On Thursday I called up North Meck High School where I would be filming the football game this week. I wanted to get permission to film, possibly from the roof of the press box again like last week at Mallard Creek. After a multi-phone call rigmarole with the athletic director, I was shot down. He said something about a lawsuit a few years ago, “But between you and me, I say go for it, I respect what you’re doing, and I can’t stop you, you could be a parent.” That’s a scary thought. I decided to head out early to get a good spot, because he told me they didn’t have roof access on their press box anyway so I’d be going rogue in the bleachers.
On my way out the door my phone rang and it was the boss. I’ll call him the boss for now. I’ve spoken to him on the phone and through email, but haven’t sent a tape or gotten a check just yet. Anyway, he told me that they had a request from another high school to get their game filmed, could I go there instead? Sure, I’m adaptable. The game was Phillip O’Berry Academy vs. Garinger High. The only problem was after checking various online sources, there was no clear verdict as to WHERE the game was being played. Of course no school office is answering their phones at 5:00 on a Friday so I was going to have to guess. I chose to go to Garinger first, because the majority of online sites said it was there. I sat in quite a lot of traffic on the way there, contemplating the repercussions if the game were at Phillip O’Berry. I’m new to the area and have no idea where any of these places are, just that they’re about a half hour apart. At 5:30, I figured it would be longer and I had to get there early to get a nice filming perch.
I arrived at Garinger and after navigating a one-way circle speed bump infested asphalt moat, I approached a po-lice and three neon-yellow smockclad parking attendants. As no one made a move or eye contact to stop me from entering the lot I rolled by them. One yelled, I stopped. I rolled down my passenger-side window and he lectured me, “Sir, first I need you…if you ever see someone in one of these (tugging on his neon-yellow smock) to slow down and pay attention to that person.” Got that America? I said, “I’m sorry, sir. Is there a football game here tonight?” He had to ask the po-lice so I knew right away that there wasn’t a game, because the parking attendant would know such a thing. I bid him thank you and farewell and backed out to re-navigate the one-way circle speed bump infested asphalt moat. I then yanked the GPS down from it’s mount then tried to type in the address for the Phillip O’Berry Academy. I was distracted by some awful Pete Townshend singing on the radio. He sings very poorly sometimes. At some point I made this face:
I calmed down once I found out that it was only 8 miles to the other school, but I was still worried about traffic. It turns out that I got there about an hour early and was second in line to buy tickets. Like last week I had my own water and food in my backpack, but unlike last week I wasn’t allowed to even bring the backpack into the stadium. I had to walk back to the car, shovel in some Cheez-Its, and go get a spot. An odd thing that I noticed was that there were separate ticket booths for home fans and away fans. I don’t know why and didn’t care to find out. I got a prime spot in the last row at midfield on the home side filming right into the sun. I’m an idiot, lesson learned.
The field must be about two miles from the airport, it reminded me of Shea Stadium with low flying planes passing by every five minutes, even fighter jets! This game was not at the same skill level as last week’s. There were too many botched snaps to count, too many penalties, and not a lot of offense. It seemed like both teams just decided to throw the ball to practice it, because why the hell not. That may be fun to watch, but it makes a game take forever, because the clock is always stopped due to none of the passes being completed.
As a guy in the stands, there were some entertaining moments, though. Before the game, the band was coming off the field and the drum line formed an aisle to allow the cheerleaders to do a Soul Train line into the stands. Then, out of nowhere, the band played this at halftime. Two players got injured about three minutes apart, and both times the announcer told them to walk it off. Lastly, a pet peeve. In high school and in college at the start of the fourth quarter it’s a big deal for players to put four fingers in the air to acknowledge that it’s the last quarter, time to make it count. Shouldn’t it count every quarter? I’m not saying to put up one, two, and three fingers at the start of those quarters. I can understand a middle finger at the start of the game to set the tone, but I’d rather we just do away with all of the high school fingering.
Let’s go to the video tape: