You probably think it's a little weird, Dear Diary, that I spend time thinking about my epitaph. But we all have our hobbies. And mine is going to read, "Here lies Mikey D. He just didn't understand."
For instance, Dear Diary, I just don't understand why the Eastern Connecticut Conference insists on playing five tournament championship events on the same day (and some at the same time) next week. I mean, if the world ends next week, it better not end Friday.
There's the baseball finals Friday night at Dodd Stadium. Softball Friday night at Griswold. Boys' and girls' lacrosse Friday night at East Lyme. Girls' tennis Friday at Stonington. Good thing there isn't a golf course with lights.
This annoys me on a number of fronts, Dear Diary.
First, we get really excited about championship week here at AMUMO (America's Most Underrated Media Outlet). It's not this way everywhere. Some people in our profession think they're sentenced, not assigned, to high school events. They don't understand the wonderful writing opportunities that emotion generates: big games, bigger crowds and more interest create drama.
But you know what happens when the ECC insists on playing everything on the same day at the same time?
We can't do our jobs very well. Staffing is an issue. Stories are shorter. Some are relegated to Page 2 for space reasons. There's no chance to send more than one writer to a game. We cannot send photo journalists to everything.
Now I know, Dear Diary, that readers may not necessarily care about our hardships. Except that less coverage leads to the inevitable parade of disgruntled callers, e-mailers and social commentators who want to know why we are forsaking the kids. They really work hard, you know. Sure wasn't like this in the old days. Why do you favor one school over another? Blah, blah, blah.
I'm tempted, Dear Diary, to write the following line: If coverage isn't to your liking next week, call your local athletic director. They make the schedules. Do you think that's fair, Dear Diary?
Here's the other thing that frosts my adenoids about this, Dear Diary: Other leagues across the state seem to have this figured out.
The Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference (FCIAC) manages to play its softball finals Thursday, lacrosse Friday and baseball Saturday at noon. Imagine: the newspapers down there can showcase a different sport for three straight days. And they're all perfectly willing to play Sunday or Monday in case of rain. But that means some people would actually have to work on a weekend.
The Southern Connecticut Conference and its 22 schools has scheduled its lacrosse finals Thursday and — get this — a baseball/softball doubleheader at the same site (West Haven High) on Saturday. Baseball at 3, softball at 7. Could you imagine, Dear Diary, if anyone around here ever had the foresight to ask the good people of Groton if Washington Park was available for the same thing?
Imagine: Washington Park with its adjacent softball and baseball fields … it becomes an event … lots of people … lots of people buying T-shirts and hot dogs …
Instead, Dear Diary, there's five sports in four different places, surely keeping crowds down. Surely denying parents a chance to watch siblings who might be playing in different championship games. And what if one school happens to be playing in multiple championship games? Like, for instance, Waterford, which could certainly play for the baseball and softball or East Lyme (softball, lacrosse).
It's not like we've never discussed this, Dear Diary. Every year, we ask that the ECC soccer finals aren't played on a Friday night, thus competing against football. Every year, they are played on a Friday night. Maybe somebody in our league has a Friday fetish, Dear Diary.
Thanks again for lending an ear, Dear Diary. You're always there when I need you. And you resisted the temptation to point out that this diary entry is being made on a Friday. I must have the same fetish.
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.