See you later summer! Today officially begins fall football season for me. I’m in Provo, Utah getting ready for BYU/Portland State. I get asked a lot about what my week is like, when I’m gone, when do I find out my games, etc. So I thought it’s be fun to go through my weekly schedule during football season.
SUNDAY: Usually on about three hours of sleep, I’m on the earliest flight back home from my game. It’s the only day I get to spend with my family, so I get home as early as possible. Around mid-afternoon we will find out our next assignment. People find that shocking. We don’t find out our schedule until six days before the game (four days before I’m set to fly out). The reason is because the networks are still picking what games they want to air and in what time slots. People always ask, “How do you plan travel or start prepping with that short notice.” You can’t prep too far ahead because you have to see how the previous game played out for each team you’re covering. And the travel… well, I always know I leave on a Thursday and come back on a Sunday (or Saturday night if you’re lucky), so it doesn’t really matter where the plane is headed! As long as I’m on it! side note- basketball is way different because there’s games every day of the week. Sunday evening I’ll start digging up story lines on each of the teams and figure out who I want to talk to during the week. I need to have some sort of game plan heading into Monday, because we have production conference calls that day.
MONDAY: A lot of film watching. I’ll go back and watch our crews’ previous game. How’d we do? How were the interviews? Did I ask an appropriate follow-up? Did I miss an opportunity to tell a story in a certain moment? These are just a few of the many things I grade myself on. Then I start watching the previous games for the two teams I’m covering that week. It helps me to know the players, the schemes each team runs, how fast each offense goes, and what storylines need to be followed up on. We also have a conference call where we go over the preliminary storylines. This begins the real prep.
TUESDAY/WEDNESDAY: These two days are just a bunch of reading and phone conversations. A lot of people don’t realize how much reading goes into each week. I also do a lot of phone calls those days with players/coaches. We’ll also have a conference call with one of the teams. Then it’s just taking everything I’ve gathered and organizing it into notes so that when I’m on the field I can find what I’m looking for. The play-by-play announcers and analysts have these intricate boards they make for games. As a sideline reporter, I don’t have a desk to hold my notes and laptop. So I have to condense everything into as few of pages as possible. And cover them in plastic in case it rains! For the most part it’s all stored in my brain, but I like to have stuff written down just in case.
THURSDAY: Pack and fly out! I’ll spend most of the morning with my son, trying to soak up as much family time as possible. Then I pack (making sure to check the forecast! Rain boots? Winter coat? hand warmers?) and fly off to wherever the week takes me.
FRIDAY: We’re on campus all day at meetings, practice and more meetings. At night we’ll have a final production meeting to go over all the ideas we hope to get into the broadcast. You would not believe how much work goes on behind the scenes to prep for graphics, statistics, player bios, etc. Every graphic that pops up on your tv when you watch a game was made by someone. Along with every music video that runs in and out of commercial. It’s really incredible. (I also sound like the biggest tv nerd).
SATURDAY: Game Day. This is the fun part! You take everything you prepped for all week, and throw it all out the window! Just kidding. Kind of. Your prep should prepare you for whatever situation comes up. But the game dictates the direction you go in. I probably only use 20% of the stuff I prep for. That 80% ends up on the cutting room floor. Honestly, if it’s a good game, you let the action tell the story. All those little nuggets you found aren’t important anymore. Then you pray the teams give you a nail-bitter to the end.
AFTER THE GAME: Eating and drinking with the crew. I lied. This is the fun part! Another side note- I don’t get a chance to eat much before and during the game. I’ll usually cram in a granola bar during halftime. (I’m luckily if I can even use the bathroom). Plus, I’ve walked about 30 circles around that dang field, so I treat my self to a burger and fries. And obviously a few beers.
I hope this wasn’t totally lame and inside-baseball for you guys! Thanks for reading!