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Matt Harris

Matt joined the team in the fall of 2011. He is the Sports Information Director and also broadcasts many sporting events throughout Idaho. Matt grew up in Alberta, Canada and moved to the Gem State in 2004. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Broadcast Communications and works for Riverbend Communications. Matt married his wife (and much better half), Hannah, in 2010 and they have three children: Eli, Naomi, and Elizabeth. He and his family reside in Idaho Falls. Follow Matt on Twitter: @IdahoSportsMatt


To Those In The Background - I Say 'Thank You'
Published: 1/23/2017 1:13:49 AM

High school sports in Idaho do not happen without caring people who want to help our youth - it's time to thank them and recognize them.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @IdahoSportsMatt

Anytime you, as a fan, head out to attend a high school sports event there is plenty of behind the scenes work that you may not even realize is happening.

In my travels throughout the state, I have the opportunity to see much of the 'background work' done before the fans ever arrive at any gym or stadium. It's work that is done by caring people - because they care for our kids. Caring people make high school sports go!

People like the school support personnel, who arrive early at games to help sweep the floors, pull out the bleachers, print off the game programs, set up the ticket tables and more.

People like those who staff the ticket booths who allow fans entry to the games that they most likely never have the opportunity to watch.

People like those who man the concession stands so that the fans might have a cool refreshment to help them enjoy the game.

People like the school resource officers who help to keep the fans at each game secure and to act quickly if something were to arise.

People like the timekeepers, scorekeepers, and statisticians who willingly volunteer their time so that the game may take place according to the rules (who most of the time are paid with a free cheeseburger from the concession stand).

People like the coaching staffs, many of whom are not paid but freely give of their time and energy to help our youth have an opportunity to be a part of a team, learn new skills, and improve themselves.

People like the head coaches who absorb the duties of program manager, head fundraiser, problem-solver, and teacher of the game for very little pay. 

People like the athletic directors who schedule the games, organize game personnel and officials, reschedule previously scheduled games (darn that weather...), coordinate the timeline of events at games, and yes reschedule the previously rescheduled games that were originally scheduled (you know where I'm going with this, Mother Nature).

People like the athletic secretaries in the schools who assist with all of the paperwork necessary to help each team and season be fully ready for the season.

People like the athletic trainers who work to help and treat student-athletes with lingering physical injuries that they might play with less pain.

People like the public address announcers who share their talents with the schools to help make the game enjoyable for the fans and players.

People like the band director who helps add to the atmosphere of the game through the talents of his/her students.

People like the cheerleaders who show up to EVERY SINGLE GAME to cheer on their classmates and help energize the arena with school spirit.

People like the game referees, who are consistently studying the sport's rule and situational book to improve, passing off yearly tests to ensure that they have the knowledge and know-how to officiate the game all while absorbing endless amounts of verbal abuse from people in the stands whom they've never met... people who seem to judge the worth of an official based on how quickly they make (or don't make) a call that benefits their own team, all while earning much less than they most certainly deserve for their time and energy. And then, for whatever reason, those officials are back at work the next night doing it all over again.

People like the district referees commissioner who takes endless calls from upset fans, parents, and coaches and who also assigns officials (and many times re-assigns officials) to officiate the games.

People like the district board of control who meet to establish policies and procedures to help everything run smoothly in game contests between schools.

People like the janitors who get the unfavorable task of having to clean up bags of spilled popcorn, half-full soda cups, endless food wrappers and more once the fans clear the gymnasium. 

To all of these people, I say THANK YOU.

Thank you for going above and beyond to help our student-athletes have an opportunity to showcase their abilities, to play the games they love, and to have fun. Thank you for allowing the fans to enjoy high school sports. Thank you for allowing people like myself and other media outlets to come and cover these sporting events. Thank you for giving your time and energy to help make high school sports happen.

When I was in high school, I never really realized how much background work went into hosting a single sporting event. While I may never have the opportunity to go back and thank those who helped out at my high school, I will say thank you to those who do now in our own state - your efforts are certainly appreciated!

So if you're reading this... I encourage you to go out of your way to thank anyone and everyone who helps with high school sports at your school. Their contribution may seem small, but their contribution helps to make the experience enjoyable for all involved.

Caring people make high school sports happen in Idaho. To you all, I say 'Thank You'.

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