Live from our text commentator

Memories of two glorious years as a sports ‘reporter’.

While volunteering with Leeds Carnegie / Leeds United Ladies FC, I didn’t have a clear remit. You rarely do when you’re a volunteer, which is why on a few occasions I also helped lay out the kit, took money on the gate, sold raffle tickets, settled the hotel bill on overnight stays and stood in for the Secretary.

But mostly, I played to my strengths, looking for new ways to promote interest in our games and get some sort of following going – especially for the away matches.

I was already tweeting goalflashes via Twitter, and all the usual stuff like match preview and reports when I hit upon the idea of full match, live text commentary. Partly this was because I was feeling guilty about travelling to away games, especially overnight ones, merely to write 600-ish words.

I opened a free account with Cover it Live (other services are available) and embedded the content on our WordPress-powered web site and got to it. A tougher task than you’d think at home games, as I also had my MC and results phoning-in duties to perform.

There were only two problems; I can’t touch-type, and I don’t actually know that much about the mechanics of football. Three problems if you count not being a journalist (which for most journalists doesn’t seem to hold them back, more than a few used to run my work releases verbatim).

One Tuesday evening we were at Blackburn and someone asked about our formation. I knew Carly was in goal and that was about it. Two days later, I was at Elland Road for a meeting and the manager, bless him, tried to explain the match tactics on a whiteboard. No help whatsoever. In one ear, out the other.

So my live text commentary started to resemble a one-man women’s football equivalent of Test Match Special. Mind you, the home-made soups at Bedworth Oval (where we played Coventry City Ladies) were fantastic, and well work writing about.

Sadly, this was one new skill I never got the chance to apply in the workplace, so if anyone is looking for someone during the elections, Eurovision, triathlon, do drop me a line. It’s one thing I’d love to do again.