Coming from an unusual family, I am used to the odd discussions, but the one my sister and I had a few weeks back was a real mind bender. The conversation was one-sided and went something like this:
Andrea: "Guess what? I put your name on the list of people to cover an Ohio State home game this season. Pick between Youngstown State and Minnesota."
Me: No response-I was probably attracting flies with how wide open my mouth was. My sister is one of my editors at the Messenger. After flipping out for a few moments, I chose to see the Buckeyes take on Youngstown State because I
wouldn’t have to wait so long for it to happen. Now, I love watching the Bucks, but being on the sidelines taking photos in front of 100,000 people and on television is a bit daunting. It also didn’t help matters that a few of the editors were worried I would end up getting our photo privileges revoked by flirting with players or doing any of the other crazy things I get myself into. Honestly, where’s the faith, people?
For me, the days leading up to the game consisted of deep-breathing exercises and visions of being flattened by football players while trying to get a decent shot. I also wanted to be sure my hair looked good just in case I ended up on television.
On game day, after I got myself down to campus, I had a few hours to kill. So, I headed off to Hineygate, which I have heard many stories about. I must admit to being disappointed by the lack of debauchery.
I followed the crowd to watch the Skull Session at St. John Arena, where the ushers didn’t believe I was a member of the press (despite having the pass that said so). They said I "looked too young and not stern enough." Harrumph. I hoped this wouldn’t be an issue at the stadium. It wasn’t, but the lady who let me onto the field said I looked like a deer caught in headlights.
Then I chatted with a nice photographer from Piqua who gave me many helpful hints on stadium etiquette. In fact, he was so nice I didn’t get annoyed when Jim Tressel was standing three feet away from us and the photog told me, "That’s Jim Tressel, the head coach for the football team."
Speaking of standing closely, the players started warming up by me and I swear they all lie about their height. There’s no way some of those guys are as tall as they claim. And why had I never noticed how cute A.J. Trapasso is?
In the second quarter when I switched field positions, I was introduced to fan behavior when two drunken men
sitting close to each other played "Let’s see who can be more annoying."
I’m going to give the edge to the guy who yelled to the YSU players, "It must be hot down there with the
Little Animal breathing down your necks! Grawwwwww!" as well as obscenities at Todd Boeckman. I don’t care
if he takes forever to throw, cursing a student athlete in public is just wrong.
I decided to get out of the heat for a bit and find the press box during halftime. (The way I see it, my sideline trip was a one-time thing this year, and I might as well use my media pass to its full advantage). When I decided to go back down on the field, I was star-struck and flustered. Standing before me, waiting to get on the elevator, was Justin Zwick, whom I had a mini-crush on for years. Under normal circumstances, I would have talked to him, but remembered I wasn’t to flirt with any players. (I didn’t ask if former players were included in this rule).
I stayed the entire game and didn’t get the paper into trouble, which was a bonus. I was bummed that I wasn’t able to make eye contact with Justin Zwick, but the funny stories I heard about the television and newspaper sports writers from one of the gate men cheered me up immensely.
Despite going into the game completely scared, I had a blast. Here’s hoping the other staffers covering the remaining home games get sick before their Saturday comes up so I can go in their stead.
Dedra Cordle is a Messenger staff writer.