I know I am not breaking any news when I say this, but 4:15 a.m. is FREAKING EARLY…..Wow. That is what time my alarm went off to start the trip. This has been a tough week with two games in one week and just a short week to prepare. It means for less sleep and longer days. So we got started this morning early bound for St. Charles, Mo. I had everything packed last night so this morning I was just trying to wake up. I grabbed a sandwich for breakfast and it was out the door. When I got to Jason’s he was already waiting in the vehicle. We were on the road shortly after 5 a.m. About a half hour in the trip I decided it was time to work on my breakdown preview of Sioux Falls vs Northwestern, our scheduled game for Saturday.
BTW, before I go on further, you may notice this is longer than last week’s, it is an extended trip with two games this week.
So by 5:45 I was working on my preview. It posted just before 9:00 when we hit Kansas City. Here is a contradicting complaint for you. The sun started to come up and driving into it, made it difficult to work on a laptop, but I made do. However, it was cloudy when we got closer to K.C. I don’t mind the clouds, but come on, I had to get up at 4:15 this morning and got five hours of sleep last night, can’t we get some happy rays of sunshine around here? Okay, I’m better now.
So it was good to get some things done this morning…like I said last week, these trips are filled with work. In fact, we are about through K.C. and stopping for fuel. Jason is going to jump on his computer and take his turn to get some work done, this means I have to drive…and no more blogging, but I will return.
Momma always said not to blog and drive…..err…uhh….something like that…..
…And so it continues…For the record, I am finishing this on Labor Day, but I do plan to hit everything that happened on the trip. Buckle your seat belt because this was an extended trip and there was a lot that happened.
I drove us the rest of the way to St. Charles. We got in shortly after 1 p.m. and began to set up. It didn’t take long because for this game instead of setting up our own cameras we used the feed from LUTV, the student television station at Lindenwood University. When everything was set up we began to prep for the game. At 3:00 we decided to check into the hotel. A quick shower and change and then shortly after 4:00 we were back at the stadium.
The game was set to kick off at 6:00. Our pregame began at 5:45. At 6:00 we were set for kick off and just as the ballfloated in the air, rain began to fall on the innocent spectators in the stands. I was impressed by the numbers of people who checked the forecast before heading to the game. Umbrellas blanketed the stands in a matter of seconds. Football is fine in the rain, right? Lindenwood was on the opening drive when there was a flash of lightning. To my surprise, the game continued. Phil Staback connected with University of Oregon transfer Jamere Holland for a big gain to the 6-yard line when lightning struck again. This time the stadium was cleared and we were officially in a weather delay.
The rule in place was a waiting period of 30 minutes after the last lightning strike or thunder. We went into the delay at 6:09 with 12:24
remaining in the first quarter. We tried to kill some time on the broadcast for awhile, but the lightning was strong and we quickly realized the delay was going to take some time. I walked through the press box to find out what the deal was and no one was really sure. I caught up with Patrick Ross, head coach of Lindenwood, and his view on the delay and whether the game would be played, “prepare for a long night.” With that said there was nothing to do but wait it out. I started to talk to some of the LU students who were handling the broadcast for LUTV.
We began to take bets on when the game would resume. My guess was 9:14, you know a good round number and three
hours away. Some people thought I was crazy to think the delay would last that long, while others found it hard to believe the two teams would play that late into the night. I told them about a game I was broadcasting for Doane College that went into a delay and got over around 1:30 a.m.
It seemed like we would get close to the delay time expiring and lightning would strike again. In fact, one time the official lightning timer told me we were down to four minutes and then the sky lit up like the fourth of July. One indicator that we wouldn’t resume play any time soon was the game officials carrying a buffet of hot dogs and cookies back to the dressing room.
For about 30 minutes during the break Jason and I went back on air and basically did a live chat session show. We had viewers ask questions over the chat forum and we shared our thoughts and analysis. It was some really good stuff. Folks were asking about other NAIA teams, conferences and really a wide spread of topics.
We finally decided to go get something to eat. It had been a long day to this point and we really hadn’t had a meal all day. We took off on a drive to find something quick. The first thing we came to was a Little Caesars. You gotta love the hot ‘n ready pizzas for $5. When we got back to the stadium we sat in the car and started to eat. At this point there was an announcement being made that the lightning had cleared away and the teams were allowed back on the field. We ate quickly and went back to the press box. The game resumed at 10:10 p.m., four hours and one minute after the game was halted. The game concluded and we wrapped up the broadcast just before 1:00 a.m.
After the game
I’ve said it before and I will say it a million times, cleaning up is the worst part of the broadcast. We gathered everything and began taking everything to the car. On my way down what seemed like a thousand steps I was asked if we had everything out of the press box. I responded saying we needed to make one more trip. When we went back to the press box it was locked. We had to track down a guy with a key to get the remaining equipment. I t always amazes me how you can tell someone one thing and they do the complete opposite, but, then again, it was after 1:00 a.m. We got the last of the equipment and loaded into the vehicle.
