Friday, November 20, 2009

So This Is What It's Like To Be a Traveling Broadcaster

First of all, say hello to post number 1000! Irrelevant to most of you, and I understand. Thanks for your support.

Anyway - HELLO from Boston! It's been a long day.

It started this morning, as most days do. We said good-bye to my niece Kristy, who headed back to Alabama with her daughter Evelyn, and dog Grim. Over the next few hours, I frantically prepped for the weekends Mount Saint Mary games, fully aware that I wouldn't have anywhere else to print things. Fortunately I had packed a few days earlier, but the pleasant weather (over 60 degrees in New York) made me rethink my sweater in favor of a short-sleeved (!) polo shirt.

I had to be at the Mount by Noon to catch the bus, and pulled in around 11:45 - a good 45 minutes later than I wanted, but situations caused the delay. Still, I was on the bus - second row back - when we departed. For many on the team, this was the first time they were getting a look at me, and I heard at least one "who's that?"

The women's team chose to watch "Transformers 2" on the way here - it wouldn't have been my choice, and head coach Randy Ognibene turned to me early on and told me to let him know when Megan Fox was on the screen. Otherwise he saw no redeeming value in the movie. I know my Sean loves it, but yeah, I can't disagree. It's marginally entertaining at best.

By the way, it really hurt me to watch Sean pull away on the bus this morning. I won't get to spend my birthday with him, and he's just not ready for a trip like this yet. This whole single father thing can be mighty painful at times.

The bus ride was otherwise uneventful. We pulled into Boston a little over three hours after we left Newburgh, and Coach Ognibene handed me my room key, along with that of my broadcast partner, Christine Baker (the potential star in the making). An hour later, we walked over to the gymnasium inside the Jean Yawkey Center for practice.

Yes, Jean Yawkey. As in Boston Red Sox. I know - irony. Want more? The famous Citgo sign is within site of my hotel (The Inn at Longwood Medical Center).

I decided to leave practice about midway through. I had seen enough of the gym to know what I needed to know, and felt like my work was done. I know the team and I need to bond, and that will come. They seem like a nice group, but I hadn't eaten a true meal since Thursday night at the Hall of Fame banquet, so it was time to go.

Problem was, I wouldn't eat for another three hours.

My goals upon leaving were a) find dinner and b) get to Radio Shack to pick up a headphone splitter - one that would hopefully allow Christine and I hear through both ears in our headsets.

I walked...up to a Best Buy (that was hopeless) near Fenway Park. I walked past Fenway (didn't say a word, but thought a few things, including "2009 World Champion New York Yankees"), but chose to remember the wonder of calling the Renegades game there in 2008. I kept walking, past gorgeous houses on Commonwealth Ave. I walked past some of Boston's various colleges. I walked to the Prudential Center, where I thought I might get dinner, but refused to pay $7.00 for two slices of pizza and a soda. I kept walking, until I found the "T" (Boston's subway). Then I realized I should have kept walking, because the wait for the "T" was nuts. I jumped off the "T" a few stops later and walked right back to my hotel.

I didn't necessarily know where I was walking, but I have a good instinct for this stuff.

I popped into my hotel and hit the Net to find that a Radio Shack wasn't that far away. So I resumed walking, to Brookline, where I found the elusive Shack. I purchased my wares, found a local grocery store for a Sam Adams (wanted a Gritty McDufff's but it wasn't cold), and stopped by a Subway for a five...five dollar...five dollar foot long meatball marinara.

I resumed my walk back to the hotel, lonely but focused on making it to my room and finally having something to eat. Throughout the night, I admired the number of couples out for the night. I noticed the number of fashionable ladies making their way home from work, or on their way to get their drink on.

Boston is a very smart, well-dressed town. Could I live here? Sure, despite the fans, though that would be a consideration.

As for me, I was going back to the room, and wondering if I shouldn't have just stayed with the team and had dinner in the first place. Oh well.

If there's insult to add to injury, I returned to the room to find that the adapter that I bought at Radio Shack didn't do what I had hoped. Yet who is to complain? I'm in Boston - one of the US's great cities, prepping to do what I love the most.

There are worse ways to spend a Friday night.

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