At Home with Nicholls – From the Bird’s Nest
I'm not sure which is more hectic: The week of the first game of the season if it is on the road (leaving on Friday means one less day to get ready), or the home opener, where there's so much more to worry about than football.
But I can tell you which game day is longer.
As I said, lots more to worry about than football. My day started at around 9:00, arriving at the office. First thing (after grabbing some coffee) was to go over spotting charts. Many schools use spotters. We don't. Gerald Broussard and I are fat guys and there's no room for anyone else in the booth.
A home game also means there are two venues and two sets of equipment to worry about. Our normal broadcast equipment will need to get set up in the booth at Cajun Field and having the Tailgate Show actually downstairs with the fans means more setup as well. Fortunately we had Ian Auzenne, who was responsible for set up and tear down. But we needed to get everything he'd need put together, as well as double checking to make sure we had every piece of upstairs equipment (and there's a bunch of it) as well. For Ian, it was a broadcast unit, phone lines, extension cords, banners and a tablecloth. John Dugas at UL supplied the tent and the table and chairs which was a huge help.
Ops manager and 97.3 the Dawg morning show host Bruce Mikels showed up not long after. He asked if there was anything he could do and I told him it was out of control. Wanna know what this guy was there to do on a Saturday morning after all the hours he put in during the week? He was there to load huge ice chests with beer and soft drinks so the Townsquare Media folks could tailgate and have a great time. Well, I wasn't about to let him do that all by himself so I pitched in. Six cases of beer and another seven of soft drinks and we were done.
Back to more review of spotting charts. Also made sure everything was in my bag, including fact sheets, stats, the live copy book for our sponsors and everything else you need for a broadcast.
At 1:00 it was time to load up and head to Cajun Field. Steve Peloquin brought the big cases and I brought the rest. With the press box not open, we entered at the northwest corner of the stadium, where, for security reasons, our drivers license was recorded and our bags and cases searched. Then we got upstairs and started the process of plugging all the wires into all the right places. After that it was time to make sure everything was getting back to the studio as it was supposed to.
By 2:30 everything was done and Steve and I headed down to have some lunch with our friends at the Krewe de Chew. It was, as always, pretty awesome. Chocolate covered strawberries rock (thanks, Kate). We visited with lots of folks and ate too much.
Then it was time to go to our setup, which is next to the M. L. "Tigue" Moore Field ticket office. Everything was in place. Signal checked out and we were connected to the studio.
Gerald Broussard joined us about 3:15 and then went to see the Cajun Walk and visit with son John, who is the Cajuns' deep snapper. With tailgating actually going on inside the "Tigue" there were former baseball players to say hello to. Sport Voorhies stopped by. So did Steven Feehan. And I saw two of the Cajuns' all time best pitchers: Phil Devey and Scott Dohmann.
At 4:00 it was showtime.
The transition from downstairs to the broadcast booth went smoothly. I had my computer bag which had to be searched again. That was easy. There was no line at the elevator at the press box, so the world's slowest elevator wasn't a problem either.
Up in the booth while recorded segments were going on, I visited with quite a few folks, including Nicholls play by play man and my good friend, Mike Waggenheim. And, I have to say, I was as impressed with the "Pride of Acadiana" as I've ever been. Sounds like there's more brass than in past years, loved the new uniforms and the formation of the fleur de lis was outstanding..
Now, as I hope you've noticed over the years, we have a good time doing the broadcast. It's an even better time when the Cajuns win. But when a team is blowing the other out, simply calling the game isn't enough. By the time the end of the third quarter came about, the starters were on the sideline and the score was lopsided.
We called each play during the fourth quarter, but in between the talk between G, Steve and I turned to food (imagine that), specifically gumbo. Gerald said he cooked gumbo and his favorite was shrimp and okra. (Now, I've eaten that but never cooked it.) And, I found out something I didn't know. Shrimp and Okra gumbo doesn't have a roux. I was surprised and said so and I got two texts (and the next day, an email) saying Gerald was absolutely right.
And both G and I put our potato salad in our gumbo, not on the side.
By the time we got that resolved, we talked about next weeks' trip to Akron, where the high temperature on Saturday was going to be 61 degrees.
Now, after kickoff temps of 98 and 102 in the first two games, plus the heat and humidity of Saturday's home opener, the thought of 61 degrees really appeals to me.
Not your ole buddy Peloquin. He texted "Caw Cat, we're going to the North Pole." Steve, it is well documented, does not like cold weather. And, with a 6pm kickoff, the temperature will not be 61 degrees. And Steve is outside. You can bet he'll bring every piece of winter clothing he owns on the trip.
After the game was over and the thirty minute postgame was completed, it was time to tear down equipment and get it all packed. Finally we were ready to go.
When I got home, I wasn't finished. The game story still had to be written for our website. I did that and took a look at the clock. 11:15.
Hey, a fourteen hour day? Piece of cake.
And, oh, by the way...that McGuire kid has a chance to be pretty good.