Many of us who are basketball junkies love the basketball box score. Some people look at it and see a bunch of names and numbers. Those who know the ins and outs of the sport find it to be a treasure trove of information.
Once sketchy, giving only baskets, free throws made and attempted, total points and the halftime score, the box score of today offers everything you could want, maybe more, in some cases. The memory is unclear if it ever were posted in an actual one-column box.
There’s a historic connection here, in one of those tricky leaps the mind seems to take when challenged by a blank computer screen.
There was a time between 1963 and 1966 the Vol Historian called in Holston High School basketball scores to the Knoxville newspapers (so long ago, there were actually two), with very specific instructions.
List the starters and their points, along with scoring subs, the score by quarters, and some other tidbits about the game. The pay wasn’t much, maybe a buck a night (in lieu of a byline), but there was your story right there in the Wednesday or Saturday newspapers. It still is, if you go to the library and pull up either one of the Knoxville newspapers by the magic of microfilm.
That assignment came from several greats in Knoxville newspaper history. Tom Sweeten was a family friend at the Journal, who died under inexplicable circumstances many years ago, while Red Bailes was likewise at the News-Sentinel, during time it was the “News dash Sentinel” (News-Sentinel), unlike today.
The Vol Historian never got to hang around the newsroom as did Jim Bailes, now the Rev. Jim Bailes, or Rick Dye, son of the truly fine photographer Bill Dye, but the association in those years was exceptionally rewarding. Still is.
There’s something special about contributing to history. There’s something special about the box score, no matter how it is constituted.
Friday, Dec. 19, 2014