We went over to the coaches office to chat. Lindenwood defensive coordinator Shawn Nagel was still in the office while most coaches were filing out of the building. I learned quickly I enjoyed chatting with Nagel….dude is hilarious. It didn’t seem like long and Nagel said, “well boys, I gotta get some sleep.” It was just after 3 a.m. Jason and I had not been up for 23 hours and I sure was feeling it. We made it back to the hotel and it didn’t take long for either one of us to get into bed.
At 9:45 we were up and going through the shower. We made a quick stop at LU to chat with the coaches and ended up leaving with a couple of Lindenwood t-shirts. I love it when the schools give us clothes. When they ask if we want a t-shirt or something I’m like a five year old kid walking into the world’s largest candy store, just giddy as can be. I love it. See the bottom of this blog for a 2010 Souvenir/Apparel List.
We left St. Charles by 10:45 bound for Orange City, Iowa. We decided to take a different route then the recommended interstate way. With Jason driving, I had the idea that I was going to get some work done. For some reason after a 23 hour day and six hours of sleep I just wasn’t in the working mood. As we traveled North there was an interstate off ramp that caught Jason’s eye. He made the comment that this “didn’t look good.” When we went under the overpass his thought was confirmed with a Flight for Life helicopter on the ground. I sure hope everyone involved is able to recover fully.
We decided to make a stop in Oskaloosa, Iowa at William Penn University. It was my first trip to Oskaloosa and Jason
hadn’t seen the new athletic facility on the campus. When we first walked in there was a 30-yard turfed practice facility. It was really cool. Not too many NAIA schools have a facility like that. We got a tour of the locker room and the rest of the football side of the building. Just before leaving head coach Todd Hafner asked if we wanted a t-shirt. Again, I was excited. We go to get a t-shirt and walked away with two t-shirts and a pair of shorts….JACKPOT!
After chatting with the coaches we stopped at one of the other buildings to check in with the sports information director. He wasn’t in his office so Jason stopped in to chat with the track coach, who was coaching at Dana College, Jason’s alma mater, at the time of its closing. While the two chatted, I stepped into the doorway to watch the volleyball team practice. I kept getting “who the heck are you” looks from players and the coach. We finally left the Penn and Oskaloosa. I continued to drive while Jason worked in the passenger seat. We weren’t far from Des Moines and decided we would make a quick stop there to check out Grand View’s stadium, our stop on Sept. 18. We pulled into the stadium and it was packed as folks showed up for the high school game. After seeing what we stopped to see we were on the road again. When we got to Ames it was time for grub. Jimmy John’s was close to the gas station so we stopped there and grabbed a sandwich. Jason decided to drive the final leg and I worked on game prep for Saturday’s game.
We rolled into Orange City and the Dutch Colony Inn at 10:30 p.m. We both finished some work and then it was off to bed.
You know those times where you want to get a lot of sleep, but you wake up before the alarm? I had one of those nights/mornings. At 7:45 a.m. I was awake and wondering why. I jumped into the shower and got ready for the day. Jason rolled out of bed and got himself ready as well. We stopped at the front desk to request a late checkout time. They said they couldn’t do it because there was a wedding in town and they were absolutely booked. In that town if there is a wedding you can be sure everything will be booked. There wasn’t much at the hotel for breakfast so we stopped at the Subway. I tell ya, that is always a good choice for breakfast. I recommend the Ham, Egg and Cheese on Flatbread. Nothing else on it. You won’t regret. After breakfast we went to Korver Field and began the set up process. It took about two hours before we were set up how we wanted to be. We went back to the hotel to shower and gather our stuff. Then it was back to the stadium where we spent all day.
Jason fine-tuned the set up while I prepped for the game. Northwestern College SID, Matt Bos, was kind enough to
bring us lunch. We spent the entire day in the press box prepping and watching scores from other NAIA games going on during the day. We also edited the Lindenwood/Evangel game and streamed it again to take out the long lightning delay. More and more people were showing up around 4:00. Our volunteers showed up around 5:00 (big thanks to Northwestern baseball players) and we introduced them to their cameras and the process. A stop at the Sioux Falls tailgate meant free food….more free stuff for this guy. Then it was back to the press box for the game. I had to opportunity to broadcast the game alongside the commissioner of the Great Plains Athletic Conference, Corey Westra. He is one of the hardest working, classiest individuals I know.
After the game-the drive home
We got packed up fairly quickly and on the road. Jason decided to drive to Sioux City before getting some work done. I usually write this on the drive home, but didn’t feel like doing much. It had been a long last couple of days and I wanted to relax before getting in the driver’s seat. In Sioux City we grabbed a bite to eat and stopped for fuel. I jumped in the driver’s seat where I would be for the remainder of the trip.
With me driving, Jason was able to get a lot done including his top 25 for this week, updated scores and we did a drive home podcast that you can listen to by clicking here. The drive seemed to go quickly for awhile, but it got tougher and tougher the closer we got to home. We rolled into Grand Island about 3:30 a.m. By the time I got home and got to bed it was after 4. It was the second day of the trip I was up for 20+ hours. Sometimes it gets tough, but every Saturday when the game kicks off it is all worth it.
That’s a look at the trip this last week. This next weekend we are off to Columbia, Ky. It is the first season of football for Lindsey Wilson in 75 years. Check back next week for another edition of VSN Travels.