The similarities between football and the game of life seem to show up at strange times.
When three-fourths of my family all had fall break a few weeks ago, my better half decided it would be a great time for us all to ride the Amtrak to Jackson for the day to sightsee in our state’s capitol. Richard, our 5-year-old had never ridden the train, and we figured the boys might learn something about our state in the process.
After we arrived, my sister, Aunt Carolyn Shanks, provided transportation for us so we were all set after totally disrupting her downtown office.
The first stop was a mostly empty capitol building, which was perfect for showing the boys how the law-making branch of our government works.
Next were the State Supreme Court and the associated justice’s chambers.
My close friend, Justice George C. Carlson, Jr. proved to be a great tour guide introducing us to Chief Justice Edwin L. Pittman in his chambers for a short visit.
As you can guess, the conversation quickly drifted to football and how he and the court are allowed time to think about their decisions while referees have to make immediate rulings with very limited time to think about it all.
I agreed and Justice Carlson added that I have to not only be a judge but also jury and even a sort of “executioner” while wearing my robe of stripes.
See how lucky you are – a free lesson in government, law and football thrown in all while reading a newspaper.
Speaking of football, my first of three trips to Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium was an interesting one. Alabama really never had much of a chance and I’m sure Bear was rolling in his grave during that one.
It was fun to see all my Jefferson – Pilot Sports friends with the early game and then sneaking back in after for a late lunch/dinner at the family camp at the stadium.
Before I ate, I walked back over to the TV trucks still at the stadium to visit with my friends for a few minutes before they left for the airport and private jet back to Charlotte, North Carolina.
One thing that always makes my tired is to see all the equipment and cables involved in getting a SEC game back to the millions of televisions. I say tired because of the work involved pulling all that cable to it’s proper place and then packing it up for the next week’s game. The trucks get to the site a few days before the game and start stringing cables to each camera, microphone location and every other piece of equipment. It can add to more than a few miles of wire.
Actually, the numbers can be staggering. From ten to eighteen cameras, one to two dozen microphones and then add in three different communication channels, monitor feeds to the press box and sideline talent and on and on, Then there are the wireless sets which can be a real pain to keep working throughout the game. Jefferson-Pilot always puts a wireless microphone on the Umpire to better pick up the sounds from the trenches in addition to the dish or parabolic mics on each sideline.
The wireless rigs are a pain because of the number frequencies involved. Think about it for a minute: Besides TV there are security, law enforcement, stadium management, coaches headsets, cell phones (try and guess how many of those are in use in a game with over sixty thousand people in the house.) and on and on, each using a different radio frequency. The CBS tech people once told me that when they get to the site they have to get all their wireless sets on and keep them on until after the game so they won’t lose the frequency.
In the Tennessee at Florida game I was in a month ago, CBS had ordered a wireless headset just for me (I love not dragging a wire around) which worked fine until it got close to game time and the frequencies started loading up. So you can guess who came out on the short end of that deal. This same CBS crew did the Florida at Ole Miss game last season when all the headset communication systems went down completely just before kickoff. I talked to the producer and coordinated national TV with the game for the first half with just a cell phone.
With all of that it’s just amazing everyone leaving a game these days is not glowing from all the electromagnetic energy. That still is nothing compared to the energy felt on the field though……
See you next week.