For a lot of kids who love sports, the chance to be a sports writer when they grow up is something that everyone contemplates at times. The chance to be one of the hallowed few who is granted access to the players and managers to talk about sports is something no kid would pass up. The ability to sit down and chat with people who can elicit a large crowd just from their appearance is not something I realistically thought would happen. For last Saturday's game against D.C. United, I was given the chance to peer behind the curtain and attend the match with a press credential. It was an experience I will never forget.
Following my visit to the Boston Evertonian's tailgate, I made my way to the front of RFK Stadium to pick up my press pass. It is easy to say that I was extremely nervous. Everything from if I was dressed properly to if I really should have brought my laptop ran through my mind. Thankfully the staff at RFK were fantastic, and I was quickly directed up to the press box with a good 90 minutes to spare before gametime.Once getting settled in the press box I made my way to the most important room of the day, the media room with some catered food. Now contrary to popular belief, the food is not entirely free. A donation to the D.C. United charity is required, but it is certainly for a good cause so who am I to complain.
After some fantastic food and grabbing as much water as humanly possible to stay alive in the 100 degree temperatures, I settled in to watch the match with a fantastic midfield view. As mentioned before, the game was fantastic, and although cheering is outlawed in the pressbox, there was a nice smile on my face every time Everton scored.
During the game I had the chance to meet a few folks from the esteemed third estate. It was great to meet Sam who writes for SBNation in several capacities, and the folks at Counter Attack radio were a pleasure. I also had a chance to have a conversation with James who writes from the great state of New York. The ability to see how other reporters handle writing their stories and attending press conferences was almost as useful as seeing the game as a member of the press. It was also nice to see that I wasn't the only media member in attendance who was nervous about the who ole situation and didn't really know what was going on.
Before I talk about the madness that occurs after a match, I want to take the time to point out just how difficult being a sports journalist can be. I spent most of the first half making notes about players, and then the second half typing up the match review. I can only imagine what happens when a team makes a last minute comeback or scores a game winner in the 90th minute.
Following the final whistle is when the real fun starts. Several of us quickly ventured into the bowels of RFK where we arrived at the post match press conference room. We were treated to both managers as well as Phil Jagielka sitting in front of blinding lights as we asked inane questions about a meaningless friendly. These press conferences were actually pretty fun, and it was nice to see the candor from the managers, especially Ben Olsen who was frank about the lack of effort his players put in. I got the chance to ask Moyes about his assessment of the youngster's performances in the match. Shockingly enough I held everything together and couldn't believe how easy it was to ask a question. Yes I am geeking out a little bit, so sue me.
The only downside was the fact that we were told the Everton players would be walking past the mixed media zone after Moyes left, only to find out all of the players had already boarded the bus to travel to the hotel. That was really the only downside, but my guess is that was what happens when trying to combine the different types of press access from the U.S. and England.
It was a fantastic experience overall, and hopefully I will get a chance to repeat it if Everton makes another visit across the pond next year. Until next time COYB!