Prior to this weekend, we were lucky enough to get an opportunity through The Easterner and a photo wire service to cover three major sporting events:
Friday, Nov. 9College Basketball: Eastern Washington vs No. 10 Washington State
Saturday, Nov. 10College Football: Washington State vs. Stanford
Sunday, Nov. 11NBA: Seattle vs. Detroit
We’re writing this blog solely to share the experience of a college journalist getting an opportunity to make the “bigs.”
Brandon’s Day 2:
Once again, Cary and I found ourselves headed down to Pullman (which from Cheney, could possibly be the least scenic drive in all of Washington), this time for the football match up of Washington State and Stanford.
The Cougars and Cardinals both only had three wins apiece this season, but they could keep their bowl game hopes alive with a victory. We’d be working for Icon Sports Media, a photo wire service out of L.A., who had been nice enough to get us a parking pass, meaning that we wouldn’t be trying to test the meter maids of WSU.
On the way down through what is probably going to be James Cameron’s filming location for his next post-apocalypse movie, we decided to stop in Colfax for a bite to eat.
However upon entering the building we realized that this wasn’t just any eatery, the man at the cash register was decked out in a camo WSU hat and Cougar sweater that he probably purchased way back when Dennis Erikson was the coach. We weren’t in Moscow but we already felt that we were in Northern Idaho.
And then he dropped a racial slur to one of the patrons that really can’t be repeated here. That was followed by a farmer talking about shooting horses and then he decided to announce in a very loud voice that “I have a dead horse right out there in my trailer.”
It was at that moment that we decided it would be best to leave.
Traffic in Pullman wasn’t bad at all a couple of hours before game time, and the only thing that held us back was my terrible directions.
Me: Right, get in the left lane, rightCary: Somebody should shoot you.
After pulling what could quite possibly be the best “We’ve made the big time” moment in our careers as collegiate journalists. While driving at roughly 25 mph towards a police barricade blocking off Stadium Way, Cary just held our parking pass out the car window, prompting one of the policemen to stop traffic and guide us into our allotted parking spot in the Fine Arts Complex parking garage.
When we entered Martin Stadium, roughly an hour and a half before gametime, there were already probably more people in their seats than at a EWU football game.
We headed through the stadium’s tunnel, into the Boehler Athletic Complex and got our gear set up in the designated photo room, which apparently was set up overlooking Washington State’s haunted, drained swimming pool.
Now usually, the kind of food that they have set out for the media is the standard assortment of chips and pop so that we can gain roughly 300 percent of our daily calorie intake. But this time we had a choice of subway sandwiches, giving us hope that we won’t both look like John Goodman by the time we reach the age of 30.
A quick check of the EWU-NAU score showed that the Eagles were whopping up on the Lumberjacks in the first quarter 21-7.
Upon re-entering Martin Stadium, which had filled up even more, the environment started to become electric as game time approached.
It was an exciting game with the Cougs coming away with a 33-17 win over the Cardinal and keeping their chances for the postseason alive. The WSU Student Section certainly has the whole school spirit thing.
Not only did we see Coug-vader, we also saw a WSU Stormtrooper, and the Cougar Pope (Complete with the funny hat and the ten commandments of Cougar fans).
As the temperature dropped down below president Bush’s approval ratings, I came to the conclusion that my decision to wear just a thin coat was probably the dumbest of my life.
Well, except for that one time when I dropped 50 dollars on a Vin Baker replica Sonics jersey. That didn’t exactly pan out.
Once the game was over and we had packed up, we had to walk back through the stadium to get back to the car. The lights were still on for the cleanup crew and that is when we decided to pull out the camera and stage a couple Reggie Bush-esque photos of ourselves leaping in the endzone.
Problem was, my leap into the endzone was more like me falling down on the Field Turf and rolling over. I think the PA guy was still up in the press box, because we could hear chuckling over the stadium’s speakers.
Cary, not to be embarrassed, decided to leap roughly four feet up in the air for his photo. However the resulting landing gave him a severe neck injury and he wasn’t able to turn his head at all until later that night when he got a couple brews in him for a round of beer pong.
All in all, it was a good day, Seattle is next on the list for us on Sunday.
