Season Opener vs UNM, Sept. 1st, Dreamstyle Stadium
I had no idea what to except. I had not been to a practice all summer. And If I’m being honest, I didn’t want to broadcast this season. I wanted to spend my Saturday’s with Jax. However, the trade for broadcasting college football in exchange for free grad school I still could not pass up.
The charter flight left Friday. I bought my own ticket to fly out Saturday morning due to a work conflict. My new job doesn’t allow the luxury of making my own schedule like last season. After I switched planes, I arrived at my destination. I used my phone to order a Lyft. The driver had a welcoming setup in the backseat. A tray of mints sat in the middle of the backseat, (I took advantage of the butterscotch). Hand sanitizer and tissue were a arm lengths away. The little trash can kept the floorboard clean of wrappers. The driver worked at Car Wash and was let off early due to the weather. He had been driving Lyft for 3 weeks. Instead of taking the clouds that covered the surrounding mountain view, I contemplated leaving a tip.
Brian was sitting in the lobby. He was surrounded by his wife and probably parents of the players would be my guess. It was good to see him. It was even better that he asked,
“Hey, you’re flying back with us, right?”
That told me Cari, who is the knew Zach, was on it, as far as communicating information.
I ran into coach going up the elevator. I asked him about his emotions going into his first colligate game as a head coach as if I was doing an assessment on a client. Coach his “Rocky” face on. Something told me coach’s mind was racing.
As I walked into the hotel room I threw my bags on the bed closest to the door. Chris was checking the football scores. I order an overpriced burger (which was worth every penny,) from room service and Chris and I talked about this year’s team. Three o’clock came around and we met the team in the back of the hotel to depart to the stadium.
Down stairs, a hallway leading to the back door led us to three buses. The buzz of opening season danced in harmony throughout the narrow hallway. I gave a nod to the “new Zach,” to let her know I was there and she nodded back as if to communicate to me: I know you’re here, I obviously see you. I saw coach. He poured himself a cup water, from a table that clearly stated break staff only. As I watched everyone buzz with excitement for the game, my feet back peddled inch-by-inch until my backpack leaned against the wall. Brian was talking and smiling with a group of alumni. Cari was walking around with a note pad, as if she had a list of small tasks to do before we departed for Dreamstyle Stadium. The camera guy, who should have been Anthony, (but that’ an entirely different story.) was strolling around like he was back in the hood. But at least he was comfortable. Chris saved me by asking if I wanted to go save our seats on the bus.
One of the first things I love to do when I get to a stadium is set foot on the field. It’s like a safe space. I take a few steps on the synthetic blades of grass and took a 360 view of the stadium. There is just something about being on the field. It just feels right. Much like the press box, which literally a hamster aquarium. You have your privacy, but the walls are all glass. In every direction you are visible to the other teams’ staff. The IT and SID are always cool. My counterpart asked for name pronunciations for some of our players. I nodded my head a lot. I had no idea if he was pronouncing the names correctly.