High school charm
Now that we're heavily into baseball season, I've been reminded why I love this time of year.
Baseball is one of those slow, methodical sports that allows for plenty of conversation between pitches and innings. It's a classic beer-drinking, burger-grilling, jaw-flapping type of game.
After an intense basketball season where the action never ceases, it's nice to have more relaxing gig in the spring.
And my favorite part of it all, the press box conversations.
During football season I'm so locked into the action on the field and keeping stats that I can hardly blink, much less hold a conversation or take a bathroom break. The same goes for basketball season. But during baseball season I can relax in the press box, fill out my scorebook and just have a good time with whoever is sitting next to me.
I can share my opinion on a bad call or comment on a player's performance over his most recent games. I can poke fun at music choice and even laugh at a dirty joke that someone heard earlier in the week. All in all, it's just a good time.
I've covered college basketball and baseball. I've even covered a couple NASCAR races, but nothing compares to covering high school baseball.
In a high school press box it's okay to be biased. Not for me, but for everyone else.
In a high school press box the scoreboard operator moans, groans and cheers just as much as the parents in the stands ... usually because they are a parent.
In a high school press box you can call the umpire an idiot and tell the opposing coach to quit whining.
In a college or professional setting, there's the expectation that you act with the upmost professionalism. But let's be real, being professional is pretty boring. And that's why I love the press box experience at a high school baseball game. I don't have to be uptight, silent and unsocial. I still can't cheer for a particular team, but I can myself. I can be a fan of the game, kick back and enjoy a warm spring night with a good group of folks.
That's the charm of high school sports. It might be the hardest level of competition to cover as a journalist, but there's no place I'd rather be than in a small-town, high school environment where the fans are loyal, loud and honest. I love the laid-back atmosphere that allows me to do my job and stress about missing a play. I love being able to take in the game and analyze what I see instead of scribbling down the result of every pitch. And above all, I love being able to cover a ball game with people that make it seem like I'm not at work.