Who Wants to Hear Sidney Crosby?
It took a few weeks for the excitement to wear off when I found out I would be writing for the Vancouver Canucks.
Actually, who am I kidding...I don't think the excitement ever wore off! Someone told me one of the unwritten rules about sports journalism is to try and maintain a level of objectivity, especially when you're in the press box. Actively cheering for your favorite team is considered a no-no.
I broke that rule a buncha times.
I think all journalists who cover hockey are fans first, journalists second. They probably all go home at night and pinch themselves to wake up from the dream of covering their favorite NHL team.
I know I did.
I always tried to keep the ideal of being a fan first in everything I did. Writing a standard Associated Press recap wasn't much fun, I tried to write from the perspective of a true fan because I definitely wasn't a journalist, I was just a guy who got to blog for his favorite team.
One day I was up in the press box all by myself after the Canucks had wrapped up their game day skate working on the team blog, uploading pictures and writing a preview for that night's game.
A couple days earlier I received notification from the NHL Media Relations team that Sidney Crosby would be available on a conference call for media outlets across North America. Conference calls were a good opportunity for numerous writers to have access to players and ask any questions they wanted.
I didn't have any questions to ask Crosby but I dialed in to the conference call out of curiosity, and because I was always a fan first and I thought hearing Crosby on the phone would be pretty cool!
Anyone who has a question for the player has to state their name and their affiliation before speaking. I stayed quiet and just listened on speaker phone.
A few minutes into the call a group of elementary school kids and their teachers came into the press box area where I was sitting, they were on field trip from their school touring Rogers Arena.
One of the teachers saw me and assumed I was busy working so she asked the kids to go the other direction. In a spur of the moment decision, I blurted out....'It's no problem, hey...who wants to hear Sidney Crosby?'
They all just kind of turned and looked at me.
I told them Sidney Crosby is on the phone right now...who wants to hear him?
In unison they all shouted out... 'ME, I DO!!!'
I explained that Crosby was on a conference call talking to a bunch of reporters around North America so we'll all have to be quiet and just listen, OK? They understood.
About 15 kids and two teachers huddled around my speaker phone in the press box listening to Sidney Crosby answer a variety of questions from the press. One of the kids asked me if that was really Sidney Crosby? I nodded yes it was. And another kid said it was definitely him because she recognized his voice from TV!
The teachers were smiling.
Somewhere in Vancouver are a bunch of teenagers now who can brag they've been on the phone with Sidney Crosby.
Best field trip ever!