Monday, April 4, 2011

A new beginning

Morning all in the USA; afternoon to all in the UK

I haven't blogged for about 3 years now because I didn't really see the need to, but after countless requests to start up a blog, I have finally admitted defeat.

I guess I should start by first telling you all about my first few weeks in the USA. So, here it goes -

Week 1 -

After a HUGE traveling time of 19 hours, 4 airports (Birmingham, Dublin, Chicago O'Hare and Kansas City) and leaving my loved ones behind, I finally arrived in my new home. I was greeted by Chris (Chris Wyche - Executive producer and the guy who hired me) and Dan Drelich (honorary button presser, all round good guy and my new housemate). It was late, from memory I think it was about 9pm CT, but never the less I was aware that there was some sort of 'meet and greet' with the fans and players in the city center in the evening, so, fresh off the plane we drove down to Johny's Tavern where I was introduced to what seemed about 50,000 people. I was soon greeted with a pint (which went down very nicely) and a humungous piece of pizza. After a couple of hours of chat with Sporting KC fans, I went back to the house for the first time with Dan and met up with my other 2 new house mates, Adam and Brian. Its safe to say, I slept like a baby.

My first day in the office came after an early wake up call, I was suited and booted (which i'd later regret after receiving lots of abuse) and ready for action. The week progressed fast and I spent most of that time at Swope Park training ground (Sporting KC's training facility) and back in the downstairs studio doing voice overs for the show and commercials. I was taken around the new stadium as well, which is gorgeous! I also managed to fit in a shopping trip to the local super market where I managed to buy food, a razor and a hair dryer....... exciting times. I also fitted in a night out on St.Patrick's day with my housemates and one of our interns (who's turned out to be a good mate); Spencer.

I must admit, that whole week was a struggle to stay awake and adjusting to the time change really did knock me about. So what did we do to make it better....... we traveled to another time zone. We landed in LA on Friday afternoon and I was immediately eating an 'in n out' burger (another healthy option). I must admit, I really didn't feel good on that evening, during rehearsals I was very quite and very, very tired. However, we went to get a bite to eat and had some sort of wrap which was nice, that made me feel better and rehearsals were Ok after that. So I woke up on Saturday morning feeling by no means 100%. Sasha and I arrived at the Home Depot Center around 3ish and Sasha took me on a tour of the stadium. We got to the broadcast eventually, I think it was obvious I was very tired and hosting a show was new to me. In the UK, i'd done TV before, but it was stuff like, attending press conferences and asking questions and doing features, but i'd never hosted a show before. So anyway, we got through the pre game show with a lot of technical issues, then came the call of the game, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I think Sasha and my call of the game came down very well with people and I believe a certain piece of 'mexican magic' pleased people. Traveling back to KC was tiring, we left at 6am but got back mid afternoon where Dan and I proceeded to play FIFA.

Week 2 -

Much of the same during the week, lots of voice overs were done, bits and bobs of research, the attending of practice at Swope Park. We also live streamed the first practice of Chad Ochocinco (NFL wideman), who was on trial with the club. We did a short interview with him after which was the subject of international interest, I believe we had over 8,000 viewers on that Monday morning. I gave about 3/4 interviews during the week to local press who were eager to here my story, very strange being interviewed when its usually you asking the questions. We traveled up to Chicago on the Friday leaving Spencer to catch the bus and endure a 10 hour journey...... ouch! I really liked Chicago, very cool city, just the kind of atmosphere I like. We got to the stadium, which was nice, were then treated to some lunch by the very tired Spence. Sasha and I pre recorded some of the Sunday evening show whilst Chris Wyche's daughter, Tasha, (who'd joined us for the trip) watched on. We got to the broadcast and I have to say, I felt a lot more comfortable in front of camera. We did the show and after Sporting's first loss of the season occurred, thanks to a 'moment of individual brilliance' from Marco Pappa we went back to the hotel but soon went out to sample the night life in Chicago. We'd had a couple of beers but soon we all felt very tired and went to bed at about 1AM. We believe our other assistant producers Eric and Craig (who will be starting up their own blog soon) stayed out and we had to laugh at Craig the following morning who looked like a lost puppy.

Week 3 -

Once again the week started with the word 'Ochocinco' on the edge of everyone's lips. We live streamed his first reserve game for the club and had several guests on the broadcast. The likes of defender Matt Besler, forward C.J. Sapong and youth team blogger (and my housemate) Adam Zydroik. Another 14/15 hour day passed by and it was made clear that Chad Ochocinco wasn't good enough to make the cut. Fair play to the guy, he had a dream and tried to follow it, but he just wasn't good enough. The rest of the week saw me mostly read up on notes and research the Vancouver Whitecaps (the weekends opponents). Some more voice overs followed as well as another press conference and training session at Swope Park. I also seemed to be receiving a huge amount of abuse for my accent during the week as well. Everyone in the office has been great, very welcoming and helpful, but they don't hold back when abusing a Brit! Thursday saw me travel over to the new stadium 'Livestrong Sporting Park' as the local TV station KCTV 5 wanted to interview me. I was interviewed by the local news anchor Bradley Stephens, who was a really nice guy. I think it airs on Thursday or Friday in KC. Dan, Adam and I went out for a few beers on the evening as Adam's brother was visiting. Friday morning we loaded the equipment into the cars with the help of Justin (one of our team members), Spence and our other intern Emmanuel (the candy man).

We flew down to Dallas, then up to Vancouver, what a long flight that was, but football manager, music, a Charley Boorman documentary and my iPhone kept me entertained. Vancouver was a really cool place, lots of action. It was my first time in Canada, we went for a bite to eat and a few beers around the city and met up with our camera man Jake and the kit man Mike, who had rather randomly bumped into a group of people from Kazakhstan. Anyway, we got to the stadium the day after and I have to say, for a temporary facility, it was very nice. We got in front of the camera and started the show, once again, I felt so much more comfortable then I did in the first week, I was also a lot more well rested! We think the show was our best yet and we really enjoyed our time up in Vancouver, its just a long 5 hour flight! I think the less I talk about the game, the better. We'll leave that for when we're on air. We managed to squeeze in a beer or two in the evening. Dan, Jake, Mike, Sasha and I hit the town before a 4.30AM wake up call and a long flight home. Dan and I finally got home, late in the afternoon, we went for BBQ ribs, I had burnt ends for the first time. Its safe to say, they went down very, very well.

Week 4 -

So today, week 4 starts, didn't go to training today because I believe there is a press conference tomorrow which I always enjoy. Plus, i've been working on this for you lot! Hope its lived up to expectations, not sure what i'm going to do yet, maybe a weekly blog, or I mat blog once every couple of days. I believe you can let me know your thoughts on this website, so if you can, please feel free, if not, i'm on @calwilliams2011 on Twitter.



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