I'm a numbers guy. That's no secret to anyone who has known me, even prior to the time I became a sportswriter.
I want to know if I'm in the minority.
Here's the scoop. Each week during the school year, we at The News-Gazette compile lists of area leaders for a total of 17 different high school sports.
We think it's a valuable service. Each week, it gets hundreds and hundreds of names in the newspaper, which we think still means something to parents, the athletes and even the schools to showcase positive achievements and accomplishments by these teen-agers.
Our task is growing harder as we deal with coaches who flat-out refuse to send in statistics for their teams. One softball coach this week said it would put her team at a disadvantage if other schools know who her top hitters are. (Like those opposing coaches couldn't figure out on their own that the cleanup hitter is likely not 0-for-the-season!)
One soccer coach said that listing leaders who score goals, assist on goals and save goals from being scored overlooked the defensive players who have no such statistics so as to not create hard feelings for those individuals, he won't supply statistics for any players.
Is there interest in these statistical compilations? Does anyone want to know who has the most home runs among area softball players, who is the swiftest 1,600-meter runner or the best high jumper? Is it important to know which tennis players have won the highest percentage of their matches in singles or which area baseball player has struck out the most batters?
In other sports, does it matter if any basketball players are averaging 20 points per game? Or, if any wrestlers haven't lost a match all season? Or which football players have rushed for 2,000 yards in a season?
To me, it does. I want to know what other folks think. Should we just stop the massive time commitment we make as a staff each week to compile these leaders?
If no one truly cares about these listings, perhaps it's time to let them go by the wayside and let the chance for recognition for hundreds of athletes be a thing of the past.
Should we single out the schools who don't care to help? If the list goes public, at least parents have a better starting point than calling our department saying we "overlooked" such-and-such a school.
Email me at fkroner@news-gazette and share your thoughts. Am I alone in valuing these statistical packages or does anyone else think they're important enough to save?
Now is the time to let me know. Make your voice heard, whichever side of the issue you're on.