Friday, November 19, 2010

Flashback Friday # 114

Taping The Football Team

Greetings one and all. Allow me to rewind history. Let's cue up the scene selection. In short, we get to look at the time where I, and my friend Juan Gorillis, got to be the guys up in the press box.

It started innocently enough. We were approached by the Jr. high football coach mainly (I think) because we were the only guys big enough to play that weren't. He wanted to know if we would want to tape the 8th grade football games so the team could review them later in the week. The high school kid who was doing it would be starting an after school job, and would be unable to tape the final three games. We got permission from our parents, and got the position.

Our first day we met at the high school field for our instructor to show up. Our Jr. high didn't have a football field of it's own, so the Jr. High played during the week, when the High School team wasn't using the field.

Our instructor was an 11th grader who was in the Media Club. He helped us tote the equipment up into the press box. We set up the camera on a tripod and set the recorder on a table. This was not a VHS recorder. This was an old reel-to-reel recorder (this was 1978). Once the film was fed through the recorder, we were ready to go. One of us would run the camera, while the other watched the film to make sure it didn't tangle or jam. As soon as he showed us how everything worked, he left. He said he would be back near the end of the game to help take everything back into the school.

While we were waiting for the game to start, I looked out toward the road. A Sheriff's Deputy had pulled a car over. It looked like it was Sir Gattabout. It WAS Sir Gattabout. (Sorry this is out of chronological order, I just remembered this the other day) I whipped the camera around and we did out visual quality check on his traffic stop. There was no audio to this set up. Good thing because we were a couple of jabber jaws.

Once the game started, we commenced to filming. I would run the camera for a quarter, then Juan would trade off. This way we both got to run both pieces of equipment. Near the end of the game, we looked like we were going to have a problem. It looked like we were going to run out of tape, and there wasn't an extra to install.

Almost as soon as we began to fret about this, out instructor showed back up. We told him our concerns. He didn't understand why that would happen. Then he asked if we had turned the tape off in between plays. Turn the tape off in between plays??? NOBODY had said anything about doing that !!! Immediately we began doing that, but to no avail. Shortly after we ran out of tape, the opposing team scored, ruining the shutout. After the game we took everything back in, but we didn't tell the coach that we ran out of tape.

He found out during the tape session with the team. He pulled us aside and instructed us in the way more perfectly. He didn't appreciate the traffic stop at the beginning either (oops, we forgot to rewind that). The breakdown in the defense was forever lost since we didn't catch it on tape because we had run out.

The following week, we arrived to do our job again. We knew what to do and how to correctly do it. We were determined not to mess up. There was only one problem, Our media instructor failed to show. No equipment, no key to the press box, no way home until after the game. Now what? We were pressed into service doing the down marker and measurement chains on the sidelines. Two fat boys running back & forth onto the field to measure and up & down following the ball was enough to gas us.

The following week everything clicked in place. We filmed the game (the WHOLE game) and did a good job of it. The only problem was, it was the last game. Now that we figured everything out, the season was over. Both Juan and I joined the Media Club when we got to High School.

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