Anyone who has played a game knows that keeping score is to track wins and losses. However, the competitive nature has us focussed on individuals rather than team success. Therefore in the modern era we rely on statistics to measure a player performance and highlights of many individuals on the team. However how credible are the self reported numbers at many high schools and little league games? Yes that is probably why most next level coaches could careless about individual statistics or awards but how well the individual performs on game videos. If statistics were audited by a third party then perhaps it would be a valid indisputable tool. Just think of the college board exams like the ACT and SAT. No one disputes these scores because they are administered and audited by the company that administers the exams. So why do we bother with Stats? It is because we always want to compare our success with others. Unfortunately at the youth and high school levels it is difficult. The difficulty is because not all athletes or teams are equal. The same could be said of college and pro sports. However at the college level these are generally the top 6% of high school athletes and the professionals are the top 1+%. These are when statistics are applicable and merit conversation. Regrettably we do not audit the lower levels because for the most part the information is considered valid as most coaches have someone on staff that inputs the data. Alas we forget about those booster clubs or volunteer parents that often take turns to track and delineate the information. So yes consistency is an issue as well as unscrupulous soles that want to pad statistics for their athlete. This has not only been an issue as of recent but has been a hot topic when reporters use online websites to write stories or select athletes for post season awards. When one or a few individuals have to cover statewide sports it becomes difficult because often they are paid by the event and not the time spent researching. Thus a self reporting site like MaxPreps that is a partner of CHSAA becomes a useful tool for many to compare or use in a byline. Often the outline is to describe the story of the event but many times media types often enhance storylines with flashy statistics. Again if you question everything are these accurate since the writer did not attend all the events or might not have even thought to track the multiple players on the field or involved in the event because it takes a lot of time. Once again there is a trust factor but would be more valuable if a third party auditor had control of the event. Currently to curb a few overzealous parents input a community writer is now having to attend events and compare notes with the statistician on hand. A safeguard that is helping to restrict fabrication for personal gain. Several years ago there was an issue when a parent would credit a player with a tackle because he bumped into the player or was on the pile. Eventually a few coaches explained the rule and the proper adjustments were made. However, retractions to stories and weekly awards were not retracted. Then there is another issue of competition. Not all teams are created equal or play like opponents.
There are multiple classifications in each sport in Colorado. Since we focus on football the fact is there are 7 classifications, (6man, 8man, 1A, 2A,3A, 4A, 5A). For the most part the competition has been measured correctly but the separation in 5A has been questioned as scores are lopsided and a handful of teams are stacked. So not all is equal and matchups are non existent for 81% of the participants. So this is a prime reason why statistics are overrated. When a top tier team has players exploding on the stat line it may be an indicator that the competition is not equal and the black and white numbers are exaggerated. Inflated numbers probably intensify why many coaches, fans, parents and players will state compare that individual to like opponents because that is more representative of comparing one athlete to another. The overall statistics do not tell the story.
The real tale of the tape is when we play tough teams or have playoff games. The longer we play the tougher the competition becomes so the statistics matter but the main goal is to win ball games. If someone has a stellar performance during post season that should merit more accolades than the soft regular season schedules. It is an honor to play in the post season but also a compliment when people notice your regular season was just a portion of the real story.
While many players have 9-10 games to tell their story, many will refer to statistics to compare athletes by position. Regrettably that is not a true barometer as many top tier athletes are pulled early in the contest to give way to another roster player. Therefore sacrificing individual awards for the benefit of the team. In some instances when teams clinch conference titles they rest their starting lineup so it is not comparing apples to apples. So the next time you see a stat line just remember Stats can be overrated unless audited or used properly to compare one to another. Not everything you see or read is what it appears to be and/or is meaningful.
As always we will see you on the fields as we know football! We are your source for content 24/7 and 365 about Colorado High School Football. YES it remains @303Gonzo of www.cofridaynightlights.com Please give us a follow on social media and stop by and say hello to talk football once a week at a location near you as we present a player of the week LIVE after a game via twitter and periscope. Look for #WingstopWednesday on twitter.