We here at the Buckeye Battle Cry have been working hard at improving ourselves week after week. The holy grail, of course, is to become recognized by our favorite University as a legitimate news organization.
This season, we got lucky.
Ohio State rewarded us with press passes to the Ohio University game (which Jim attended) and to the Purdue game. I was lucky enough to be the one able to use the Purdue pass today and I wanted to share with you what it’s like to spend time in the press box.
Afterwards, I’ll regale you with actual football news and notes. Specifically my thoughts on how the Buckeyes looked from my seat in the stadium. Read on for more!
First off, I wanted to say that all the university representatives are incredibly friendly and helpful. There are a lot of employees up there that make our job easier through their hard work. Thanks for everything you guys do, we couldn’t do it without you.
The view from the box, as you might imagine, is incredible. You can see far more from that vantage point than you can even see from the game cameras. It’s almost effortless to keep an eye on the line and the secondary/receivers at the same time. Of course, it was designed that way, but it’s amazing how much of a difference it makes. The whole game really comes to you as you observe from up there.
The university provides game stats like it’s going out of style. They run a dedicated website that gives live updating stats for anything you could possibly want including detailed defensive stats, special teams, and quarter by quarter stat breakdowns. They also have people handing out stat sheet printouts at the end of every quarter with the important details, and a final book with every stat recorded after the game. That one is not so much a sheet as it is a book.
Before the game every seat gets a game guide, along with two printed booklets – one each for each team – that records all of the historical information of interest. It also contains any sort of data you could be interested in for the entirety of the season. Such things include scoring drive information for previous games situational stats (red zone numbers, first and goal numbers, etc.), lists of the previous time the team or a player recorded a certain stat line, and more.
Equally cool – though perhaps it makes everyone realize that I’m a band nerd – is that the Ohio State Marching Band provides a booklet on the history and traditions of the band, along with a printout of the days pregame and halftime show complete with the formation charts. I couldn’t even believe how detailed it was. It was almost the same document they give the actual band members on a weekly basis.
The university feeds the press extremely well. City Barbecue catered the event, along with the usual stadium food services. McDonald’s provided McFlurries for the press guys as well. Fountain Drinks and Popcorn are provided in mass quantities, and there’s an eating area behind the press desks for socializing.
Members of the press have permission to be on the field well before the game along with at halftime and with 5 minutes left. Allow me to say that the stories about how loud Ohio Stadium sounds is not an exaggeration. Even with only about 60-75,000 people there late in the game it was incredibly noisy on that field. It’s hard to imagine how much sound 100,000 would make in a close game.
I also want to point out that collegiate football is absolutely terrifying. I had been on the sidelines for spring football games, but that’s nothing to being there for a Big Ten game. Those guys are big and moving fast. It’s very intimidating to realize that at any moment the play could be coming your way. There’s no way you could react fast enough to get out of the way of that, and you know it.
Then there’s the press conference. Tressel doesn’t stay long. He says a few words about the game, answers about 6 or 7 questions and then leaves so that the Captains can come out and answer a few questions. After that, the university brings out a few of the key players from the game to come and answer questions from the press on an individual basis. Let me say that all of the players are wonderful people to talk to. They’re well spoken and happy to answer any questions the press had. There’s lots of friendly banter and joking that goes on too.
Tressel and Cam Heyward are particularly witty. When the press got into the conference room, the TVs were airing the Michigan State/Northwestern game – when it was still a game. The moment Tressel was about to walk into the room, the TVs turned off to everyone’s displeasure. As Tressel took his seat a member of the crowd pointed at the TV and said “Jim! Your buddy Dantonio’s on!” Without missing a beat, Tressel looked around and said “Well, turn it on!”
Later in the presser, Heyward was asked (by Jeff at Fox Sports Ohio, no less) about his extra curriculars on the field with one of the Purdue lineman.
It seemed like there was a lot of action going on after the whistle involving you today. What was going on out there?
Cam Heyward looked Jeff dead in the eye with a smirk on his face and quipped,
I don’t know what you’re talking about.
which drew a chuckle.
All in all, the experience was a joy in every way. It was a very different experience from watching a game in the crowd. Now, it’s incredibly fun to report things from the Pressbox, but you do lose out on the fan experience. The crowd noise isn’t nearly as loud up there, and you’re not allowed to overtly cheer for your team (although subdued support is allowed). That definitely doesn’t take anything away from being up there, though.
I mentioned there were a lot of things you could see from up there, here are some observations from the game. Keep in mind to read these through “It Was Purdue” colored glasses. They may be a Big Ten team, but they’re definitely not Wisconsin/Iowa/Michigan State right now.
This is a good way to bounce back from the Wisconsin loss. Let’s hope the momentum helps to carry us through the rest of the season.