This year marks 25 years since I started doing stats for North Dakota state basketball tournaments hosted by Minot. A former student of mine, Jim Edwards, and I wrote our own statistics program in Pascal on an Apple //e computer with an Imagewriter dot-matrix printer.

Today we are still using the same program running on an Apple ][gs computer (see photo).

Computers used for official statistics at ND State BB tournaments

However, we have replaced the printer with a Macbook that captures the data that used to be sent to a printer. Once we have captured the printer output we paste it into a Word template and print to various networked printers around the building. We then create a PDF document and upload that to our web site <>.

Press box and the catwalk access to it high in the MSU Dome

When we first started doing the stats for the state tournaments we had to run copies of the statistics to the press box located at the top of the dome, at least five flights of stairs. (Actually we got my son and his friends to do that for us 🙂 ). When he got older and didn’t want to this any longer, we started having them drop a rope down with a clipboard, so we only had to go up two flights of stairs, but on the other side of the dome. Years later we set up a fax machine in the press box, and carried a copy machine up for them to use during the tournament. Now we just print 10 to 15 copies to a networked printer located there.

A view from the catwalk getting to the press box

We are often asked why we don’t rewrite the program to run on a more current computer. There is no need to, as the program does everything we need it to and works fast enough on the Apple ][gs. We have even stockpiled several backup computer systems in case our current system quits working.

We are also asked why we don’t use one of the basketball statistics programs available for Windows XP or Mac OS X. There are several reasons – (1) the programs we have seen require clicking on a screen using a mouse, require taking eyes off the action on the court. Our program is written so all the input is from the keyboard, not even a return key required – a basket by player number 14 is entered as 214 and a missed shot by s14. (2) these program are written for season long stats by one team, ours is written for tournament stats for eight different teams so the press has the data for the all tournament teams.

Basically, why fix something that still works?