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Blog #23

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Still no real hint as to who we will be playing in the conference tournament and what our seeding will be. A lot will depend on the games on Thursday night. Memphis cannot be the No. 12 seed, because we beat Rice, and even if Rice wins out and we lose two games, we'd own the tiebreak with them, so we could be no lower seeded than No. 11. We are No. 10 right now, but Tulsa won over Houston yesterday, so if the Golden Hurricane wins both of its remaining home games and if the Tigers don't get at least one win on the road this weekend, we would fall to the NO. 11 seed.

No one apparently wants to lead the conference alone this season. Southern Miss and UCF were battling it out two weeks ago, and both lost road games. USM is now tied with UTEP, who beat USM 105-87 to take the tiebreak advantage in that series on Saturday, and SMU. USM did beat SMU in its one meeting with the Mustangs, so if those three remain tied, it then goes to their respective records....well, let's just say I'm glad I don't have to figure out that tiebreak situation!

I get asked about once a month or so what my job entails on game days, so yesterday (Senior Day), I tried to keep a running list. Here is a 'typical' game day in sports information:

10:00 a.m. -- Arrive at office. Run updated Conference USA releases for radios, review the senior script, make sure the digital camera is charged, create game file on stats computer and pack everything up to head to the gym (I'm really envious of people whose office is in the same building as their gyms on days like this).

11:30 a.m. -- Realize I lost my parking pass for the garage, but the gates are open (yeah)...Unload all the stuff I just loaded in the car 10 minutes ago and wheel in to the fieldhouse.

11:45 a.m. -- I'm a little behind already and I just got here. Tony Martin (our DBO) needs to use our printer to run the passlist, so I have to quick try to get everything loaded out of our storage room and out to courtside. The technical aspect gets a little more complicated when Jeff Brightwell tells me none of the outlets on his end of press row are working, so we have to string a bunch of extension cords again for this game. (We thought the problem was fixed because the outlets actually worked for the Friday night game! Never know what you have til you get there!).

12 something-ish -- Set up stat monitors and stat laptops...Loaded game file I created in the office and tried to get my laptop to read Tony's USB drive...it doesn't read it for some reason, so Tony has to go back to the office to run his list....technology!

12 something-ish -- Realize I forgot to write down the times I've been doing stuff for this blog, so just humor me!

12 something-ish -- Take game programs (which I stuffed Saturday when I came in the office), over to entrance, set up stuff for my stat crew....Stamp vouchers for stat crew (I think that might be the most important part of my job, is making sure my stat crew is in place and fed).

12 something-ish -- Go over senior day script with Larrick and then again with Brian Crawford, our media relations intern who is going to be taking photos. I also make sure the Marshall SID and radio guy get settled and what they need and review the senior day timing sheet with them so we're not catching them off guard.

1 something-ish -- It's after 1:00, I know this because Jimmy Ogle got here at 1:15. Jimmy is doing our official scorebook today in place of Jimmy Hayslip, who is having a much-deserved day off from doing the book. Walk Jimmy through who our scratches are for the game and go up to get live stats set up. The little laptop that runs the live stats for our website didn't work Friday night, so I fiddled with it on Saturday and am crossing my fingers and hoping it works.

1 something-ish -- The little laptop isn't working....realize I forgot to connect the network cable to the internet hub -- um, user error?

1 something-ish -- Hey, we just realized I messed up the timing sheet and we are five minutes behind, so we steal three minutes off the pre-game clock...luckily, no one notices (until I out this on the blog!). Larrick Johnson is super-assistant, he's got the seniors' families all lined up on the end zone and the table is set up at center court (thanks to Charlotte Peterson for setting that up pre-game).

1 something-ish -- Um, that's not Paris' grandma on the end zone. I asked each of the seniors who was walking out with them today and obviously Paris' family had a change of plans. I grab Paris quick as the pre-game countdown winds down and we review the script realllllyyyyy quick with Chuck Roberts (super PA!). Chuck is not a fan of my scripts (I'm thinking) because he ad-libs the beginning of the ceremony, which leaves Larrick and I looking at one another trying to figure out when to send the first senior out. I gave Larrick the exact script so he knew where we were in the ceremony, but we wing it!

1 something-ish -- Whew, senior festivities done...the camera didn't run out of memory or power, nothing fell and shattered and we got done in 3 minutes (there is a conference rule saying you cannot go over 5 minutes). National anthem time, then starters.

2:04 -- Can you believe we tipped early?

2 something-ish -- Tigers hanging with Marshall early...then take a lead. Once I sit down, I'm trying to take notes on the game for the post-game story I have to write. The Commercial Appeal is not here today, so my post-game story will possibly get used in some format for their story if I don't get it to them too late....Thank goodness for journalism school, writing on deadline with no background would be brutal.

2 something-ish -- Down at the half. We run box scores quick for the coaching staffs to look at in their respective locker rooms. We have to fix the minutes on the box and reprint it and have some weird little stat crew issues, nothing life-changing, we're ok.

2 something-ish -- Back at play...I joke that during the game is the easiest part of my job...as long as the scoreboard is functioning, or the stat computers don't lock up, or the live stats or monitors crash....well, ok, easy is relative. The stat monitors crashed Friday night and the live stats never worked, so I'm pretty optimistic that for our final home game, we're gonna be ok.

3 something-ish -- Well, the scoreboard shows we are still winless against Marshall. We check the stats against the official book, then run books for the coaching staffs and radio guys. I make sure the Marshall SID has gotten everything he needs from my super stat crew, then go get Coach McFerrin out of the back to go to radio...this is a process that is quicker some days than others, but not too bad tonight.

3 something-ish -- I quickly get to see former Tigers Tamika Butler and Raven Rogers and saw Gresh Gorman in the stands earlier. Unfortunately, just a quick hello and hug with both of them, then I have to help our interns break down all the stuff I set up about, um, 3 hours ago.

3 something-ish -- Post game is done and players and fans are trickling in to a post-game reception for the Fast Break club. I shoot one quick photo of the seniors' cake and then go back to work.

4:45 -- I'm back in the office in the AOB. I have a box and a laptop bag to unload and then a post-game story to write.

5:15 -- I have the first draft of the story wrote and started updating the website, emailed the game file to C-USA and updated the NCAA xml site...I load the story to the website and realize I forgot to mail it to my media list, so I get that done.

5:57 -- I'm eating a salad I bought on Friday knowing I had to work all weekend. I had about 6 nachos and a drink at the game, so it occurred to me, I'm kinda hungry.

6:18 -- I'm trying to figure out who to nominate for Player of the Week to C-USA...I'll text coach to get her thoughts and to see if anyone is doing a women's basketball video coaches' show this week.

7:10 -- Hmm, still no word back for Player of the Week, but I did get our all-conference stuff typed up (it's due tomorrow) and sent our stats and media requests to UCF and USM for our next games. I type up two different players of the week forms and will save it in my email draft box. It's 7:35 when I shutdown my desktop...another nine hour day (this is why we don't track hours worked in athletic media relations!).

7:35 -- Coach texts me player of the week info and says she's out tomorrow and giving her assistants a day off, so she'll see if anyone wants to do the video show...Coach Wholey ends up emailing me that he'll do it at 6:29 Monday morning (have to remember to turn off email alerts on my phone).

So, there you go...a day, plus some, in the life of a sports information person on game day. There is no typical day, but it's all pretty chaotic, that's about the only thing each day has in common :0)

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