People tend to have three major questions when they find out that I am now a mildly obscure Kentucky Sports blogger. Can you get me tickets? No, but I know a guy who will sell you his press pass. Do you get paid? No, though I did get free food at the last podcast. And do you get press credentials? No, I’m not that important yet. That is, until last night. Matt Jones, playing the part of the benevolent benefactor, set me up with press credentials for the Miami game (though only after grumbling about how we new comers were taking all his hard work for granted ‘It took me three years to get press credentials!’ Yeah, and that’s about how long I spent in the blogger contest, so I say we’re even.) Either way, if you looked up on press row last night, you would have seen a ginger in pajamas looking a bit out of place in between two “real” journalists.
Here are a few of my observations from press row:
-Laodu is more awesome than can be described. Not only does he have the wide eyed tourist look about him, he absolutely owns the media room. Super friendly and super knowledgeable (even about a lowly blog contest winner,) added to the fact that he literally had a mountain of potato salad and potato chips (we’re talking three inches high) on his plate when we met, and the thought him doing a podcast with Woo makes me giddy.
-Trying to be objective from press row sucks. Last night, especially in the first half, the places for UK fans to get excited were few and far between. When Ramon made a block, Darnell started chipping away at their lead, or Miley’s “Party in the USA” came on, it was tough not to jump up and start cheering. In fact, there were more than one occasion when I started clapping, only to feel judgment being shot at me from both sides. Boo, having to pretend to be a real journalist, boo!
-The Miami Coach, Charlie Coles, needs a twitter worse than Bill Belichick needs an excuse. If you haven’t listened to his post game interview yet (and really, while the video captures a good moment, the whole thing is gold,) do so now. I’ll still be here when you get back. If we couldn’t have Cal as our coach, I would be starting a petition now to steal him. I kept expecting him to threaten to say “Boy, you don’t want me to take off this belt” when jarring with Dick Gabriel. He’s like the crazy grandpa we all wish we had. Speaking of grandpa’s, how much money would it take to get a new version of the Odd Couple, starring Coles and Brooks? Would that not be a better show than the Big Bang Theory? Someone get on this.
-John Wall is a pro. It has been written about before, and it will be written about again, but this guy is ready to handle just about anything. You need him to hit a game winner with six seconds left on the clock in his college debut? Piece of cake. You want to throw him in front of hungry media members with no less than 20 recorders in front of his face? He’ll ace it. You’re saying he needs to hit two free throws to put the game on ice? Well okay, maybe he isn’t fully polished yet, but I’ll take him over Lance “seven points in twenty two minutes” Stephenson any day.
All in all, if you ever get the chance, I highly suggest taking a game in this way. The level of interaction is something completely different, whether it’s in the form of the modicum of misplaced respect you get, the free mediocre burritos, or the chaos that is the post game interview room, it’s an experience all it’s own. And in what will certainly go down as one of my life long memories, I got to ask John Wall the last question of his debut performance.
“So John, did you have fun tonight?”
“Yeah, lots of it.”
Me too, my man, me too.