Monday, June 13, 2011

The Master Plan

Afternoon everyone 

Well, well, well, what a crazy few days this has been and it'll only continue in recent light of the new stadium opening. 

So lets jump straight into it shall we. Thursday June 9th 2011 will be a date that'll live long in the memory of soccer fans in Kansas City. The opening of Sporing KC's brand new state of the art stadium 'Livestrong Sporting Park' was finally upon us. For me, it was months of waiting, for many fans, it was an absolute lifetime. The opening ceremony was spectacular, with fire works, promotional video's, build up songs, the national anthem and much more. Anything you could have wished for in the opening of a new stadium was there and i'd just like to take this opportunity in saying well done to everyone single person involved in game day operations, you were spectacular. I spent most of the week at the stadium with these guys until 2/3am, never had I been more prepared for a broadcast! 

It was an absolute honour to be there and to be apart of such a historic event. ESPN were there covering the game, so no TV appearance for me that evening, instead, I did the game on 810 Sports Radio (which I thoroughly enjoyed). The game was full of thrills and spills and in my opinion, Sporting were denied the perfect opening night in the new stadium when Omar Bravo was mauled to the ground by Ristic of Chicago Fire inside the penalty area. Ristic went through the back of Bravo, taking down the mexican, only for the ref to wave play on. I really do hope Major League Soccer take a look at this. I accept the fact that we are all human being and we are going to make mistakes, but I still have absolutely no idea how or why the ref did not call a penalty kick. I remember going absolutely barmy on the radio alongside Jake Gutierez, we were both absolutely astonished as to how there was nothing given. I also came very close to dropping the 'f word' as well, I was absolutely disgusted. 

Either way, it was a momentous and historic day for soccer in Kansas City, a day which I was very proud to be apart of and a day that'll live long in the memory. The one memory I have of the whole evening was watching the teams come out and watching Davy Arnaud fight back the tears as Ida Mcbeth sang the national anthem. I remember having a huge lump in my throat and thinking 'wow, i've only been here 11 weeks' but already I feel so attached to this club. I felt so happy for Davy because I knew this was the moment he'd waited his whole career for and just looking around at the fans singing the national anthem with such passion and pride. I get it guys, I really do get it and i'm absolutely honored and privileged to have been apart of it. Thank you. 

So after the game (which tied 0 - 0 for those in the UK) I made my way down to the press conference and then gave an interview myself to KCTV 5. After that I met up with a few people from the front office and had a couple of beers whilst signing autographs and sharing thoughts of the evening with several Sporting KC fans.

Friday, after 5 hours sleep, Dan and I headed into the office once again to concentrate on putting together the TV show for the upcoming road game in Dallas. However as the clock came to 4pm, we were all so tired, we left early and I finally spent a friday night in KC doing absolutely nothing; but it was so nice! 

The next day we flew to Dallas (still quite tired) but settled into the hotel quite nicely before finishing the script and research, then going out for a quick beer. I woke up on the Sunday morning with a strange feeling. This was the first broadcast we'd done on the Sunday, it felt very odd, but either way, we got on with it. So came the game, I must admit I did enjoy doing the game with David Dir, the guy seemed knowledgeable about MLS and comfortable on screen (which is always helpful). 

What a performace! Sporting played with so much confidence in the 2nd half, we desperately needed that result! Great performance from Zusi and a wonderful goal. Speaking of wonderful goal, how about that from Eric Hassli against Seattle! Josh Whisenhunt, Dan and I all screamed when we saw it live in a bar in Dallas. Unbelievable strike, i'll say it now, that is the MLS goal of the season. 

So my alarm went off at 3.30am this morning in Dallas, we eventually got to the airport and on our flight after some minor difficulties and caught our 6am flight to Kansas City. So here I am, 4.20pm in the afternoon, eating and drinking as many sugar products as possible in the office having spent all day working on voice overs for TV and prepping the radio show. On that note, i'm on 610 Sports Radio tonight from 7-8pm with Kansas City Star writer Charles Gooch. We'll be talking about the opening of LSP and the result at FC Dallas, speaking with Graham Zusi about THE goal and taking your phone calls as well. The number to get on air ........ 913-576-7610. 

See you there!




Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sunday Morning Call

Afternoon all

I sit here writing this to you from my new TV booth overlooking the glorious view of Livestrong Sporting Park. Just 2 days away! I can't quite believe its come around as quickly as it has. Only a few more tickets remain for the home opener, so if you haven't got yours yet, make sure you do asap!

