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Your first time covering a "Big Four" professional sporting event

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mr. X, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. Mr. X

    Mr. X Active Member

    The thread about Bleacher Report includes a discussion of your first time covering a professional sporting event in the "Big Four" -- Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, National Football League and National Hockey League -- and whether it was surreal.

    I looked up surreal on Dictionary.com and got the following results:

    1. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of surrealism; surrealistic.

    2. having the disorienting, hallucinatory quality of a dream; unreal; fantastic: surreal complexities of the bureaucracy.

    I'm going to throw out definition No. 1 because I was taught, "Never use a form of the word in the definition."

    What do you remember about your first time a "Big Four" professional sporting event? Was it surreal?

    The first "Big Four" professional sporting event I covered was an NFL exhibition game for a weekly newspaper. I don't remember much, but it wasn't surreal. I had been taught act like a professional, don't cheer and don't fawn over the athletes, so that's what I did.
  2. MTM

    MTM Well-Known Member

    It wasn't surreal, but it was interesting
    I was a 20-year-old college radio reporter standing in the Lakers locker room with childhood heroes Jerry West, who was the Lakers coach, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It was the only time I ever got a little star struck on the job
    I had no problem asking questions of Magic Johnson, who was near my age, but I let other reporters ask questions of the other two.
    I was back soon and never intimidated again.
  3. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member

    I remember this pretty well.

    I had a local sports radio show in high school, and I made it my life's mission to interview a hometown guy playing in MLB.

    Called the local team, got credentials to be on field for the pregame, where the notoriously cranky groundskeeper wanted (rightfully) to toss me for walking on the grass. I managed to stay in the stadium, somehow. Went to the underground cage and player refused interview, said he'd talk after game. I nodded. I didn't know how this worked.

    Somehow got post-game clubhouse access from someone in the team's PR office, and then snuck into the press box (couldn't get box access) and sat in the back row during the game to avoid drawing attention to myself. Mind you, I'm probably dressed like a 15-year-old kid, and you could tell I didn't belong.

    Went into the clubhouse post-game with my rickety, cheap-ass tape recorder, and player shot me down again. Looking back on it, I would have, too.

    They never should have credentialed me in the first place.
  4. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    It wasn't surreal so much as it was awesome, but my first Big Four game was covering the Heritage Classic in Edmonton in 2003 between the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens. Just a very cool setting and history-making moment. Plus getting to see guys like Gretzky, Fuhr, Messier, Lowe, Coffey, Anderson, Ranford, Huddy, et al reunited was pretty cool, and then getting to watch them play guys like Guy Lafleur and some of the other Canadiens greats kind of topped it. I have dealt with NHLers for most of my career and never got star-struck, but that event on its own was just flat out cool. And I don't mean because it was -27C plus a wind chill.

    I have covered other events that were much more surreal, however.
  5. ColdCat

    ColdCat Well-Known Member

    covering Lions-Packers at Lambeau about 15 years ago. I went along with another reporter from my shop who had been a Packers intern a few years earlier and still knew a lot of the guys. Before the game we run into another guy who had been an intern at the same time and had just become an agent. He had two insanely beautiful women on his arm, one was the girlfriend of one of the players, the other was the player's sister. That was 'this is cool' moment number one- hanging out in front of the stadium with an agent and two hot women. Of course the moment was ruined by the women in question being bitchy and clearly uninterested in spending one more moment with two journalists.
    The game was OK. I never had that 'oh my god I'm standing on the field where Bart Starr played' moment since I was never really a Packer fan. Seeing Brett Favre and Barry Sanders play was pretty cool, though Sanders didn't have any of his signature runs that day.
    After the game we head to the locker room and at that point it was just work, but once we got all our interviews taken care of the reporter I was with started BSing with one of the players who in turn introduced himself to me. That part was a bit surreal. I mean you don't have to introduce yourself to me if I just saw you play in a freakin' professional football game.
  6. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Monday Night Football game at RFK, circa 1986 or so. I thought it was absurd how many reporters were there.
  7. Dawgpound17

    Dawgpound17 Member

    Not surreal but it also helped that I had covered a college football game before so it wasn't completely uncharted territory. Seahawks vs Redskins last year as a 17 year old. Third row in the press box and only Pete Carroll and Tarvaris Jackson came out to talk, but it was a great experience. Have to say though college>pros at least at this point for me.
  8. Haneluca

    Haneluca New Member

    If surreal means coming within inches of getting plowed over by Chris Johnson at a Titans-Broncos game, then yes. My first Big Four game was very surreal.
  9. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    When I was a senior in high school I was taking prep agate at a pretty big California daily. They used a different agate clerk to run quotes at NBA games and when that guy got promoted, they used me. I ended up getting a few sidebars out of the deal, even if most of them were essentially transcribed quotes separated by a sentence or two.
  10. Monday Morning Sportswriter

    Monday Morning Sportswriter Well-Known Member


    My first NBA game and I was 20. Pacers opened the season something like 1-5, then 4-8 and were about to start their long west-coast trip but against Vancouver, Golden State, and a lot of other sucky teams. With other reporters in his office after the game, I asked him if he thought despite the travel and grind, there was a chance to get this thing on track.

    He basically told me I was a moron, but I don't remember why. About a week later they were 8-8.
  11. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    First Big 4 event I covered was an off-season Dodgers luncheon. I sat at a table with Boog Powell. He farted.

    First time I helped at a Big 4: 1990 AFC playoffs, Bengals at Raiders, better known as Bo's Instant Retirement Game. I had to run film back in the third quarter. I walked from press box to the Raiders sideline, where our photog was. Got to watch a handful of plays. First thing that kicked my ass: the force of nature that 95,000 screaming fans creates rips through your soul and gives you a rush. Waves of humanity wash over you. I'll never forget that.
  12. kingcreole

    kingcreole Active Member

    My first was a Chiefs-Broncos game at old Mile High in 2000. The things that stood out:

    1. How the pressbox shook when the Chiefs had the ball, because the crowd was so loud.

    2. The number of media that had a good seat in the pressbox and didn't show up. I was scheduled to sit in the "media overflow" area inside the media dining area, but noticed right before kickoff the number of open seats in the main press area. I took up shop on some Spanish station's space, and there wasn't anyone within four seats to my left and right, and only a couple people in the row below, directly in front of me.

    3. I planned on going to the winning locker room, and since the Broncos led the entire game, I stood by their locker room tunnel behind one of the end zones with about five minutes left. But the Chiefs scored in the final two minutes and won. So I began making my way down the Chiefs sideline to their tunnel. Broncos fans began leaving after a turnover, and the Chiefs were of course taunting. Then a small group of idiots threatened to "fucking kill you guys if you ever come back here." To which the Chiefs laughed and invited the fans to hop over the barrier to discuss it. I wasn't sure if I should stay and watch or run like hell to the tunnel.
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