On Friday night, High School Football games remained undisturbed. Many felt that the games should be played, as school remained in session all week and the games were part of the regular school environment. The games also provided an outlet to allow communities to gather together. The games provided an escape from the week's terrible tragedies and provided a bit of normalcy that everyone desperately seeked.
At the same time, some people felt that playing the high school games would be insensative and should be postponed as the other major sports had done. The playing of high school sports, was in all aspects, being compared on a level with big time athletics that we watch the highlites from on Sports Center.
Tonite, I broadcasted the Desert Pines vs Cheyenne football game for 1340 KRLV. At the same time tv news crews and local print media covered the games in various ways. I wondered how many people would show up and wondered if broadcasting the game was insensative towards the time sent aside for all Southern Nevadans to grieve. In the end, I enjoyed the escape from all of the news of the week, still holding the memories in my heart of what had happenned. I saw Desert Pines fill their stands full of students, parents, football fans and friends and also lose themselves in an exciting football game.
After the game, I watched the newscasts on the FOX, ABC, NBC and CBS local stations in Las Vegas. Local NBC had emotional stories from Palo Verde, where they had lost a teacher in the plane that had crashed in Washington DC. FOX Las Vegas aired highlights with the disclaimer that they did so based on a heartfelt decision that it was healing to see the local high schoolers play in front of emotional crowds.
It was disappointing to see the station who fantsies itself as the home for high school football, Las Vegas NBC, chose not to cover the games in a representative way. Sports Anchor Mitch Roberts stated "With the NFL cancelling their games, we felt that covering the High School Games in the same way we normally do would not be the correct thing to do." This was a station, who still ran ads for people who expected to have their advertisements immediately after producing a lack luster production of game information.
ESPN continues to report on sports news that revolves around the industry. HBO continues to show movies and entertainment. Food Network still runs Emeril and Iron Chef. CNN SI still runs sports related information. Noting this, why does the Sports Director choose not to air highlites of local sports action during a local sports segment? It is like not doing the local weather, because the weatherman feels that the time for weather should not be reported on due to the actions from this week.
Roberts and Channel 3 NBC should have aired highlights and done so in a representative way as this was news. For him to bail out on his responsibility is missing the boat to what his job is in the eyes of the local sports community. If Bob Ley can report on sports for ESPN on Friday night's Sports Center, why can't Roberts do the same.
The time provided for Sports on Channel 13 in Las Vegas was pathetic, as they provided little or no information about the high school games on Friday night. The role of local television newscasts is to report on local issues and stories that we do not get on CNN or national newscasts. In the rush to cover national stories in the exact same manner that the national stations by adding graphics with "AmericaAttacked and the always dramatic scary music shows the local stations in Las Vegas as being more concerned about ratings and not what their role is in the local community.
I have seen all of the tragic stories of people who have lost loved ones and pictures of airliners going into buildings to last a lifetime. This has been so ingrained that a break from all of the ugly sights demands me to tune into something else as a way to get a break from the tragedy. Not that I can make it go away, but I might provide myself a welcome breath of fresh air.
The perspective of Las Vegas' ABC and NBC affiliate in not to air highlights from this week's games only shows us all where they stand in regards to local sports on the high school level. Rest assured that neither station would air a live or even tape delayed broadcast of a high school football game. So their comparison of high school football to the NFL and their cancellations of games does not hold any credibility. High School Sports have become a marketing item only, exploiting High School Athletes for the glory of obtaining sponsor dollars.
In a time when America tries to gain a sense of community, two of our Las Vegas television stations have proven that community does not matter in the world of Prep Sports in relationship to their broadcasts. With all that is going on in the Country at the moment, this is a poor way to lead and disappointing to all of the people who took the time to support their local high schools.