Sports information. There's an insatiable thirst for it.
News used to take days to reach people. In the old days a Kansas farm boy kept up to speed on Ty Cobb via a newspaper that arrived by the Tigers' next road trip.
Once Al Gore invented the Internet the delay between event and story dwindled to hours then minutes. Vehicles like Twitter reduce it to seconds.
Newspapers like ours -- really, the Daily Herald is now a "media group" -- have a valuable relationship with what George W. Bush called the "interweb."
One thing's for certain: Seeking the number of passing yards Batavia quarterback Micah Coffey passed for against Streamwood or the rules of rugby on the St. Charles North Predators website is loads of fun, bordering on addiction.
We hope you start with dailyherald.com and adjunct sites for Football and Basketball Focus, but let's take an informal tour of just a tiny fragment of the bytes available from local schools' athletic websites.
One of the greatest founts during football season in the Tri-Cities is bataviabulldogfootball.com. Whomever coach Dennis Piron has working on that site is not paid enough. That's on top of Batavia's affiliation with MaxPreps.com, which can be a great source of information and likewise frustration when a coach or his minions fail to enter roster and statistics.
Back to bulldogfootball.com. Friday we see there are only 287 days left before the 2013 football season kicks off. Sharpen your chin strap buckles now. Also, the Bulldogs football awards banquet will be held Nov. 27. That's an insider's game, and heavy on meat casserole, as opposed to files of Hudl highlights (Batavia's playoff loss to Downers Grove North begins to the accompaniment of Green Day's "Time of Your Life"), the last four season's stats, Batavia historian George Scheetz's "The Biggest Game of the Season" history of the Geneva series and, if you dig deep enough, analyses of different offensive systems.
This website is almost as fun as George Takei's Facebook posts.
Sometimes things don't just rust, they in fact do fade away. Take kanelandknights.org. This once-awesome site boasted sections (even if only rosters and a team photo) on Kaneland sports from bowling to X-country and all points in between. The football portal opens to the old NFL Films/Monday Night Football halftime highlights tune. For nostalgic types pining for the late-1990s this is your place because the site seemed to halt after about 2000. But like an old treasure chest on a sunken vessel, it's out there.
Search Rosary High School Illinois and along with a tab for boosters and another for sports camps -- Holiday Hoops for girls in grades 5-8 over Dec. 27-28 -- all the athletics stuff is concentrated on the catchall Athletics 2000 site.
Athletics 2000, which boasts Harvest Christian in Elgin as its latest member, is a world unto its own. Based out of Oakbrook Terrace, most current, basic athletic information on nearly every high school in the state is on it. Most of the time the mouse click sends viewers directly there.
Rosary's brother Marmion has updated its look and content. In addition to the all-encompassing Athletics 2000 information there are additional seven tabs to select, from photos to game films to links to articles from media outlets that cover Cadets sports. This site has come a long way.
Would you like to know Geneva's fight song, or send an email to one of its head coaches? Each of their email addresses is there in linkable blue on the school's athletic website. There is also information on concussions, the always-popular athletic hall of fame listing and game films via the Viking Sports Network. Included there are diverse topics like a 2-minute segment on the installation of the Burgess Field turf and a 1:27 clip of this year's annual Powder Puff football championship. It got a little chippy.
Occasionally you just have to know where to look, a skill acquired through hours of staying up too late. Search for St. Charles North athletics and the first option steers you straight to the North Stars' Athletics 2000 site. Type in St. Charles North football, however, and a whole new website beckons accompanied by crisp color photos. There are links to newspaper articles, game results and more story links dating to 2006, program records and more.
From St. Charles North's school website other sport-specific pages can be found separated into boys and girls sports. Apparently a work in progress, only Ruth Vostal has a girls soccer page set up while the boys sports are a little better represented. Boys track coach Don Spencer has a tab for Kane County Meet information, researched by Hall of Famer Ralph Drendel of Kaneland and updated by Knights current boys track coach Eric Baron.
One nugget gleaned after a few clicks on Aurora Christian's athletic website is its track "hall of fame." Though it also needs to be updated to reflect the likes of the Eagles' boys 2012 state champion 1,600-meter relay team of Billy Howorth, Jake Gehman, Nate Jensen and Dillon Howorth, it does include capsule achievements on athletes such as Mackenzie Bollinger, Ashura Jenkins and the girls program's most decorated state track athlete, Elyssa Zielke, who had eight all-state finishes either as an individual or on a relay team.
There's a whole world out there -- West Aurora's athletic hall of fame, two pages deep; coach Brian Casey's wonderfully comprehensive Aurora Central Catholic football site that includes the Chargers' lifetime record against every opponent; St. Charles East highlights on iHigh.com.
Happy hunting and pecking!
Follow Dave on Twitter @doberhelman1