Friday, May 14, 2010

CSM Bulldog Spring Blue-White Football Game

If I can sum up my thoughts on the game in a sentence, it will be that watching the game from the press box has been an interesting experience, to say the least.

The night before the Bulldog Spring Blue-White game, I had been unable to sleep until around 2 a.m., which accounted for the fact that I went right back to bed even after the alarm sounded at 7 a.m..

I had actually planned to cover the Bulldog alumni flag football game that started at 9 a.m., but I guess that was not to be.

Still, despite nearly missing the bus, I managed to arrive at the football stadium early to catch the Spring game, and after scouting for the best seats to watch the games from (directly under the press box), I started chatting with some of the people sitting beside me, which was fortuitous because my voice caught the attention of my friend from the press box.

She was there to film the game, and I went up to the press box to join her. Sitting in the press box was a Bulldog alumnus, who asked me if I was the one currently covering the Bulldogs, with the scholarship stories, which I replied in the affirmative. Then he asked me if I was getting paid for covering the Bulldogs, which elicited peals of laughter from me and a firm negative. Shortly after the game started, he left, leaving just me and my friend in the press box.

That was when things started to get interesting. I'm afraid to say I can't really remember what was happening in the first half of the game. The Bulldogs were playing touch football, but that wasn't what gave me amnesia.

At first, both head football coach Bret Pollack and receivers coach Gregg Patner shouted some instructions and also the scores to my friend, and it was hard to make out what they were trying to say through the noise on the field. Usually there would be someone who was in charge of updating the scoreboard, but on that day it was left to my friend, who was desperately trying to film the game and update the score according to what the coaches were shouting at her.

On normal game days, someone from the field will signal the score to the score keeper in the press box but since the coaches were busy trying to coach and referee the game at the same time, and my friend had only coach Patner's vocal cords to guide her by.

Pretty soon I gave up trying to concentrate on the game and was instead trying to help my friend make out what Coach Patner was shouting at her after each play. For one thing it took us like a quarter of the game to finally realize out which team's scores was supposed to be recorded as home or guest, (it was all so disorienting), although with Coach Patner shouting at us when we got the scores wrong (yes, we knew that touchdowns were worth 6 points and field goals were worth 3 points and all that, but we decided early on to focus solely on what coach Patner shouted to us) I am quite sure we got the final score right. At least I hope it is.

Near the end of the first half, trying to film the game, keep score, start and stop the clock all by herself was taking a toll on my friend, and I took over stopping and starting the clock under her directions, only for coach Patner to shout at my friend that we were supposed to start the clock at the snap.

After half time, slot receiver coach Mike Langridge came up to the press box to keep score, but the game only got weirder. Somehow or another, someone decided that nobody was going to try and convert a point after a team scored a touchdown, although coach Langridge bemusedly decided to award 7 points for each touchdown. Earlier on I had decided not to cover the game, but I began taking notes, just in case.

However, I gave up upon realizing that some of the players were not wearing any numbers, and some of last year's sophomores were actually playing too.

Overall I guess it was a pretty informal game. There was some horsing around, like when a player decided to playfully "score" a touchdown after a play ended, and a player rushing into the field halfway during a play after being called in by a coach. The game ended with the White team winning 40-34.

Coach Langridge left right after, though not before saying that it was nice to see me again (and he remembered my name even though I interviewed him over a month ago!).

Overall, I managed to get some impressions of only a few players: sophomore quarterback Julian Bernard, who did a pretty good job as the White team's quarterback, Defensive linebacker D.j. McDonough from the White team who got two interceptions, and Defensive lineman Sosefo Maka from the Blue team, who recorded a sack towards the end of the game. I'm pretty sure I missed out a lot of other players who were also standouts in the game.

All in all, it was a pretty interesting game, and I guess watching the game sort of ended my semester of covering the Bulldogs during their off-season on a happy note. When Fall comes around, I look forward to just sitting in the stands at their home games as a normal spectator without having to worry too much about keeping score.

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