The Ways of a Sports Journalist, Part III.

This is the final part about my busy day on Saturday. This includes the Sabres game and how that all went with press passes in mine and my brother's possession.

We headed down towards the arena and I noticed how many people came from the ballpark and were heading in the same direction. It was a good day to do that. Go see a baseball game, and then go to the arena to watch the Sabres. Very smart idea to have venues close like that.

Corey and I didn't enter the front of the arena, but headed around towards the back. We walked underneath the walkway (as I took a quick glance up at Vanek's smiling face and smiled myself), and went towards the security entrance. Right when you walk in there's what looks like a control room to the right. More than likely to make sure no one tries to break into the arena. Or it was the security room...same thing, yes?

Corey told the guard there that we had press passes inside, and he let us go in. We met up with Pat once again because he was going to be up there with us. The press passes are cool because they are partially laminated on the front and they had our names filled out on them already. We took the Bisons passes off of our lanyards, and slipped on the Sabres ones. We walked past the gate, and Corey said that he would show me the things down the tunnel once the game was over with.

The press elevator is MASSIVE. If I'm not mistaken, I think it said 10,000 lbs it could hold? Impressive. You can imagine why it's so big since there are a lot of people in the media who have to use it after the game. They need to get right down to the locker room to get interviews from players. They even have a television set located in one of the corners of the elevator, so that was nice.

We got in there, and this guy that specifically worked for the NHL (I think) said that Donte Whitner had been tasered. Apparently WGR had reported it a little earlier in the day, and my brother was getting a kick out of it. He was hoping the information was true. Corey even mentioned 'What is it with Buffalo safetys?' while he had his morning show.

When we got out of the elevator, there were game notes located on the table. They have thick packets regarding current stats in the league, and then stats on the two teams playing that night. They also had the starting lineup and after every period they handed us a sheet of paper that showed the current stats. I wanted to kick myself after the game because I didn't take anything with me. Stupidstupidstupid. At least I recycled it.

Corey said that when you have a press pass for a Sabres game there is a pregame meal, but you have to pay for it. They had tons of popcorn though, and drinks. Plus, after every period they had cookies for people to grab! I figured I could indulge a little though I don't really like chocolate chip cookies specifically.

I met other members of WGR when we arrived at our seats. John Koziol was first, then Paul Hamilton sat next to Corey and we said hello briefly. Two people who work on the internet for the radio station were also there, and then Brian Koziol came a little later to say hello. Everyone was really nice and funny. So the experience was definitely enjoyable.

Corey took me over to the little WGR booth located right next to Harry and Rick's area. They have a curtain located in the box which I thought was the right thing to do. I wouldn't want to be distracted by anything going on the sides of my box. The WGR booth is where Brian Koziol does the post game shows from. I thought for sure that he might do them directly from the station, but again, I was learning things as the day went on.

Now for some shenanigans that happened during the game: First, it really was amusing to watch the various media people get up after the period ending to go get the cookies. I think everyone got up at the exact same time and raced over towards the plate. I snagged two. It took me awhile to eat them because, like I said, I don't like chocolate chip cookies all too much.

Secondly, this guy in section 317 was yelling 'FIRE REGIER!' before every faceoff, it seemed. After every goal, the same thing. By the third period there was a whole 'Darcy' chant going through a few sections in the upper bowl.

Note to dude who was yelling that the entire game:

Listen, he is sitting in the pressbox over to the right of you. If you had the balls enough, you would go right up to the top row and yell at him from there while staring straight at him. It would've been funny to see security lead you out.
Oh, and you're welcome,

Inbetween the first and second period I think, I turned around in my seat and saw Zdeno Chara, PJ Axelsson and Phil Kessel (maybe?) walk past behind us. I was astounded by the height of Chara. Guy really IS tall and person! I tapped Corey on the shoulder and murmured "I didn't realize how tall Zdeno Chara was." He looked at me, and went "Chara? Where did you see him?" Funny thing was, my brother was looking in the same direction as me. Pat said to Corey too, "How could you miss him?" Corey used the excuse of he has glasses while I retorted back "I have them too."

When you sit up along with the rest of the media, you can't be a fan. There's no cheering up there going on when a goal is scored, and there are no high fives going around with people you don't know. I felt quite out of place at first, but then I got better at not having any sort of reaction when the Sabres scored. My heart bled a little, especially when Vanek not only scored one but two goals and got his 40th. Damn him! Did it on purpose so I couldn't celebrate.

Now, during the game, Corey turned to me and asked if I would like to go down to the locker room afterwards. I nodded my head and said yes, little butterflies entering my stomach. I knew we were going for media things but I didn't know how I would handle it. Remember, I'm an eighteen year old female who loves hockey players.

After the game was over, everyone scrambled into the elevator to head down to the locker rooms. The guy working the elevator wanted us to still move in but we were about to be on the otherside if we moved anymore. Let's just say, don't be a part of the press if you're extremely claustophobic. That elevator was not fun in the slightest.

We all walked in a group towards the locker rooms and waited outside until we were allowed in there. I met another person down there and he asked Corey if he had changed my mind to be a journalist. I kept getting the same reaction to that. Basically I shouldn't get married and feed off my mother for the rest of my life if I want to get into this job. Oh, the excitement.

Corey asked a friend of his if he wanted him to work the microphone, because he was in a wheelchair. He happily said yes, and we walked in.

I'm really surprised I didn't just drop dead right there.

The first thing you notice is the smell of hockey sweat. Ohhhh yeah, that was nice. I didn't really notice it because I'm used to it when my sister played hockey. I have to get used to it anyways if I'm going to play next year. Only a few guys were in the room; changing before going into the showers. Corey's one friend first interviewed Craig Rivet (which I may note that his jock was hanging out. Nice.) I listened to him and watching his face made me sad. Poor guy...I really wanted to give a hug, but you have to act professional down there.

Next, Corey got to hold the microphone for a Jason Pominville interview. I was five feet away from big nose himself. I didn't really hear any of the interview since he is super quiet in person. During this time, Drew Stafford decided to walk right behind me and my inner female fan was like 'YAY!'

I was maybe in there for ten minutes, and then Corey and I headed out of the locker room BUT not before I saw Paul Gaustad walk out of the showers with tiny shorts and a towel wrapped around his arms. I stopped a little and then continued to walk out into the hallway. I just turned to Corey and went 'I am an eighteen year old, female.' He laughed and went 'Sometimes I forget you're a girl, Shelb.'

The only last thing worth noting is that Corey got me a poster. When we were leaving the arena through the security entrance, I looked in the security room and saw all these posters in a box. What were they going to do with them? I mentioned it to Corey and he asked if I wanted one but I said I didn't know if we could get one. We walked back in, he asked, and voila! In my possession. It's on my wall now...but I'm going to have to take it down when I move anyways. Smart.

So that was my day Saturday. (: if you read all of my posts, then thank you for bearing with me. I know it was a lot to read.


Caroline said...

Sounds like a great experience. I've ridden in that press elevator before and it's pretty huge.

Shelby Rose said...

I couldn't believe the size of it. Crazy. I especially couldn't believe it when we almost all couldn't fit in there.