Status: Still Working

What exactly makes the State article take so long?
February 21st, 2016| Written by: Editor



I am often asked when the article on the state tournament will be published.  That is fine - I appreciate that some people really look forward to it.  And I am not blind to the fact that while I was the last student to graduate from St. Martin's tuition free (my mother taught there), and that the actual cost of that education far exceeds the cost of my camera equipment, nobody is waiting for a preponderance of prose provided for public perusal.  Y'all want the pictures!

The first two state tournament articles took about five weeks apiece to publish to my satisfaction.  Last year I was on that pace before being sidelined for a fortnight by, well, brain poisoning due to a surgical procedure performed on the Monday prior to the tournament.

I think I am on the five-week pace again, but a few things may take more time than expected.  First and foremost, due to the assistance of Miss Emily Hamman, I have many more photographs to organize, choose, edit and name.  Better equipment has translated into more "good" photos, so that will add a little time.  After six days, though, I have them organized as I want them for a Web format I have not constructed aside from in the tangled webs of my brain.  This year I want to do a separate page on each weight class for each division.  I believe that will save time re pages loading in my HTML editor for adjustments, as well as for viewers to download the pages to their phones and other mobile devices.

After each session of taking photographs, I saved them from the camera cards to my laptop, and then copied them to a 128 Gb USB drive, and then copied them onto another 32 Gb card.  The last option became moot when I saw that Emily and I shot 31 Gbs of photos of the finals alone.  But the laptop and USB drive were fine for the trip back to River Ridge, where I immediately copied them to my desktop computer.  It is nice knowing that should something catastrophic happen to my desktop, I have backups on my laptop, the flash drive, and I have yet to erase the files on the first 32 Gb memory card or on the two memory cards containing the finals photos.  Plus the folders in which I now have the photographs are also backed-up.  Perhaps such redundancy is a sign of paranoia, but the photos make the Website.  (I have to believe only having text on the NOLA Wrestling Forum is what accounted for the death threats I used to get!)

I brought this back home with me from Bossier City:

It may not seem like much, but those files are now organized as follows, and almost a thousand photos have been intentionally deleted:

In theory, this organization will make the construction of each Webpage much easier.  In theory...

Of course I am not going to publish each of the 8,515 photos.  I will whittle them down via rounds and their importance.  As such I will try to get one or two each from Round 1 and Round 2 matches, a few more for quarterfinals matches, even more for semifinals matches and, of course, the most for finals matches, as available.  (For example, as he only was on the mat for 3:08 for the entire tournament, I have only so many photographs of Jesuit's Guy Patron, Jr.)  Various consolation matches are also covered, and I'll have a few of the non-placing rounds and a few more of the 3rd-place and 5th-place matches.  Some matches, of course, were not captured, but that is simply due to the inadequacy of having only two cameras covering 10 mats.  Some semifinals matches may not be covered as well as I would like, but Miss Hamman and I were relegated to the bottom steps of the stands for those matches.

Then, of course, there is the editing of the photos I choose.  A lot of that process was described in LWN Volume II: 2013-14, in a December 6th article.  However, since then I have learned a few tricks re cropping and naming photos that should reduce the amount of work required.

Lastly, if this Website were only about photographs, then I could ditch it and just upload 10,000 photographs to Facebook.  I try to find something interesting about each weight class and each division.  This takes time as I cannot remember every match I see, much less the ones I do not attend.  Hence a lot of research is done on TrackWrestling to find out what makes some upsets amazing, or how many finals matches are season tie-breakers and the like.

Actually, one of the hardest parts of any article is describing how kids lose.  I find that very important as to me it is the losing that actually builds one's character.  Nothing made me happier as a coach than seeing a kid who got waxed on a Wednesday night show up Thursday and work himself to death to do better the next time.  Unfortunately, to publish a photograph of a wrestler winning involves another wrestler losing.  With as many photographs as I try to publish, "whiting out" the losing kids like the Manson family victims in the book Helter Skelter is not an option.  These days the kids not only know they lost, and know a crowd saw them lose, but now know a photograph of them losing will probably be posted on the Web somewhere (if not by me then on Facebook or YouTube or FloWrestling and the like). 

My point is that losing does not have to be amplified via textual descriptions, yet there just are not that many "nice" ways to say a kid lost.  I have a hard time finding appropriate synonyms for "defeated."  "Prevailed over," "outscored" and "fell to" I feel I use too much, but they are better than some alternatives I have seen.  I do not want to write that a kid got "annihilated" by another; that one was "outclassed" by another; that one "opened up a can of THE APOLCALYPSE" on another.  Suffice to say, some of the time involved in this particular article is due to my trying to find adequate verbiage without feeling redundant.

At the end, of course, each page is spell-checked by my HTML editor, and then is copied to and grammar-checked and spell-checked again in Word.  As I find both of those inefficient, I generally print a copy and read it with a red pen (despite that red pens are no longer PC).  And then I publish everything to the Web accessible only by a hidden hyperlink to make sure it is not displayed with additional types of errors.

I trust the reader knows I am not whining about the work involved - I love doing it.  But it does take time and, as much as I try to deter them, higher priorities do exist which I have to address.  I have, however, learned to love when I finish a state tournament article, as after a week of waiting to be lambasted by readers (which thankfully has yet to occur), I get to relax a little.  I get to throw away stacks of brackets and records and little Post-It notes.  I get to fully unpack and find things I thought I lost from the Bossier City trip.  I'll cover some of the USA Wrestling events, and as I can, events like the Dixie Duals.  I will like the time off, but will still find myself eagerly awaiting the Jazz Town Duals.

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