Sept. 23, 2004
Have you ever been sitting in the stands at a Florida State football game at Doak Campbell Stadium and looked up to the press box and wondered what was going on up there? Well, wonder no more because today, all of your questions will be answered as the sports information department presents “Game Day in the life of a Sports Information Intern.”
My name is Melissa Barnett and I am a student intern in the Florida State sports information office and this is my story – my “Game Day” story that is.
As I walked to Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday nearly three and half hours before kick-off, I saw tailgaters enjoying a burger straight off the grill and washing it down with, let’s just say, a cold beverage. It is then, that I realized there are few people who really know all it takes for those same tailgaters to be able to read stories the very next day (and now even the same day online) about their mighty Seminoles who have battled against such foes as the Tigers, the Gators and the Tar Heels, oh my! So, I am here to share a little of my “behind-the-scenes” knowledge about Game Day in the Florida State press box.
Upon my arrival in the press box on the ninth floor of University Center Building C Saturday, my work began immediately by moving tables and setting up chairs for the press lunch that would be served before the game. Another experienced intern, Lauren Segal, and I then headed down to the bottom floor to man the Press Will Call entrance near Gate D. This is where members of the press pick up credentials and photo passes for the game. Here we get to meet distinguished members of the press and talk a little football with the security guard stationed at the door. After a long hour and a half stint, we were finally relieved by another set of interns that would work until right after kick-off.
As we headed back up in the elevator that was now packed with boosters and press members going to their respected floors, I wondered what the weight limit on the elevator was as it gave a little lurch as we stopped on the 7th and 8th floors. When we safely got to the press area, we headed straight for the press lunch that was provided. This week it was lasagna and Caesar salad with a brownie for dessert.
With lunch in hand, we found a seat with sports information staff members Lauren Williams, Elliott Finebloom and Tina Thomas and watched the end of the LSU and Auburn game (Go Tigers!), again where we talked a little football and a little this and that. With a little more than an hour remaining before kick-off, we started showing press members to their seats, told the rookie interns what game day is like and what their duties would be.
As you can see, by the time the fans are in your seats with soda and hot dog in hand watching the great Osceola thrust his flaming spear into mid-field, a press box intern’s work day is well underway. As kickoff drew nearer, the interns found an empty seat in the press box, which are not often available, and prepared to watch the game in an emotion-free atmosphere. Because it is a working press box, there is no cheering allowed. But the fun doesn’t stop here. At the end of each quarter, the interns run, not walk, statistics to the television booths. For the UAB game, it was ESPN2 on the 8th floor and Sunshine Network on the 9th floor, to the home and visitor radio booths, all the media on press row (three levels), the home and visitor Athletic Directors suites – all on the 9th floor – and to the Associated Press darkroom, which is actually located underneath the stadium all of the way on the other side of Doak.
It is my job to run to the A.P. darkroom which is located between sections 7 & 8 and 8 & 9 on the ground floor in the student section. I am the one who has been chosen to battle the throngs of people who descend to quench their thirst and to obey their rumbling stomach. As I fought my way to my destination, I remembered why I don’t mind being in the press box as I realized the heat of 85,000 people sitting in a virtual oven. I delivered my stats and returned to the air conditioned safety of the press box only to repeat this three more times during the game.
During the fourth quarter, the interns began to collate the first through third quarter stats for a packet that will be completed once the game is over and the final stats are provided. After the game, we began to collate the game stats into books that are handed to the press so that they may complete their stories and make their deadlines. So we collate and we collate and we collate and then we collate some more. Have I mentioned we have to collate? Well we do a lot of collating but it is for the greater good of the Seminoles so we do it and we like it. Once the press members had stat books, game notes, and coaches and players quotes, that are all provided by sport information personnel, our day was just about done and we began to leave. It was around 11:30 p.m. So some of us went home and some us went to relax with well, let’s just say a cold beverage.
So, I hope the next time fans are watching a broadcast or reading a story written by their favorite sportswriter, they will remember this one intern’s day and that statistics don’t just appear out of thin air and photos don’t just take themselves, but that there are some very dedicated people working so that many may enjoy the Florida State Seminoles! Also the next time you see me running through the stadium, with stats in hand, if you could clear a little path it would be appreciated. Thanks!