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Gallup Sun

Sunday, Feb 05th

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You are here: Sports Bleacher Talk The Art of the Schedule

The Art of the Schedule

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One of the most important, but usually overlooked, jobs in high school is the scheduling of games on the assigned nights. Not only do the Athletic Directors who perform these seemingly menial and vital tasks accomplish them in an artful manner, but coaches, fans, players, and spectators seldom appreciate the intricacies involved in this mind-boggling aspect of their work.

Most people think it is an easy job. They are wrong!

The A.D. must follow the regulations of the district their schools compete against, and also the rules of the state-wide governing body, the NM Activities Association. That can be a difficult situation, especially where the distance between the home schools and their opponents are fairly large, as they are in this state.

Each district member is required to play every other district member at least twice during the regular season, once at home and once at the other guy’s place. Buses must be arranged to leave at a time that will arrive easily at the opponents campus, pre- or post-game meals have to be considered, all equipment must be safely transported, and all game schedules must not conflict with other necessary school activities like required tests and other impediments.

And did I mention that these games, unless otherwise allowed by the district, must be played on Tuesday, Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays. Overnight stays are very rare, usually allowed only in case of emergency. This is not the professional ranks, but young people that must be returned quickly to their home environment.

Add to that list other little things required and demanded by the NMAA or the district itself, and you have a list that will keep your mind spinning for the duration. If your school is private or has but one building, the AD may also be required to schedule activities for the Mid-School and in some cases, the Elementary School.

Mistakes do happen in this art, though most of the people I deal with weekly are quite competent. The list of games, which should be complete for the Fall Season by the time of the next issue, can also be a difficult document to decode. And the Gallup Sun only covers four high schools at this time. Think of a more regional paper that covers 25-30 schools!

The extra pay received for this scheduling breaks down to less than minimum wage in a majority of cases. So even that incentive is very small. Pride in what they do is key for these Activity Directors, and a willingness to put in the time necessary to get the job done.

It takes a special person. Of course, not everyone is going to be happy with the end product. Haters are everywhere, right?

That’s just one aspect I am familiar with in my chosen occupation, but I still love it all. The school season will soon be upon us, regardless of what sport you or your kids want to play or watch. Break out the extra cash you will need and add a few dollars for snacks, then I’ll see you in the bleachers.

And remember to comb you hair in case I point the camera in your direction!

As a small bonus this week, I have selected a few older pictures for readers to look at and remember. I have only a few over the last five years (about 80.000) and I always enjoy looking back to see Gallup athletes in action. I hope you will, too!