(Columbian (Vancouver, WA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sep. 7--Now, I'll be the first to admit I'm not the most "wired" person in the world.
I'm not on Facebook or MySpace, and I don't have a Twitter account.
In fact, up until a couple of months ago, I had never tweeted.
If you don't know what "tweeting" is, don't worry. You're not alone.
I've been covering high school football for about 20 years now, and I'm kind of old fashioned when it comes to prep football.
I still believe that if you can't get out to the games but still want to find out what's going on in prep football on Friday night, your best option is to turn on the radio.
Well, in part because Clark County kind of lies in Portland's radio shadow, fans haven't been able to listen to Clark County football on the radio for several years now.
In the years since Clark County football left the airwaves, there have been a couple of attempts at providing live coverage via internet radio broadcasts.
But this season, even that is not available to local fans.
So what do you now if you want real-time updates on games around Clark County?
Well, this fall The Columbian has stepped up its efforts to fill this void. Last Friday, we began providing fans with live updates from games around Clark County through The Columbian's website www.columbian.com and The Columbian's prep sports Twitter account.
For those of you who don't know -- and until recently I was one of you -- Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging services that enables users to send and read messages in short posts known as "tweets."
Users can receive these tweets via their computer, cell phone or PDA. A PDA is a personal digital assistant like a Blackberry or iPhone.
(Alright, fine. I admit it. I did have to look up that PDA thing before writing it).
On Friday, The Columbian had four reporters reporting on five football games through its twitter page at www.twitter.com/360preps.
A side note: 360preps is the name of the platform off of Columbian.com that will be devoted to prep sports coverage that The Columbian plans on launching before the end of the year.
So go to twitter.com/360preps and keep up to date on games every Friday night. I imagine that fans at the games will follow our tweets. Every time I head out to a local stadium, I notice the number of people who are on the cell phones or PDAs while sitting in the stands.
This Friday, the Columbian is planning to have reporters at six games, providing tweets about the action. And you can also receive tweets during the week to keep up to date on other things The Columbian prep sports team is working on.
This is the era of technology, and it's about time we all embrace it. Technology has its advantages, but for me it was one disadvantage.
In my 20 years covering prep football, I've always preferred to walk the sidelines while I'm covering a game -- at least until the Northwest's fall weather keeps me from doing so.
And it's not that I don't mind standing out in the rain for a couple of hours, it's just that it's really hard to keep a your stat sheet try.
But with Columbian reporters using Twitter, it makes it really hard to walk the sidelines, stat the game and tweet all at the same time.
So technology has driven me into the press box. And that takes me away from the sidelines.
Advantages of walking the sidelines: You get a better feel for the game when you're right near the action; you can hear some of the things being discussed the field; and if you have a question about a call, you can often just ask an official.
Advantages of being the press box: You don't get wet when it rains, which it did on Friday night; it's easier to write down stats and notes when you're sitting down; and the odds of being taken out about a 250-pound lineman running at full speed are greatly reduced.
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Clark County golf and football teams opened their seasons last week. All the rest of fall sports will open their seasons this week.
After taking Labor Day off today, prep volleyball, boys tennis and girls soccer teams will open their seasons with a bevy of non-league games on the schedule. And there are more games scheduled for Thursday.
There are a couple of traditional season-opening events in girls swimming and cross country.
On Thursday, the Southwest Washington Relays will be held at Mark Morris High School in Longview. This marks the first competition for area girls swimming teams before beginning dual meets next week.
If you're looking for a unique event to attend before heading out for Football Friday Night, we recommend the Hudson's Bay Run-A-Ree. The traditional season-opening cross country meet features runners from most Clark County programs and even a water hazard for competitors to splash through.
And, of course, Week 2 of the prep football season brings a lot of intriguing matchups.
At Doc Harris Stadium, Battle Ground looks to follow up its impressive win over Columbia River with another strong showing at Camas.
McKenzie Stadium will again host a football doubleheader. First Mountain View will host Glencoe of Hillsboro, Ore., in the 5 p.m. game. Then Evergreen Public School rivals Evergreen and Union meet in the 8 p.m. game.
Another in-district rivalry will heat up when Skyview plays at Columbia River in a matchup of teams seeking their first win of the season.
And Kiggins Bowl also will host a doublehader when Ridgefield plays Fort Vancouver at 5 p.m., followed by R.A. Long at Hudson's Bay at 8 p.m.
Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached by phone at 360-735-4538 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Copyright (c) 2009, The Columbian, Vancouver, Wash.
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