We will have a game recap and some other thoughts up later on, but about that press pass…
I didn’t think they would actually let me in.
As I made my way up to the security entrance and fought my way through youth hockey players and parents, I figured I was in the wrong place. Even when I picked up my credentials that said “The Goose’s Roost” I thought someone would realize they made a terrible mistake and escort me from the building. There’s no way they actually let someone like me get a press pass for a real hockey game, right?
But there I was, sitting alone in the HSBC Arena press box. My name was on the seating chart and everything. If things were as black and white as most front offices would lead you to believe, this is enemy territory. Alert the authorities, there’s blogger in the press box. I was waiting for the hammer to fall and my cover blown. I’m no journalist, and someone is going to notice that eventually, right? The Media Thought Police will take me down for eating too much popcorn or something, right?
Well no, not really. No one seemed to care who I was, and I suppose in a way that’s a compliment. I set myself up in the west corner of the box, alone with my laptop and about 100 pages of game notes. Everyone did their own thing, and for the first period I went over those notes and got myself acquainted with both team’s rosters.
During the first intermission I wandered around the press box, wondering if I could find a few familiar faces. I found one in Andrew from USRT, who was taking in the game from his usual seat with Artvoice. He was nice enough to introduce me to a few others in the box, and I moved my things down to sit with him for the rest of the night. This would help a lot, as I wasn’t sure how the postgame procedure went and needed the guidance.
Overall, sitting in the press box is an interesting experience. I wasn’t on deadline, so for me the setting wasn’t as hectic as it is for others. My goal was to take in the experience and maybe write a game recap (which will go up later). Everyone seemed friendly, and at the very least cordial. The “rules” weren’t all that hard to follow (no cheering, no bothering others, no hugging Paul Hamilton…), and if you looked the part no one would give you any trouble.
I actually sat next to the goal judge for the second and third period, so while he wasn’t watching the game I asked him a few questions about his job. Needless to say he would rather be behind the net watching things unfold, and I tend to agree with him. Still, he was nice enough to put up with me for 40 minutes of hockey, so I appreciate the relocation. I hope the extra few hundred dollars in revenue that put him there is worth it.
The late goal meant a lot of antsy journalists, as it required rewrites and missed deadlines for many. On the trip to the locker room I took a backseat and let the real reporters work, not wanting to get in anyone’s way. I probably should have been more aggressive, but I honestly just wanted to see how things worked this time around. I didn’t want to ask anything stupid, and I certainly didn’t want to cut off someone who actually needed to get a quote. Next time will be better.
So how did this “blogger in the press box” thing go? Well, I can’t speak for every blogger out there, but it was pretty freaking cool. All I wanted to do was blend in and get a feel for what it’s really like, and I think I did a good job of that. I didn’t get in the way, I didn’t look like a fool, and I’d like to think I made a good impression on the people I met.
Would I do it again? Absolutely. I made a few mistakes last night that I’d like the chance to fix, and now that I understand how things work I think I could be a bit more effective next time around. I’m not under the impression that I’m a journalist in any way, but if the chance is there to be one for just a night, I’ll take it every time.