2021 BTT I: Going Back To Blogger
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I'm gonna blog it. I'm not a writer these next few days, I'm not a reporter - I'm going back to blogger. Just like the 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl or Camp Rantoul 2013, I'm going to put the long posts aside and try to post five things per day. With Roman numerals.
OK, yes, it's in my head now too so I'll just type it out to remove it.
I'm going back to blogger, to blogger, to blogger
I'm going back to blogger... I don't think so
I'm simply going to do what I used to do when taking vacation days to cover something Illini. Write from the moment I arrive until the moment I leave. Maybe it's audio, maybe it's video, maybe it's just a short post about something, but I don't have anything else to do so why not just spam you with content. Starting with yet another "A Rule Follower In King Arthur's Court" story.
When I say I follow rules, I Follow. Rules. I'm sure I come off as a bit Karen-y, but I've never asked to see the manager in my life (not once). I simply ask questions to establish the rules so I can follow them. Receiving rules brings me great comfort. The boundaries are established and I'm free to operate within them.
As I've written before, media seating charts during Covid are my jam. When there was someone it my seat at both Michigan State and Wisconsin, my brain went haywire. 98% of humans just say "I guess they're not too worried about their Covid protocols - I'll just sit anywhere". I'm in the 2% who asks where to sit so that I'm not violating any distancing/disinfecting protocols they may have set up.
So what's my first question every time I arrive at an arena? "Where do I go?" Give me the rules. Some places have a seating chart right at that entry desk with a map of how to get there, some just point you in a direction. There was no seating chart down there today, so the woman today directed me to the media work room/cafeteria. I went there. The woman there said there was no seating chart but to go down to the media seats on the baseline (in the photo above you can see those seats kind of behind the scoreboard in my shot). I walk down there and the woman directs me to the seating chart. Doesn't have my name.
But I do notice that the chart is mostly all Maryland, MSU, Ohio State, and Minnesota media. So this must be a session thing. Makes sense. Morning session media get these seats, everyone else sits somewhere else. I remember reading that "overflow" seating was up in the football pressbox, so I ask her where that is and she directs me up here.
This takes me back to where I entered the building, so now my efficiency brain takes over like I'm watching Illinois punt into the wind. The "wouldn't it have been easier..." part of my brain. The topic in my head today: "wouldn't it have been easier if the woman giving me my credential would have a chart where she could direct me where to go? I walked from the southwest corner of this football stadium to the media workroom on the south end, to the baseline media seats on the east sideline and now back to the southwest corner again just to take the elevators and go up to the top." I don't think it would be that hard to just have a chart that says "if you're one of these people, go to the baseline; if you're anyone else, go up to the football pressbox".
But again - I'm guessing that most of these things are just inherent to other reporters. I'm trying to find out the rules and others are likely just doing whatever they choose. From here I can see nine open media seats on the baseline. I'm guessing just about every other reporter, when getting directed to the floor by someone in the media room, would see their name not on the chart, see a bunch of open seats, and just sit in one of them. But not Ruley McBoatface here. I head up to the pressbox.
While heading there - again, Ruley McBoatface - I'm walking in the "eastbound lanes" of the concourse. They have signs all over the floor (and a big dashed line down the middle) to keep people going east over here and people going west over there. And, of course, no one is following the guidelines.
Do you "whatever" people know how hard you make it on us rule-followers? All you have to do is walk over there, and there's a sign every 10 feet telling you to please walk over there to maintain social distancing, and here you are, walking westbound in the eastbound lanes, four wide. And I'm spinning like Curbelo in the lane trying to maintain my distancing and follow the rules.
I get to the elevators, ride up to the pressbox (re-reading the media rules for the BTT as I ride), get off the elevator, ask about seating, and am told there's no seating chart. That works. Overflow is overflow and I'll sit anywhere.
But then I get to the seats are there are names assigned to each spot, so there must be a seating chart. I go back to the top and the usher has discovered the seating chart himself. I look for my name - nothing. He asks to see my credential, I show it to him, and now the real panic sets in. Illinois isn't playing today - uh, am I supposed to be here? I wanted to cover these games from every angle, and I really wanted to write about how our opponent looks (Rutgers or Indiana), but if my name isn't anywhere, am I supposed to stay home until "my" team is playing? Or is it just "media for this session get the baseline, a few of them are sent upstairs if there's no room, and the rest sit in overflow seats?"
I read the media policies for the 4th time. If there's a "please stay home until the team you are covering is playing" I might scream out loud. But there's not. Whew. So I choose a seat without a name placard in front of it. I have found my correct spot, even though it's 441 yards from the court.
(But, since I'm me, I send an email to the Big Ten media guy just to make sure I'm following all protocols by sitting here. No response yet. My brain won't fully rest until I get a response. Still a slight chance I was supposed to stay home until tomorrow.)
One last time: most everyone in the world can adapt. If the staff at the entrance isn't instructed to direct you to the right location, no one can get mad at you if you sit in the wrong spot. That's on them. I'm guessing nearly everyone reading this just sits in an empty baseline media seat until directed to move. And if asked to move says "sorry, the woman in the media workroom told me to sit down here".
Not Ruley McBoatface. ESPECIALLY during Covid. Ruley convinces himself that he's not supposed to be here even though they let him in the door.