So much production goes into a game like this. So much that people do not see or hear. The person playing the saxophone for the National Anthem warmed up by playing the sax solo from the song Careless Whisper by George Michael.
The game itself was unreal. Can you believe that it went into overtime?! An instant classic. As soon as the confetti went off it was a mad dash to the elevator. Some media members were going to the court, some to get stories filed by deadlines. Many still were doing live call-ins with radio stations and networks across the country. As many of you were watching the post-game activities the Texas Tech Red Raiders were having their press conference.
As for me, I finished the night on the court, watching One Shining Moment. Still in disbelief with what I was just a part of.
By: Mike Resendez
The open practices were low key, and you could tell that everyone from the coaches, players, training staff, and student managers were having a blast. The fans enjoyed every moment of it as well. I had a moment of disbelief when I realized that my credential granted me access to the court deck itself. That was another, “Act like you’ve been here before.”, moment for me. I fooled everyone though.
Day three was a different beast all together. Security was tighter, less smiles in the work room. Hey, even the media puts on their game face. The big question of the day was were we would be assigned to sit. If you got an assigned seat that meant you were on the floor, close to action. If you weren’t on the list then you had to stake out a seat in the football press box, far away, but you could see the whole court and take in the atmosphere from a fans point of view. The Virginia vs. Auburn game was one for the ages of course and I won’t break it down. To see the Auburn fans go from pure elation to “What just happened?”, was heartbreaking and something a Minnesota sports fan knows all too well.
On the fourth day I rested. That’s it. I did nothing. I was one of the lucky local media that stayed home and did nothing.
Which brings me to the last day. I wasn’t sure what angle to pursue. But, once again I winged it and made a video. I walked up to the convention center and talked to fans at the NCAA Final Four Fan Fest. I asked Virginia and Texas Tech fans about their experiences and expectations. (See video below.) They were all more than happy to talk about the Hoos or the Red Raiders.
Final Thoughts On The NCAA Final Four
As a newbie to all of this I tried to get to everything, and it stressed me out. Which leads me to my first big lesson learned. You can’t cover everything.
Day two was easier even though it was a lot busier from a schedule stand point. More press conferences, breakout sessions, open locker rooms, open practices, the CBS Sports crew has arrived. I’m talking the big shooters, Jim Nance, Greg Gumble, Clark Kellogg, and Wally Szczerbiak.
The story that I decided to do the second day was an easy choice. With the open locker rooms being less crowed because of the elite players going to breakout sessions, I could focus on freshmen and their transition to college life and basketball. These guys could not have been more excited to finally be the focus of the media’s attention. Here is a shameless link placement for that story. (Click here.)
When I arrived at U.S. Bank Stadium on last Thursday, I was not sure what to expect. Will I stick out as someone that has never been to a Final Four? Will I know where to go? Will I know how things work? What do I do at a press conference? How do I handle an interview scrum in a locker room? Lot’s of questions and not many answers.
You quickly realize on day one that all of your questions disappear and instinct kicks in. You read the media schedule and check availability of players and coaches. Press conference times and open locker room timing is key. Now, I will admit that the first time I walked into a locker room I was intimidated by the circus. There is usually a huge mass of cameras, microphones, and camera-ready talent ready to rush the door as soon as it opens. The top players are bombarded, as you would expect. The players that don’t see as much playing time quickly jump on their phones, (except in the Texas Tech locker room, read that story here), as they do not expect to get asked questions. We are all elbow-to-elbow, professionally shoving each other. Yes, professional shoving is a thing and it is followed up by an “I’m sorry”, and as a Minnesotan I can appreciate that.
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