Thursday, March 20, 2008

No Waiting Lines

I think one of the most interesting things about covering the NCAA tournament is the lack of lines for the women's restrooms. Finally! I'm not sure what it's like in the arena for the fans watching the game, but I have yet to wait in line for a restroom in the media area since I've gotten here.

Aside from that, Duke fans are out in force today. Other teams have a bevy of supporters as well...I'm sure you can see the sea of colors while you're watching the game. News crews are also a bit more stressed out today because there are a lot of restrictions to what we can shoot inside the arena when the games are playing. Plus, the video feeds to our equipment aren't also the best, so there are a lot of worries about video and audio glitches. But, all in all, everyone is very excited about the first round games.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Open Practice Day

I got up early to get on the media shuttle and head to the Verizon Center to pick up my media credentials. But, the shuttle never came. So, today basically consisted of several trips via Metro to haul all of the equipment to the media center. At least I don't have to go to the gym this week.

Duke didn't start their open practice until after 4 p.m. By then, the seats were filled with a good number of Duke fans. The team practices are free and open to the public, which means it's a great chance for fans to see their favorite players and coaches up close. The cost of a ticket to an actual NCAA game is $237, according to the box office personnel. One family I spoke with spent $700 for the three of them to watch the games over the next few days.

One thing I did notice is that many of the Duke fans live near Washington, DC and have no affiliation with the school except for being a fan of the basketball team. The other thing I noticed is that the basketball players are a LOT taller than me, so I was very thankful that the locker room interviews are conducted sitting down…that actually puts them at my height level.

The television news crews are stationed in a room located right next to the arena, but the lighting in there is terrible. It feels like we're on the set of a horror movie, but I suppose it's better editing in dimmer settings.

The game tips off Thursday evening at 7:10 p.m. and I look forward to watching my first live NCAA game.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Traveling around DC

Just a quick note before all the March Madness begins:
City blocks in Washington DC are much bigger than the ones in New York City. I tried walking from the media hotel to the Verizon Center this afternoon when I got in. It's about 8 blocks on the map, which I thought would take me about 10 minutes. But, it definitely took longer than that. I'm hoping they have some sort of media shuttle because lugging all that camera gear up and down the Metro won't be fun. And, I don't plan on trying to walk it either.

Media have already started to arrive because I'm seeing camera crews going up and down the elevators with me. Plus, there are a few live trucks set up outside the Verizon Center already. All the fun starts tomorrow morning when we file in to get our credentials and figure out how to operate for the next few days.

I'm also keeping my eyes peeled for any Duke fans walking around the city. I haven't seen anyone wearing the sweatshirts or caps yet, but I'm sure they'll be out in full force tomorrow.

More to come...