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If the end game was to create a specific website that shines light on Rhode Island high school athletics, then Tommy DâAngelo succeeded.
Wish to know which school has captured the most championships in R.I. Interscholastic League history? DâAngeloâs vision and ultimate creation â www.rihssports.com â contains the answer along with the exact amount. The tally extends to every school thatâs ever won a title.
What allows www.rihssports.com to truly stand out is that itâs a portal to present times and yesteryear, a digital encyclopedia that concentrates in standings, postseason results and championship history. Each and every sport, both boys and girls, features this cornucopia of all-inclusive knowledge thanks to the uncanny efforts of one person â the aforementioned DâAngelo.
Now 10 years strong â www.rihssports.com was officially launched on March 16, 2002 â DâAngelo can look back with reverence and say that all those day-after-Thanksgiving treks to the Providence Public Library to look at microfilm, along with his meticulous note-taking knack, has paid off tremendously.
The website has become a vital resource for fans and journalists alike. In the eyes of the originator, thatâs all that matters.
âI would call it a hobby thatâs taken up a lot of my time, but at the end of the day itâs something I have a passion for,â explained DâAngelo.
That passion DâAngelo touched upon was unofficially tapped in the early 90s, when as a âbig sports guyâ he âstarted hand recording games at the professional and college level â basically anything I could get my hands on.â By 1994, he branched out to include select high school sports â baseball, boysâ basketball and hockey.
âSome scores and stats are easier to find than others,â notes DâAngelo, a graduate of Cranston West and Rhode Island College and current resident of Smithfield.
As he continued to keep track of the present, DâAngelo thought long and hard about expanding the project and including past results. One day, the true impetus for his leave-no-stone-unturned mantra arrived in the mail.
âWhat got me kick-started with the historical research was that the RIIL sent me a handbook with a list of champions through the years, and I had noticed a lot of inconsistencies and gaps,â noted DâAngelo.
Seeking to plug the missing holes signaled the commencement of the second wave of information gathering. DâAngelo got to know the inside of the Providence Public Library quite well, sitting at the microfilm station with a notepad for hours at a time. Soon, this super sleuth collected enough data that it was time to up the ante and go all in with the website idea that culminated in becoming his true calling.
When www.rihssports.com hit the Internet in March 2002, the site included standings going back as far as 1994. In no time, those hard-to-find recordings from earlier times were incorporated.
âWith me being a fan and seeing that there was no place to get historical content, I wanted to get something out there,â was the mantra DâAngelo swore by as he sought to take people places that had long been forgotten.
His own tireless labor opened the door for fans and coaches alike to e-mail information to email@example.com, a clear indication that his efforts were not going unnoticed.
âAs fans notice stuff and they contribute, I just try to fill in those gaps specifically as best I can,â said DâAngelo, who pays tribute to the correspondents with a name credit that appears on the bottom of the page of the appropriate sport. âItâs good to make those connections.â
The research/outside contributions have paved the way for DâAngelo to travel back a lifetime ago in some sports and unearth data that canât be found any place else. For example, every state championship in boysâ hockey beginning with the 1932-33 season is denoted. Another nice feature thatâs worth scrolling up and down a few times is the section devoted to Thanksgiving football matchups, both present and past.
âI want people to have a location to go and get the information,â said DâAngelo. âI knew it would take a lot of work, but I wanted to branch out and do my own thing.â
In terms of presentation, www.rihssports.com features no images or graphics, just straight-the-point concise data. Click on the homepage to find two color-coated columns, with boys sports listed on the left and girlsâ sports on the right. An additional click on the corresponding sport summons a page that can pull you in all sorts of directions that are easy to navigate.
âIt cuts right to the heart of the matter,â said DâAngelo about the websiteâs simplistic approach. âIt wasnât about the bells and whistles.â
DâAngeloâs work is not affiliated with the Interscholastic League, which is spelled out in a disclaimer that appears on the homepage. The real nuts-and-bolts work comes when updating the current standings. Deep down, he knows that all the late nights are worth his time.
âWhen I first started, I thought I would do this forever. I just assumed that I would have the passion for it,â DâAngelo said. âItâs a joy to follow the postseason and championships, but the past couple of years, Iâve thought about what Iâd like to do long term as far as keeping up with the day-to-day standings.
âIf itâs something I canât continue, Iâll probably have to handoff the site,â he added. âI would hate to lose the site or have it go offline.â
Ten-plus years later, www.rihssports.com is still going strong. DâAngelo noted that close to 5,000 hits clicked on the site in a weekâs time recently, such a high volume providing him with a true sense of accomplishment. The feedback heâs received via the survey he recently set up has been overwhelming positive, further illustrating that DâAngelo succeeded in carving out a noteworthy niche.
In other words, itâs a website definitely worth exploring.