The action on court can be fast and furious when Rutland’s boys and girls basketball teams are involved. But it’s rivaled by the whirlwind of activity that takes place at the scorer’s table.
It’s there that Rutland scorekeeper Veronica Christian engages in a miracle of multi-tasking. Outfitted in the black and white stripes of the official scorekeeper, Christian keeps the book. At the same time, the wife of boys’ coach Ron Christian logs statistics — including specialized ones like offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers — on her laptop.
Meanwhile, she’s engaged in her duties as cheerleader coach, as well.
“I get bored when I do one thing,” Christian said. “I have to keep busy or I’ll go crazy.”
Those game-time activities represent just a smidgeon of Christian’s school involvement. A Language Arts teacher, she also directed the one-act play, ran the drama club and worked with the flag corps for the marching band.
“She wears a lot of hats,” Rutland athletics director George Collins said.
Christian expects to deliver the couple’s third child in May. As a result, she cut back on a few of her activities. But her basketball duties — indeed the whole game experience — were too precious to pass on.
Her children. Monique and Ron Jr., ages six and four, respectively, help out on game night, as well. They help set the facility up and tear it down at night. They provide water to the players. They run statistics — Veronica prints halftime and game stat sheets — to coaches and media. It’s a true family affair.
“We pretty much do everything together as a family,” she said.
Veronica and Ron met when both were athletes at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Md. A Washington, D.C., native, Veronica played softball while Ron, from Statesboro, played basketball.
Ron has relied on Veronica’s stat-keeping ability for about five years. She used pencil and paper before gifting the computer program to him at Christmas three years ago. The numbers have value beyond easing a sportswriter’s burden.
“My husband and I were athletes in high school,” Veronica Christian said. “We understand how important it is to get stats out so kids can get recruited and maybe get a scholarship. And a lot of these kids need scholarships.”
The ability to document a point guard’s high assist-to-turnover ratio can make the difference when scholarships are handed out.
All that clicking — she uses a wireless mouse — and writing can get a little hectic as kids sprint up and down the court. At a game with Woodward Academy, Christian’s computer backed up, and she didn’t catch that a Rutland player fouled out until play had resumed for about 10 seconds.
That was an infrequent oversight. There are others nearby that help keep the numbers straight.
“It’s a team effort to make sure it keeps running and stays accurate,” she said, “especially with the boys’ parents because they want to make sure their kids are in the newspaper.
“I’ve got help. Without the help, I wouldn’t be able to do a good job.”
Christian said that help extends to her cheerleaders, led by captains Ashley Crute and Crystal Horton and co-captains Jasmine King and Erica Billingslea.
“I never have to fuss at them,” Christian said. “Being a coach and a scorekeeper, it helps when you have well-behaved children.”