. Nevertheless, none of those quite compare to sitting two people away from the Ohio State bench with a section of jumping, cheering students directly behind me.

My experience with the stats program is apparently a gift that keeps on giving. (Over the years that extra money adds up.) It boggles my mind how a school as big as OSU didn't have anyone available to input on the primary and backup computers, but that's why I got the proverbial call to do the job this evening.

Although I last used the program nine months ago, I wasn't all that concerned about being able to perform. Then I walked around the court, found my station, and realized how much was riding on my accuracy and speed. My work would be displayed to all media and on the scoreboard. (Now that I think about it, it also went out to everyone in real time on the web.) At TV timeouts I'd need to print multiple copies of the stats for the teams and assorted press. The tasks themselves were nothing I couldn't handle. Being in a bigger spotlight was something I was unaccustomed to, though.

I just sort of inherited the duty of running the primary computer. The other guy didn't seem eager to jump in there and take it, so he took the backup while I had the main one. I figured that I'd be fine once I put on the headset and the game began, but I was a little nervous. The computer's desktop and the process were slightly unfamiliar from what I'm accustomed to. Plus, OSU is ranked #4 in the nation, and this game, as lopsided as it would be surely be, was easily the biggest I would stat.

Luckily the spotters were experienced and made it relatively easy, even if it was kind of intense. To my dismay, about a minute in the person running the shot clock inadvertently reset it, so the referee turned to me to ask when the last missed free throw was. I've never had this happen before--mostly because at the other place I'm not courtside--and the spotters said they'd never witnessed it. I quickly pulled up the answer, but that was a wild way to start off.

Despite the boisterous students a foot or two behind me and being shielded from the action by Ohio State's head coach when the action was at my end of the court, I was able to lock in, press the right keys, and get the job done well. The spotters fed the information to me rapidly and accurately, and I was a machine in punching it into the computer.

In the end I had a good time and didn't feel as pressured as I anticipated in the minutes leading up to tip-off. It helped that I didn't make any massive errors (or am unaware of them) and was intently focused in the midst of the chaos.

Oh yeah, Ohio State cruised to the win.

(And obligatory knitting content: a woman in the front row on the other side was knitting before the game. I didn't notice her doing so during the game. Then again, with as fast as everything went, I honestly couldn't tell you how much of the game I saw that was mere feet in front of me.)

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At 9:21 AM, Anonymous LittleWit said...

Hooray! Doing the stats for OSU is very exciting. Will you be helping out throughout the season? :)


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