Monday, November 8, 2010

They are called broadcast rights, not sideline rights

     Sometimes I am tasked with covering high-profile events like NCAA sports events. Sometimes the teams I cover find themselves in the national spotlight. Regardless of that spotlight there are always people who don't belong at the event pretending they are a big-time sports photographer.
     Let's imagine you are an insurance adjuster. You go off to work and look at shit to determine how little money your company will give the poor sap who's been paying you for the last 30 years for exactly this moment. Let's also say jewing people out of what they rightly deserve is also a hobby of mine. I think that I'm just as good, if not better, at insurance adjusting than you are and I've been to a few seminars, so I obviously have enough training to be dangerous. Now let's say you head off to work to do some insurance adjusting and there are 65 other idiots just like me there to look at some guy's crashed car with you.
     There is no doubt someone is going to get in your way. It's all good though, you are a professional and you know how to carry yourself and move around so you don't have to be a prick to too many people and can still do your job well.
     Now, let's say it's Jay Leno's wrecked Bugatti Veyron and there are twice as many people as usual and a team of high-profile national idiots. This was Saturday's NCAA football game for me.
    I will start by saying I don't have anything against ABC tv, I have EVERYTHING against them. I was pissed with how they treated Adam Lambert and I don't really like their parent company, Disney, very much. In fact ABC is locked out of my cable box.
     Now to Saturday's NCAA football contest against the Yosemite Sam Ripoffs and the Yellow Bellied Pussy Cats.
     The Ripoffs' home sidelines are crowded with what I call NEPs (Non-Essential Personnel). There are people standing around with their hands in their pockets on the sidelines just watching football. Generally these people get out of your way because they realize you have a job to do. I also kneel most of the time, so I don't really block many people's views. Then there are myriad people who have other careers which pay them well enough to buy VERY expensive camera equipment so they can shoot NCAA sports on weekends and give the photos to two-bit wire services and drive down the price of high-value photography. After that there are straight-up hobbiests who just give the photos back to the team for the right to clog up space on the sidelines. Neither of the people in these groups knows there is a sideline on the other side of the field. Next time you watch a football game on tv and you see a whole wide shot on the field, look at the home sidelines from the first-down marker to the endzone. You will see a large crowd, 5-10% of those dipshits you see in the crowd are actually doing something productive.
    Because the contest between the Ripoffs and the Pussy Cats was so high profile, ABC tv bought the broadcast rights to the game. ABC came in early and put fixed pan cameras all over the place and also had a crew of mobile, shoulder mounted cameras roving quadrants on the sidelines. These shoulder-mounted cameras are tethered to a live-broadcast semi truck with a ton of broadcast equipment and an asshole director watching a wall of televisions showing what every camera sees and yelling like an idiot at everyone. The director is usually a badass, and a total prick during the broadcast. I started in tv when I was 11, so I know what I'm talking about here.
    One of the guys toting his shoulder-mounted camera happened to be so insecure in his manhood that he needed a Sheriff's deputy to escort him around the field. I'm sorry, but if you're so much of a pussy that you need a cop to help you do your job, maybe you're doing something wrong.
     I move a lot during games and listen to the game on the radio for another perspective, so I'm generally in a bit of an adrenaline-clouded tunnel. At some point during the second half I moved myself to the corner of the endzone because it looked like the Ripoffs were going to score. Well, Mr. Vagasaurus Rex shoulder-mount camera douche and Deputy Dan all of a sudden figure this out and rush to get into position. Turns out my position was one of the best. Funny how your insight gets so good when you cover a team playing and practicing for 2 years. So the Vagasaur decides he wants my spot and instructs Deputy Dan to move me.
     I don't know what fantasy land Dan lives in, but where I come from police have no authority to move me from a football sideline if I'm minding my own business. He taps me on the shoulder, I ignore him. One is frequently bumped on sidelines. Dan tries to talk to me, something about, "you need to move so this guy can get your spot." Without looking up from the field, I reply that I am less concerned about performing a penetrative sexual act than I am about who Vagasaurus Rex works for. If the Vagasaur would like my spot, he better get there first next time. The ball is snapped and heavy guys smash into each other in a padded testosterone-fueled quasi homo-erotic symphony of flying man meat.
     After the play is dead a very angry Deputy Dan rushes over to me to explain to me how things work in the poorly-educated La-La Village he comes from. I interject here that I have a minor in criminology and extensive training in police and media interactions and other than the fact that I'm not sadly overweight I am more qualified to be a police officer than Dan is.Dan tells me that since the Vagasaur's company paid millions of dollars for the right to be at this event I should place is Mickey-Mouse penis in my mouth at every request and if I'd rather not have the "privilege" of being on the sidelines he can make that happen.
     I explained to Deputy Dan that I was there doing a job, just like he was, and so were many of the people around me and what did he think about them being there. The only thing I did wrong was utter an expletive and last I checked using harsh language was not something which is frowned upon at a football game.
     So, to Deputy Dan I apologize: I'm sorry I put you in a situation where you felt you had to act, yet were powerless. I'm sorry you are poorly trained and highly paid from my pocket, you're welcome for the overtime pay. Face it, Sometimes people have more knowledge about what is allowed than you do and using intimidation tactics won't always work.
     To the Vagasaurus Rex and ABC tv: I still "Don't give a FUCK who you are."

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