Monday, May 31, 2010

Behind The (TV) Scenes

I just thought I'd write a post about the "behind
the scenes" experience of doing TV. I commentated
for ESPN for the third year in a row for College
Softball Super Regionals. The first year I went
to Tempe and covered ASU vs. Northwestern. ASU
went on to win the National Championship ('08).

Then last year I went to Georgia Tech and they
played Washington. Washington ended up beating
#1 ranked Florida to bring home the Championship
for the 1st time ever.

This year I went to Florida and the Gators
defeated the ASU Sundevils and are headed to
the Women's College World Series starting Thursday.

When I was first asked I wanted nothing to do
with it. I had done a TV game back in 2000 and
did not have a good experience and felt like
I was the worst commentator ever, so I said I
would never do it again. But ESPN called and
Tommy said, "You need to try it again. If you
don't like it, you never have to do it again."
So I said yes and ended up having a great time.

After my first game in 2008 I realized that I said the
word "great" about 500 times, but that was something
I could work on. So I made a note with the
word Great on it and crossed out the word.
I also learned (with advice) how to talk through the
replay on the screen. I felt like I did much better
the second game.

Last year I was so nervous and sick to my stomach
the 2 days prior to doing the game but once the
game started, I felt much better. Kinda like I
felt before a big game- the wait is the hardest
part! After I did the two games, I really wanted
more opportunities.

I was thankful to be asked back this year.
I was more relaxed and was listening to a lot of
friends and former teammates who were
commentating for all the other games and getting
ideas of what I liked that they talked about.

Let me tell you, I think I'm a pretty good
commentator- FROM MY COUCH! And let me tell
you: doing the game live is COMPLETELY different
than watching it from the couch. It doesn't
seem like it would be. I felt prepared, but man,
it takes a lot of practice. Unfortunately 2 games
a year isn't a lot of practice, but nonetheless,
I was so excited for this opportunity!

So I talk to a couple players from the team to
see where they are coming from and to get some
thoughts and also sit down with the coaches.
Luckily softball is a small world, so I feel
comfortable talking to the different coaches.

The 3 days prior I do my homework and study
all the players and get the key stories from
both teams. Then it's game time. We usually
tape an intro, but the first game we had no
time, so we go live for the intro. That
means NO messing up- no pressure right!!!
My heart starts pounding and I'm just trying
to keep my head clear so I can make sure I
know what I want to say for the intro.

Next thing you know, the game is on and you
just go with the flow. Play by play leads
the way and I have been so fortunate to work
with great play by play announcers. This
week I was working with Pam Ward. The first
couple innings were tough for me to get into
it. And I went back to that word: GREAT.
Luckily I have my phone nearby and Tommy texts
me and reminds me not to overuse any words.

Finally around the 3rd inning I have a better
feel for what we are doing again and start
talking with Pam and not AT the audience. The
game ended after 5 innings because Florida won
by 8 runs, so I was really looking forward to
a better start on Sunday.

Overall, Sunday was very smooth and Florida
beat ASU again but I said something that I will
never forget. In the intro (and nobody caught
it!) I was talking about the ASU pitcher and said
"The Arizona State Wildcats". Well, I went to
the U of A and we were the Wildcats and are huge
rivals with ASU! I didn't even know I said it
until I watched the intro as the game started!
I almost died!!! But what can you do??? I had
a game to do and had to move on from my mistake!

I wanted to do a re-do and it made me think, it's
kinda like when I would have a bad at-bat and
wished I could do it over! But, that's not an
option. So I lived and learned and had to laugh
at myself! I am a perfectionist so I had to
apologize to the ASU coaching staff and was really
hard on myself. I just want to be my very best
in every opportunity I get and many times feel
like I could do better.

So I'm looking forward to my next opportunity for
ESPN on June 12th for the Pro game between the
Chicago Bandits and USSSA Pride. My goal is to
get better each time I have an opportunity!

A last little note: don't be so hard on TV
announcers- you don't realize how hard it is
until you try it. And remember, nobody is

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