Covering the Central Connecticut Conference

It’s official

I will be covering the Central Connecticut Conference (#CCC) for GameTimeCT.com.

I got a taste of the area during the fall when I covered a couple of football games, but then took a break. I am back now and will cover the huge 32 team conference to the best of my ability.

I love using Twitter and will live tweet every single event I am at. I would like to find the Twitter accounts of all of the schools in the CCC, so I can tag them in my tweets. If you run one of these accounts or know what they are, let me know (@DCT_Sports).

Along with using the traditional Connecticut high school sports hashtags, i.e. #ctbb, #ctgb, #ctbase etc. I will begin using the same for the CCC (#cccbb, #cccgb, #cccbase). I look forward to everyone joining the conversation with me and learning from the fans of the Central Connecticut Conference.

Also, if you have stories or games that you feel like need to be covered, feel free to let me know.

I am one person and won’t be able to cover every school, but I will be at the ones that need to be covered and will try to keep updates on the rest of the schools.

I look forward to this new opportunity and will have fun with it!

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How the country is following this breaking news

This isn’t sports, but it’s breaking news…

I was just watching some college softball on ESPN until I heard that a police officer had been shot at MIT in Boston. No one was sure if it was connected to the marathon bombing, but I immediately started following the story.

A number of the people I follow on Twitter for sports started tweeting about what they were hearing on the Boston police scanner… automatic weapons, grenades, shootout…I couldn’t believe it, so I had to tune in on my own.

I began listening to the scanner feed and tweeting what I thought was interesting. Pictures and tweets and videos kept popping up and I couldn’t look away. At one point I saw over 80,000 people listening to the scanner feed and that was just on the one app I was using.

Twitter has been ahead of every other news outlet in the world tonight and it’s incredible. I have never seen my timeline so alive at 3 a.m. ever…and I am usually awake at this time every night. I had planned on going to bed around 1 a.m. until this happened, but I have not been able to put my phone or computer away.

There are so many people asleep right now who, when they wake up, won’t be able to believe what happened overnight.

I have had the TV on, muted with the police scanner on and Twitter open for the last three hours and still can’t believe what is happening in Watertown, Mass. right now. Like I tweeted earlier, people used to laugh at me when I said I got all my news from Twitter, but tonight solidifies my point. My mom rarely even tries to ask me if I heard about something, because she knows I probably heard about it on Twitter as it happened.

Another argument going around right now is people reporting off police scanners. Yes it is real time information, but it is constantly changing and is used to help authorities communicate. They give some good information, but the real reporting should still be done by the people on the scene or on the phone with credible sources. 

Tonight is a big night for social media, for the good and the bad, but after all we have gone through and seen this week, hopefully everyone is getting better.

Don’t Fill Out a Bracket

Here is the overdue post about why you shouldn’t fill out an NCAA bracket ever again.

When I was in high school and first started filling out brackets, I filled out a bunch of different ones hoping that one of them would be really good. That never happened and I found myself getting even more frustrated. If I had a pick on one bracket that was different in another, I would say to myself, “If these brackets were combined, I would be doing pretty well.” Of course I wish that could happen.

The last year or two I have been making one bracket and sticking to it. This is a better way of doing things, because there is no wishing you made all the good picks from ALL my brackets. There is one and that’s it. This technique has been fun recently, until all my picks start losing after I believe I have created the perfect bracket. First I get frustrated and wonder why I even went through the trouble of filling out a bracket and then I just don’t care.

I asked my friend Scott a couple days before the tournament started who he had winning and he told me that he never filled out a bracket and said he wouldn’t per @DarrenRovell, because the Twitter sports business icon said it’s more fun if you don’t. I am starting to believe this idea.

After day one of the tournament, I had made only two wrong picks and was in good shape in the free pools I had entered with my friends. Friday, my bracket was busted when Wisconsin lost and then the Cinderella of Florida Gulf Coast University beat Georgetown and everyone’s brackets went down the toilet. As soon as that happened I stopped caring about my bracket and became a college basketball fan again. College basketball is one of the greatest things about this country, behind baseball, of course. It is the only sport where a team from a small college in Florida that has been around less time than I have been alive (16 years) can beat one of the most storied programs in the history of the sport. That is why college basketball is wonderful.

Even though the story is huge and people love it, imagine how much happier the entire country would be if they didn’t pick Georgetown to go to the Final Four? Maybe this year is different, because FGCU is such a long shot and they are fun to watch (Dunk City), but I am genuinely thinking about not filling out a bracket next year and just watching basketball and enjoying it.

