On the Sidelines
I spent 5 years as a production assistant for KCTV5 starting in 2005 in that time I had a lot of fun side gigs doing camera work but the most memorable by far was working the Kansas City Chiefs games. As a CBS affiliate we had to leave the regular season games to the corporate crew but the preseason NFL games were picked up by the local staff. Our executive producer (and my ex-father-in-law) Dale arranged for Metro Sports (renamed to Spectrum Sports in 2016) to do the lions share of the work. They would provide the camera trucks and equipment while we provided most of the staff for things like the handheld cameras, parabolic mic, director and producer.
Being a life long resident of Kansas City and a football fan naturally I was excited at the prospect of getting paid to be up close and personal with NFL stars. Along with Jason, Dan, Kara, Aime, Chris, Matt and Corey my production department homies I dedicated my August Sundays to football those years. Pulling up to the stadium and seeing all the lights is always a thrill but showing my employee badge and driving down the media entrance made me feel kinda special. We parked in the lot right next to the players and walked down the same tunnel they use to access the field.
Not all jobs were created equally as you might expect. My preference was running the parabolic mic (think large salad bowel with a microphone mounted in the middle). When I got this job I would stand near the sideline and point it at the action so they could get the sounds of the huddle and the players colliding. As an added bonus you could hear exactly what was said by whoever you pointed it at. This job worked in tandem with someone in the directors trailer to filter out any FCC banned language (for which there was a lot). If I didn't get this job I would sometimes run the field level camera which was bulky and tethered by a sizable cable (they hadn't upgraded to wireless yet). At least with that you could watch the action but someone always got stuck with the job of moving the cable(s) for either the manual camera or the one on the scissors lift that rolled behind the players and just in front of the stands. We never got that job as Metro Sports always insisted on staffing it for "insurance reasons".
Obviously this wasn't the time to glad handle and ask for autographs but I did fan boy a little bit seeing folks like Jared Allen, Priest Holmes, Tony Gonzalez, Larry Johnson, Trent Green, Dante Hall and the likes. A few ex-Chiefs were even there doing sideline reporting like Tim Grunhard who I admired as he used to play the same position I did in school (Center). I've only been to a few games since then and I usually bore my friends with stories of this player and that player. All in all it was a memorable and enjoyable chapter in my life.