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Your First Time

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by HeinekenMan, Oct 21, 2006.

  1. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    Aha, not what you thought!

    I just did an interview in an NBA locker room for a feature. Not only was this the first time that I've interviewed a player in one of the big three (or four, Canadians); it also was the first time that I've even attended an NBA game.

    As such, I was a nervous wreck coming into it. I didn't find my seating assignment until the fourth quarter, so I spent the first half in an open seat and the second half watching the game on TV from the media room.

    Then I asked my first press conference question. I was calm until I got the mic. Then I almost froze. But I managed to get out the words without sounding too much like a dork. All in all, it was both a learning experience and a truly golden moment in my career.

    I know the thrill of reporting on the boys wears off, as has been the case as I've climbed the ladder to bigger and better things. But I'll savor the moment for at least a month.

    Does anybody have a particularly funny or otherwise exceptional story to tell about their first time covering the big leagues?
  2. TwoGloves

    TwoGloves Well-Known Member

    Didn't happen to me, but I was there and saw a good one from a TV guy who was likely making his first visit to a locker room. It was during Lions training camp when Rodney Peete and Andre Ware were battling for the QB job. All the usual people were crowded around Peete's locker and we were all wearing T-shirts and shorts. Except a couple of TV guys from northern Michigan. Both were wearing ties. The TV guy must have wanted to make a good impression so he figures he'll blurt out the first question to Peete. "Andre ..." he says before stopping after realizing what he did. Peete's eyes get really big and he smiles before saying "What did you just call me?" At this point the guy is ready to crawl into a hole. Making matters worse, one of the beat guys sticks out his hand and makes a sweeping motion toward Peete as if to say "the floor is yours." The poor guy blurted out another question before high-tailing it out of there. Even Peete felt bad for him.
  3. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    I had a similar situation to yours, HeinekenMan, during a presser for the 2000 U.S. Women's Open. MJ was up there after a three-hole ProAm for charity. I nearly froze and stammered through my first question. I recovered pretty well for the follow-up, though. It was a rush, to say the least.
  4. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I was on the preps beat and got to fill in for a baseball writer. I was 19. I went into the vistors' locker room to talk to Dallas Green and he was a total dick, mocking my newspaper. A few months later I had a fairly steady stint backing up an NBA writer (while still covering preps) and had a good time. Did some more backup MLB the next season. The season after that one, though, I learned how much different it is to be THE beat guy instead of the backup, like living in a town instead of vacationing there. Still, I'm glad I had a gradual introduction, even though Dallas Green was a dick.
  5. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    I'll tell you after I get there.
  6. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    First time I rocked credentials for a Big 3 game was an NBA game between two also-rans, one of whom happened to have a local player, and because of my proximity to the area (I was on an assignment there anyway), I covered it.

    And in the locker room ... I saw Oliver Miller.


    *puts head into arms and starts bawling*
  7. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    I got yelled at by a Reds PR guy for trying to take a bottle of water from a table in the media room in spring training. I had a feeling I was in the wrong, but I took the risk. Turns out all the food and drinks were for the scouts. I felt like an ass.

    Oh, and I saw Adam Dunn naked, which was only moderately terrifying.
  8. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    Who'da thunk that the water in the media room would actually be available to the media?
  9. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    I had a complete moron moment during my second or third visit to a major league stadium, when I went up to a pitcher for comment on a feature I was doing...only to be told, in no uncertain terms, that he couldn't talk BECAUSE HE WAS STARTING THAT DAY.

    I have no idea how I managed to screw that up, but I did.
  10. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    July, 1969...a 19-year-old kid with less than 6 months experience gets sent to cover a Joe Namath presser -- the summer after Super Bowl III -- the day after Namath had yielded to Rozelle's wishes and disassociated himself from a NYC joint called Bachelors III (mob connected).
    Scared shitless, without a clue what to do until one veteran NY football writer, perhaps noticing how I was shaking, helped me out.
    And I am forever grateful to Dave Anderson for that incredibly kind gesture.
  11. The Basement

    The Basement Member

    my first time in an MLB clubhouse, it was spring training and one of the team's starting pitchers is watching hardcore porn on his laptop - the kind with the really big screen. he's on a folding chair in the middle of the clubhouse, and pretty much every player, attendant and even some media were surrounding him (room was relatively empty, with some players still showering/eating etc etc)
    well - i knew no one, never met any of them, never talked to any of them, and i'm kind of hanging out not sure what to do. do i go watch with everyone else? do i just stand there?

    not sure, i bailed before anyone really knew i was there. i went and bullshitted with the media relations guys for a minute, and then went back in.
  12. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    I was 21 when I made it to my first NBA locker room. It was Shaquille O'Neal's rookie year with Orlando and they played the back end of a back-to-back against the Pacers.

    I laugh now, but until you go in one, a pro locker room is some forbidden place of wonder. Is it going to live up to whatever undefined expectation you have? Is it like some club?

    I go into the Orlando locker room and I was quickly de-mystified. Literally the first thing I heard was Litterial Green shouting at Nick Anderson, "Ha ha! You busted that ass!"

    I conjured up the courage to ask O'Neal a question. It was tied at halftime, but the Magic folded in the second half. I asked him something like whether the team was gassed in the second half after playing a back-to-back.

    Shaq initially said something sarcastic, but then was cool and said something along the lines of how as a rookie, he was still adjusting to the grind, then some asshole radio hack came up and asked Shaq if he could say, "This is Shaq and you're listening to WFAQ!"

    Baseball was next for me, and after having covered the relatively (then, anyway) informal NBA, it was taken aback by the more rigid formality of the baseball post-game (I was too young and too shy to be savvy enough to go to BP, when good access is had).

    I'm shy by nature and it took me forever to get confidence to ask questions in group situations. As a result, I think it's harder to gain the respect of your peers that way. I think that obstacle, more than the allure of covering pro sports, was my biggest hang-up early in my career. Then again, until I went full-time, I always approached it as a learning experience, not unlike Frank's experience. I'm glad I got the chance to learn.

    On another note, my most blistering ass-chewing came from Larry Brown a few years into my NBA experience. I still have the profanity-laced tape somewhere.
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