So, the last time we spoke, we'd not long come back from Colorado. Well, the week after was an interesting one as we ventured into June. Once again the week was filled up with voice overs, TV interviews, research and more. We rather surprisingly had Monday off, so I made the most of the lie in (ish) and got up at 9.30 to watch the Championship play off final and see Swansea City secure promotion to the EPL.

Then after a bit of a chill out, Dan, Spence and I rather randomly ended up at the KC Royals baseball game. If i'm totally honest, I didn't really have a clue as to what was going on, but I understand they lost to the LA Angles. Our housemate Brian (B-Rob) joined us before the game, as I tailgated for the first time. For those in the UK, tailgating means parking up the car in the car park, opening the boot, sitting there and drinking beer (very good). So anyway, we proceeded to watch the game and perhaps drank a bit to much during the day as we met up with Adam (our other housemate), Blake (who works in the front office) and his wife in Westport. Never the less the week was busy as per usual as we prepped for our trip to Toronto, another city i'd never thought i've ever visit, I certainly didn't think i'd be calling a soccer game there!

The main highlight of the mid week prep for me was the phone in show on Wednesday evening. It was brilliant to have so many callers, for me, that is exactly how phone in's should be; it gives fans an opportunity to have their say. So thank you for making it such a great show guys, I really enjoyed it. The next show will be on Monday, June 13th, 7-8pm, Charles Gooch from the KC Star will be my co-host.

So we took off from KCI on Friday afternoon, sharing a small 80 man plane with the players and coaches. The flight was just under 2 hours and I have to say, it went very quickly for me as I spent the whole journey watching 'Long Way Down', my favorite documentary of all time. If you haven't had a chance to see it, i'd highly recommend it.

Toronto was a very cool place, very metropolitan (much like Kansas City) and very lively. The broadcasting team and I went out for a few beers that friday night before I met up with them at BMO field the next day. We'd taken one of our interns along for the trip, Spencer, who i've mentioned in these blogs before. His second road game of the season, he's very handy with a camera and lighting and he seemed to have a great time. So we got to the game, lets be honest, it was awful wasn't it. Not a great advertisement for MLS but a shut out was vital for confidence. I enjoyed working with Kristian Jack, a fellow englishman, who's enjoying life in Toronto, I look forward to seeing him when they come to Livestrong Sporting Park. Now some of you may have noticed the rather odd looking man behind my head in the final segment; let me explain. Basically, we had technical problems thanks to that guy you all saw behind my head. As Kristian and I came back on camera, we both couldn't here Chris (executive producer) at all, so after I asked Kristian the 4th question, I knew something was wrong because I'd not heard anything from Chris. So I basically guessed saying something along the lines of 'I wonder if we can look at the Sprint save of the game'. So up came the clip, i'm then off camera making it clear I can't hear anything. So this guy decides the fiddle with a few wires, then comes behind me and starts to mess with my earpiece. I remember saying to him 'you do know we are back on screen in 5 seconds' to which he didn't reply. Then, all of a sudden, BANG, we're on screen and I have some long haired guy bahind my head. After he left the shot, he then realized he hadn't plugged us in properly, so in actual fact, didn't need to come into view! Thanks mate!

Anyway, after another few beers in the evening to celebrate the end of the road trip, the Sunday morning call from hell came! After eventually getting to the airport after the highway had been shut down in Toronto, we were told to go to terminal 1, so, naturally thats where we parked. Only to find out that customs was at the other end of the airport! So Spence, Chris, Eric and I were lugging all this heavy TV equipment back and forth to get the carney signed. Then we had to carry it to another terminal because we were told we were in the wrong terminal. Eventually we got to check the bags and after filling in details and convincing them that I had a work visa, we eventually carried the bags through security and then got ourselves and our carry on's through security. We just about made the gate in time only to find out the flight was delayed! One of those days eh.

And so the madness begins. I'm writing this on Tuesday afternoon because I had a bit of spare time, but surrounding this has been absolute chaos with the new stadium opening! With that in mind, we have to film, cut, edit and produce the whole of our TV show on friday because we fly to Dallas on Saturday for the broadcast on Sunday, plus we have 'Off the Pitch' to record as well! Its been Ok for me, I just feel sorry for the guys who are actually opening the stadium, this week will be hell.

Anyway, if you do find yourself for some strange reason, not attending the game, i'll be live from 8.55pm on 810 Sports Radio with Jake Gutierez to bring you the whole game live.

See you all Thursday evening :-)