Cary’s Day 1:
We arrive in Pullman 30 minutes before game time, but the traffic and parking are so backed up that we nearly resort to parking in a bus lane. We found our spot by a parking meter that supposedly ran 8 am to 9 pm. No one else paid their meter so we followed the trend.
As we walked with our computers in hand, literally (we don’t own computer bags), a feeling of excitement came upon us. Strangers made it no more comforting, commenting on why Brandon would be carrying a 24 inch monitor and a labtop.
When we arrived at Friel Court, the sign lit up “The Doobie Brothers in Concert Saturday at 8 p.m.” At that point I wondered, “would my mom go to this concert?”
We searched and searched for the security/media entrance and finally found it. A couple policemen were attempting to regulate people from coming down there, but instead of checking our ID’s they continued their talk about who would be voted off on next week’s Survivor.
The walkway into the entrance was akin to the moment where Billy Heywood walks into the Metrodome before receiving the Minnesota Twins in the movie Little Big League.
When we got in, the media relations guy shuffled through the passes and couldn’t find any with our names. He then stated, “Let me put my eyes on,” (referring to his glasses). We received our passes and headed up to the media room.
It took me forever to find my media zone. I talked to three different people and they all had different answers. It wasn’t till I physically walked onto the courtside area that I was stopped and redirected.
When I got to what I thought was my correct area, I attempted to walk up onto the platform. To my surprise, the lady guarding it wasn’t having it. I felt like the scene in Robin Hood where Little John tries to charge for entry to the forest.
Luckily there were two platforms, so I jogged to the next (computer in hand), and found some familiar faces from The Spokesman-Review. I continuously looked for my name plate, but had no luck. I asked the clerk if it were alright to sit on the steps and report the game. He told me to try the other side.
So I attempted to get back into the Sherwood Forrest (platform one) and walked up the stairs as quickly as I could.
Little John this time said “Hey! What do you think you are doing?”
I said, “Sitting down and enjoying the game” while dangling my media pass in front of his face. The man clearly felt “served.”
Finally, eight minutes into the game I could start jotting notes down. The Eagles played exceptionally in the first half for a team with so little experience in Division-I athletics.
Down by 12 to the No. 10 team in the nation, I started drawing comparisons of Kirk Earlywine and Gordan Bombay, a fictional coach of The Mighty Ducks.
Then the second half started, and the clerk became my number one annoyance, shocking because we couldn’t hit a basket in the first four minutes. Every possession Wazzu had, the guy would make annoying noises when he felt an EWU player got schooled. A man even got up to leave and he confronted him and said, “Some game, huh?”
Following the 41-68 slaying of the Eagles, I found my way back to the media area in hopes of interviewing Head Coach Earlywine.
As I sat in a packed room of journalists from The Seattle Times, AP and everybody else that made traveled the tundra to Wazzu, I got my recorder started. The First person we talked to was last season’s coach of the year Tony Bennett.
He gave Eastern the benefit of the doubt for having only eight players and also attempted to pronounce Milan Stanojevic who torched them in the first half for 9 of Eastern’s 19 points.
“The first half that Milan Ste..n..oo Number 11 for the Eagles hit a couple big threes,” he said. “They are undermanned and I recognize that, hopefully their program will get better and get guys back.”
Then it got weird.
Instead of talking about the game, we started talking about Derrick Low’s arms and how much broader his shoulders are.
Then Derrick walked in.
The first question asked was, “Coach told us about your bigger arms, how proud of them are you?”
Derrick talked for five minutes about working out in the summer. Derrick even laughed when a reporter spouted “You’re not going to pose for us are you?”
We talked to Aron Baynes, Kyle Weaver, Daven Harmeling and Low, all from Washington State.
Then they informed me that Kirk Earlywine would not have a press conference, which was a real shocker to me. Why would they feature four players and a coach and not anyone from Eastern?… Oh yeah, they are the No. 10 team in the nation.
I wrote my story and posted it as the internet crapped out. I went back on my browser to find that my story had been completely wiped. I quickly rewrote the story and we got out of Dodge.
Brandon and I engaged in conversation of how good Taco Time would be and their vast selection of 23-cent salsas. To our surprise, they were closed at 10:15, but Subway was open. We didn’t want to eat healthy, but figured ‘what the heck.’
I picked up some Swisher Outlaw cigars and we rode back into the gloom-stricken night of Cheney, Wash.