There are a couple of different philosophies sportswriters take regarding what is the best time to arrive when covering any type of high school or youth event.
Some show up just as the event kicks or tips off or the first pitch is thrown, or maybe later. That’s not wise and is risky. So much can be missed and gotten wrong using that type of sloppy practice.
Most are on scene at least 30 minutes early, if not way sooner.
Those early arrivals have plenty of time to get any necessary lineups or lineup changes, or any other switches that might be occurring, like a last-minute uniform number or two that will be different than expected.
Also, early-arriving scribes have time to chat a bit with some of those involved in the event, maybe getting some valuable tips or news prior to the start of play.
Sometimes there are newsworthy pregame events to notice, like during a senior-day ceremony when particular details are often shared about the athletes competing that day, or announcements made about where a certain player will be attending college.
Maybe during pregame warmups, it’s revealed that a key starter won’t be playing for some reason. Or it’s noticed during warmups that a certain dominant player may be a bit off, injured, or perhaps scalding hot – hitting every warmup shot taken prior to a basketball game or belting multiple home runs during batting practice.
Seems like those who chance arriving at game time, or a bit after – which in the industry is a huuuge no-no – are missing a lot, they quickly fall way behind and find themselves scrambling to catch up. That’s a panic feeling.
An even bigger panic is arriving at tipoff and discovering the popular high-school event is filled to capacity, and no one else is allowed inside, even a late-arriving sports writer.
It’s always best to be way early.