:: The storm clouds are gathering* ::
Since Oct. 9, the first game of the Vancouver Canucks' season, I have made roughly $950 writing about them for one of my company's publications.
And though it's been just a month and a bit, and I've only been to 4 games live, it has been quite an experience. Press passes, press boxes, free popcorn, locker room access (Sorry Lanette, still no Bieksa picture) all kinds of behind-the-scenes stuff the regular person never gets to see. A few weeks ago, for example, Wayne Gretzky walked right past me in a hallway, and the game before that, I ended up getting my mug splashed on Sportsnet, after I walked behind an interview, and into the camera's frame.
So it's cool. But I don't feel like I technically "cover" the team, as other reporters do. It's just not in my job description. It's not my fulltime gig, however much I wish it was, so I don't foster relationships with anyone there, and all I ever have to write is 200 words on each game.
And that's what troubles me lately - the word count. I understand I can't write much longer than that - with the design of the publication, there isn't enough space on the page for more. But I'm a word guy - in my regular day job, I have the freedom to write basically as much as I want. I get beyond the score of a game, and can get into details, tell amusing stories, add in some good quotes, etc... But with this other thing, I can't.
Instead of telling you that Steve Bernier broke out of his slump and scored his fifth goal of the year after he chopped a knuckleball past the goalie, who wasn't paying attention; or instead of talking about what it meant for Pavol Demitra to come back strong against his old team with a goal and an assist, instead I tell you this:
"In the second period Steve Bernier scored his fifth of the season, while Demitra added one of his own."
That's it, that's all. No analysis, no insight. Just the facts.
Granted, I'm not actually complaining - the extra money's nice, getting to watch games live and for free is even better, and there's no way I'd ever voluntarily give up this gig, but sometimes I just wish I could write.
Thinking about my situation tonight, moments after I filed my 218-word opus on Vancouver's win over the Wild, I was reminded of 2 scenes from an episode of Sports Night, my all-time favourite show.
(The YouTube clips are longer than they need to be...in Clip 1, fast forward to 5:18, and in the second one, watch from 1:23 until 2:19. And the files aren't embedded in the blog because YouTube has that option disabled on these clips... sorry)
You gotta make it shorter (5:18-)
The storm clouds are gathering (1:23-2:19)
*Without watching the clips, only Mike will get this reference