The other thought I had was get drunk, fill out a bracket, hide it with someone and don’t look at it until the tournament is over. That might be a better alternative and will probably get quite a few picks right, because I won’t be over-thinking it.

There, but not there

The class S and L championship indoor track meets were held in New Haven this past Thursday and Friday and even though no one from the Middletown Press attended the event, we still tweeted the results almost as soon as they happened.

The results were live on the CIAC sports website and as local kids names showed up at the top of the leader board, I tweeted them for the @MPSportsEditor. This was pretty cool, because track meets drag on and if there is only one story you are covering or a couple of athletes, you can be waiting hours for that story to take shape. I know this from my limited experience running indoor track my freshman year of high school.

Jimmy Zanor was in New Haven for the meet trying to find that story and he got some good stuff, like Louis Tobias of Cromwell won the boys 1600-meter run and Tyler Rubega of East Hampton won the boys pole vault. The girls from East Hampton finished second, fourth and fifth in pole vault which sparked the idea of writing a feature on East Hampton pole vaulting for next week, as a preview to the state open.

So for most of the night I tweeted class S results while working on a “college notebook” for the second time. The NESCAC basketball tournament pairing were announced earlier this week, so since Wesleyan is right down the street and a member of the conference, I had to do a short write-up of those tournaments. Both men’s and women’s basketball teams are seeded sixth and play quarterfinal games Saturday, the men at Middlebury and the women at Williams College.

I wrote up a couple of high school basketball stories and then by the end of the night, Joe finished putting the page together and we were done.

Friday:

I thought I was going to be doing the same thing on Friday, but when I got in, Joe told me I was going to Wesleyan for the Xavier vs. Cheshire swim meet. I got a little nervous, because I had no idea how to write a swimming story, but read a couple of stories that Jim Bransfield had done and got a little more comfortable. I waited for Cathy to return from city hall where she was taking a picking of a police officer being sworn in and then we left for the pool.

There aren’t really many notes or anything to take when at a swim meet, you basically just watch and pay attention and then get all your quotes at the end and that’s what I did. I had no idea who was winning or really what was going on until I got the final score. Xavier won 99-85. This is pretty close when it comes to swimming, if one or two races went differently, the result could have been very different.

When the meet was over and the teams huddled up to do some sort of cheer they always do at the end, I made my way to the scorers table and awaited my copy of the final results. I grabbed an interview with the coach Chris Haines and two seniors who were swimming their final dual meet of their careers, Matthew Lyons and captain Dom Fogarasi. I really had no idea what kind of questions to ask them, so I went with the generic stuff and it was almost 9 p.m. we had to go.

I was writing the story for the web, so there really wasn’t a deadline, but Cathy had to get some pictures in the paper by 10 p.m. I finished my story by about 10:15, which would be good for almost any other paper, but the deadline for the Middletown Press is crazy early and very difficult. Joe looked it over and we made a few AP Style changes and then the story was done. I am happy with the way it came out. I feel like I have a writing style that works for any sport.

This was just another fun week at the Middletown Press…To Be Continued…

What Is Viper Live Sports?

Ever since I joined Twitter and with the help of my friend @kmosk3, I have been live tweeting all of the sporting events I have attended. These range from high school baseball to CT Whale hockey at the XL Center to New Britain Rock Cats baseball at New Britain Stadium and all the Central Connecticut State University events I have ever been to. I have tweeted so much that the Sports Information Office at the university hired me to live tweet their sports from the official @CCSUBlueDevils account. Most of my casual followers have enjoyed this transition, because I am no longer filling their timelines with Blue Devil softball tweets all spring.

I have recently began an internship at the Middletown Press newspaper as I complete my senior year of college and work my way towards a bachelors degree in journalism. I began at the paper last week and was immediately sent out with the staff photographer and a reporter to cover the Mercy High School basketball game. I was given the task of live tweeting the game using the hashtag #ctgb (Connecticut Girls Basketball) so my editor could retweet me from back at the office. I enjoyed the fact that many more people were going to be reading my tweets, but when I left the office for the night and looked at my account, one of my friends had asked me why I was at the game? I had to explain that it was for the internship and I don’t normally attend high school girls basketball games, especially if I have no connection, but this got me thinking…

Maybe I need a special Twitter account that I will only use for live tweeting sports, since it has become such a big part of my life. I posed the question to my followers and a few responded to me…

@jonstank: “@DCTViper89 pro: easier for followers to find you con: you’ll have two accounts to worry about. I say go for it.”

So I finally made the account last night (@ViperLiveSports), followed a bunch of local newspapers and sports reporters from around Connecticut and here I am, making a blog that will follow all the live sporting events I will go to and my internship with the sports editor at the Middletown Press.