By Matt Mauney | Staff Writer
Let me begin by saying that this isn’t my first rodeo.
I’ve been covering high school sports for about five years, and I thought I had mastered the craft.
Until I moved to Florida.
It’s a whole different ballgame down here, compared to covering prep sports in Savannah, Ga.,while I was in college, or covering metro Atlanta high schools for the past two years for my previous employer.
Let’s start with the fact that the setup and structure of things down here are much different. In Georgia, golf is a spring sport, along with soccer. Softball is a fall sport, while swimming and diving takes place in the winter season along with basketball and wrestling.
In Florida, softball joins its counterpart baseball as a spring sport, while soccer takes place in the winter and swimming and diving takes place in the fall, along with golf.
Confused yet? I sure was, initially.
I’m happy to report that since then, I have gotten things sorted out. I’ve managed to break away from my mindset of Georgia high school athletics and have adapted to how things run down in the Sunshine State.
The setup of sports here in Florida make a lot of sense. For example, why not have softball in the spring with baseball? Not only does it make sense for logistics and scheduling issues, but also softball always has seemed like it belongs in the spring. After all, that’s how it’s done in college.
Swimming and diving are sports that could take place at anytime during the school year, because weather is not a factor. Even being born and raised in so-called “HotLanta,” it’s much hotter down here than what I’ve dealt with the past two years of covering prep sports. It will be nice to not have to leave a prep swimming meet — which often can get very hot and sticky in an indoor pool — and walk out into the blistering cold.
Golf is obviously big in Florida, not just in high schools, but in general. People come here for vacation just to play a round or two. It is a little surprising that golf takes place in the fall — when I would think temperatures would be at their highest — but that’s another one of those sports that could be played in any season at the high school level, despite being an outdoor sport.
A winter sport in Florida, soccer adds an interesting dimension from the spring sport I know. With so many spring sports in Georgia — one of my old coverage schools had 11 spring sports — its nice to have soccer isolated with only wrestling and basketball. Soccer seems to get lost in the shuffle a bit when sandwiched in with numerous other spring sports, so it will be interesting to provide local teams down here with the coverage they deserve.Anonymizer