Just One Of The Guys
Meant to update the journal the past couple of nights but we have been quite busy. In addition to attending both practices each day (the North Team practices in the morning – the South Team in the afternoon), Steve has been attending the evening press conferences where both head coaches and a player from each team are present.
This has really been some experience for me and of course for Steve. As a credentialed media person, Steve gets to be down at sideline level (they are required to stay back behind the fencing) where he gets to better hear and see more of the interaction between the players and coaches. He also gets access to the field when practice ends to talk to players and coaches. Since I’m not credentialed, I attend just as a regular fan, getting to sit anywhere in the stands. Fans can attend all of the practices for free. If you’ve looked at the Senior Bowl page here on Fanspeak, you may have looked at some of the daily practice photos. One of my jobs here has been to take those photos.
The excitement of being here is not just because we have had the opportunity to see some incredibly talented athletes – but also because we have been able to get up close to some of the biggest names associated with the NFL. Coaches, scouts and front office folks from every NFL team are here. We’ve even seen some folks from the Canadian Football League. In addition, there are player agents making the rounds as well as other notables such as the head of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith. But the really fun thing about it is that many of these people are not confining themselves to the credentialed area. A lot of the coaches are up in the stands with the fans. Presumably, they are trying to get a better view of the action, but often you see them visiting with other coaches or past associates.
The neat thing for the fan is that they get to see these guys just being themselves, not as some untouchable celebrity. And one of the things I’ve been most impressed with is how many of these guys are so friendly and accommodating to the fans. A lot of kids, young and old, will approach them for autographs or pictures and for the most part, they willingly oblige. I have to say, as one who can be quite cynical about celebrities in general, I have been pleasantly surprised by how most of these guys don’t seem to be caught up in their celebrity status. It’s refreshing!