Brent Harris ’03—Taking in a Game

Steve Charles—My friend Brent Harris H’03 was named an Honorary Alumnus of Wabash on Saturday. I’ve watched Brent’s work for 16 years, from his days as a volunteer and then as our Director of Sports Information and my colleague in Public Affairs. I know of no one more deserving of this honor.

Much of the year he’s on the road when most of us are home, awake and writing when most of us are sleeping, working a game when the rest of us are watching one.

He treats Wabash scholar/athletes with knowledge, respect, and enthusiasm I doubt you’ll find at any other level or school; he believes deeply in what they’re doing, as athletes and as scholars. And as a professional statistician with the Indianapolis Colts on Sundays (ah, a day off!), he passes on to his student staff here a wealth of knowledge and experience.

This job of his, though, is insane! One minute you’re toting Pepsi 24-packs up the stadium steps to the press box, the next you’re teaching complex stat programs to students or rewiring a sound system or hosting a tv show or interviewing a coach or tweeting alumni (which sounds illegal) or soothing parents or solving any number of potential crises or welcoming visiting teams and coaches and tv crews and whoever else shows up. You get to drive a wicked Toro four-wheeler, but it’s loaded up with all this crap (sorry—fine electronic equipment) you have to carry 52 steps (one way) up to the press box. And the printers—there’s always something wrong with the printers. Or the microphones. Or the scoreboard control console. And guess who gets to fix them?

And then there’s the game. Oh yeah, the game. And the other two or three you’ve either set up or are covering from afar and won’t get results from until there’s nothing on tv but infomercials.

I spent one Saturday (that’s day only) trying to keep up with Brent, taking photos and notes for a story I’m writing for Wabash Magazine. Thought you might like to see some of the photos from that day.

These are from the morning.

These are from the afternoon.

There’s no room or context for one of my favorites—four grade-school-aged boys playing a pick-up game on the turf hours after everyone had left. That love of play and camaraderie and the friendly rough-and-tumble that’s the source of all these games we watch. Brent was still in the press box faxing stories and writing another. He just may write theirs someday, too. And the printers probably won’t work then, either.

These photos are a little out of sequence and Brent will have to help me correct some of the captions and get the terminology right, but you’ll get the idea. Of course, Brent would never get by with such a slacker’s approach covering a game, and this day was relatively short one for Brent—it’s 8 p.m. and he’s headed off (on his bike) for a celebration. I, on the other hand, am headed for about an hours worth of tv drug, some melatonin, and bed. I’ll be counting the steps of Little Giant Stadium in my sleep.

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