So how’d it go? Not bad. I’m fighting heartburn and indigestion today because I found out, after publication of course, that I made a minor but glaring error in my story. The kind of error that I glanced right over but a reader caught right away. Ugh.
But it was kind of cool to go down to the RCA Dome and cover a game as a working member of the media. I got to sit in the press box, along with a couple other writers who were covering the game. It wasn’t exactly Colts-Patriots. And there were maybe a couple thousand people in a stadium built to hold around 50,000. It was a bit surreal. There were four games scheduled, and I was covering #2 of the day. My editor told me to expect a blowout, but it ended up being a close and entertaining game, with the favored team pulling out a 91-yard drive in the fourth quarter to take the lead, then another 60-yard drive to kill the clock.
The biggest thing was that I had to keep stats for the entire game myself. Thanks to a quick tutorial from my editor last week, I had a pretty nifty way of keeping both a running play-by-play and an overall stats sheet. I had practiced the method once with a game on TV, but it still took about a quarter for me to get in a good rhythm where I was quickly noting who touched the ball, what they did, what the result of the play was, and then accounting for it on both pages. It was nice to have a clear and quickly updated scoreboard to reference when I couldn’t do the math quickly on big gains. I was also pleased, when looking at the Indy Star’s small story on the game yesterday, that my stats were in line with theirs, and I even had one scoring play right where they missed the correct yardage. I’m already kicking the corporate owned paper’s behind!
My post-game interviews were pretty brief. I was only able to catch the head coach (our paper only covers one of the teams, so I was only obligated to talk to that coach), so I didn’t get to ask the players any questions. Normally, on a Friday night, I’d have from the time the game ended until 10:45 to compile stats, do interviews, write a roughly 500 word story, and then get it submitted. No way could I have done all that Saturday. I’m glad my first experience came on a Saturday when the deadline was noon the following day. I’m already getting a nervous stomach over my first Friday night game. I’m sure the entire process gets easier, which will make that time constraint easy to work with, but I’m not looking forward to my first attempt at it.
So now I’m officially a professional sports writer. How about them apples?