Even with outside temperatures in the 90's, there's a fever going around the Channel Six sports department. It's Friday Football Fever!
It's hard to believe that in early September, the high school football season will fire up again. Didn't Jenks just win the 6A title - AGAIN? For us at the Sports on Six, the work starts now. Where is Bowlegs? Are you sure they're the Atoka Wampus Cats?
Once again, Friday Football Fever will be the most comprehensive show in town. But that doesn't happen without a lot of hard work from dozens of people. Everyone from the sports department to the sales department rolls up his or her sleeves to make the show a success.
Wait a minute - is it the Henryetta Knights or Fighting Hens?
The week begins on Monday, when already we're plotting the games for Friday night. With six photographers, two live trucks and a helicopter to coordinate, it can be a logistical nightmare. Plus, we have to consider which towns we've visited and which towns we haven't. Our goal by the end of the season is to have covered each area team - no matter how big or how small.
Is that Haileyville or Haleyville?
Which game should be our Game of the Week? We try to have that ironed out by Tuesday. It's easy to follow the traditionally good teams each week but you can't forget natural rivalries either. Jenks versus Sand Springs is a great matchup but so is Hominy versus Cleveland. This season, we'll go live to an extra game, meaning even more coverage of the classic rivalries.
McAlester Buffalos or Buffaloes?
Later in the week, we tape promos to advertise where Touchdown Six, our helicopter, will visit. Other staffers call the hundred or so schools to check press box phone numbers and remind them to call us on Friday night.
One thing I've discovered in covering high school football for 11 years in three different cities. Anything goes when you're trying to get scores. I've known people who have called local restaurants or even a Wal Mart store to get a score. It's not unheard of to call the county sheriff or a gas station - ANYTHING as long as you get the score. In Las Vegas, I even took a call from a rival sportscaster who tried to disguise his voice to get a score from me.
I calmly informed him he didn't have to talk like a 14 year old girl to get the score.
Are you sure it's the Alva Goldbugs? Or is that Goldbergs?
By Friday night, all systems are go. We go live to reporter John Holcomb at our Game of the Week site during the six o'clock sportscast. Then, I hustle over to the top of the Tulsa Convention Center parking garage to board Touchdown Six. Three towns later, it's back to Tulsa - where I burst into the studio just minutes before airtime hoping that everything is in order.
Eufala Ironheads and Nowata Ironmen, hmmmmm.
The show is a blur. How many scores did we get this week? How many games did we shoot? Afterwards, a sigh of relief. Miraculously, Friday Football Fever went off without a hitch. But there's always next week.
Should we shot the Okeene Whippets or Paoli Pugs? Decisions, decisions.