While scouring the web today, I read a pretty interesting piece in the Daily Press about Silverado’s girls basketball semifinal game with Chaffey today. It seems that the Hawks had issues with the scorekeeping at Montclair High School.
You can read the article right here.
Anyway, I was at that game and noticed the same quirks in the scoring that the Silverado coach and the Daily Press reporter, Tomoyo Shimura, noticed. After consulting with the official book (something I like to do in general just to confirm that what I have is correct or verified) at the end of the third period, I noticed that the official scorer’s third-quarter tabulation was one point less than what the scoreboard read. The scoreboard was two points more than what I had.
The first point was accounted by a 3-pointer that was counted by the official scorer which I counted as a two. I can’t say conclusively whether I was right or I was wrong by counting it a two – during the course of a game I’m trying to keep track of points, rebounds, assists, fouls, turnovers and steals and to be honest, sometimes I goof on long perimeter shots near the 3-point line. That’s why there are multiple books kept at the scorer’s table, to serve as checks and balances and to prevent costly “goofs”.
The other point was reconciled after the official scorer recounted and summarized that she mistabulated Chaffey’s third-quarter points, meaning the score on the scoreboard was correct. As far as the foul was concerned, there was no conflicting information based on what I had recorded. There was a Chaffey player who was incorrectly identified on a foul in the first half, which was corrected after the Chaffey coaches and the official scorer questioned the official shortly after the foul ocurred. The Silverado book probably either didn’t catch the number change on the foul or just forgot to change it during the heat of the game.
None of this made my game writeup for a few reasons – a) I didn’t know whether I was 100 percent right compared to the official book, so I didn’t want to speculate b) even if the original book tabulations were right, Chaffey still wins by one and c) I didn’t hear an official protest from Silverado coach Tyrone Brown in the portion of his post-game interview that I was a part of. I wasn’t there as long as Shimura due to deadline considerations, so anything he told Shimura about after I left was not in my story.
With the game over and Chaffey in the CIF finals, this story makes me wonder about a reporter’s role in a situation like this. Is it my job to report on strictly what happens, or am I obligated to point out an error that could potentially swing the outcome of a game? This question has been taken a number of ways. If you do nothing, you have the unique situation that the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks have to deal with next Saturday, outlined here. If you do something, you can significant alter the course of an event, as evidence by what happened to Michelle Wie in an October 2005 golf tournament.
I personally think that the reporter who outed Wie was wrong in what he did, as he became the story instead of doing his job, which was to report on the golf tournament and not influence its result. That’s part of the reason I didn’t go beyond looking at the official book in the Silverado-Chaffey game.
While there may have been an error – like I said before if you go by the book’s original third-quarter count and add in the fourth quarter, Silverado still loses by one – its one that the Silverado book and coaching staff needed to address at the time of the discrepancy. While Brown did question it once he noticed it in the third period, there either a) wasn’t contrary evidence from the keepers of the Silverado book that could be confirmed or b) the Silverado scorekeepers didn’t fight as much as they probably should have.
I’m not going to criticize the Silverado scorekeepers for this – they are just teenagers and quite honestly, its a tough situation to be in – especially if you don’t know that you are 100 percent correct. It’s a tough life lesson to learn, which is check your work and stand by what you think is right. As far as the Chaffey scorekeepers are concerned, hopefully they’ll be extra careful during the next game they score. It’s just a shame when a possible error sullies what had been a spirited, competitive game between two solid teams.