Man I love my job. I really really do. I enjoy almost all aspects of it. I like the work. I like the travel. I like the sports. I like the people. It’s a great gig and after losing almost 3 months of it in 2020, I never want to take advantage of it again. That being said…I may have lost my marbles when I signed up for a 3 month work extravaganza that began on January 13th and is scheduled to end on my travel home from Hilton Head on April 19th. While there have been times in my career when I feel I may have pushed myself to my limits (working a full-time job in Dayton, OH while living in Kentucky and then freelancing on the side in 2003-04 was probably the most notable of my not-so-smart moves), there have been times the last few months (today is April 14th) when I realize that maybe taking ALL the work thrown my way isn’t the smartest thing to do. Firstly I should preface this by saying that this is NOT a normal situation. I knew it was gonna be a long haul…but as a freelancer, you kind of take whatever work you can when you get the offer. That being said…I may have bitten off more than I could chew. But I digress. Let’s start at the beginning…
January 13: It all started innocently enough with a basketball game in Dayton, OH. Duquesne vs Dayton. For the most part…easy enough. Drive to Dayton, worked the game, came home. The next morning I hopped on a plane to Chicago and I was off and running.
January 14-18: Iowa @ Northwestern. Here’s the deal…CBS has us COVID testing before we can go to work. We then have to wait for our test results which can take up to 24 hours to return from the lab. Hence…we are quarantined for 24 hours BEFORE we go to work. This means that if our game is on Sunday, we travel on Thursday to get tested, wait in the hotel on Friday, go to work Saturday & Sunday and return home on Monday. That’s 5 days of being away or traveling from home for a single basketball game. Got it? Okay…moving on.
January 19-22: CBS has decided to put a constant leaderboard into play for their upcoming golf season. It was a job that I did for FOX when they were doing USGA golf so it made sense for CBS to ask me to test their software in New York City so…once again…COVID test, wait a day, work for 2 days testing CBS Golf Software and then…
January 23- February 1: Travel to San Diego for the Farmers Insurance Open. Love me some San Diego though. It’s truly beautiful there. So I’m there for 9 days then travel home from the west coast…which means I don’t get home until after 3pm at least. But I GET home and I have this waiting for me so…that was cool.
January 2nd: Day off at home. BUT…gotta prepare to leave again for…
THE SUPER BOWL. February 3rd thru 8th. Not as great of a game as we all had hoped for. The Buccaneers become the first team to win on their home turf in NFL history and Tom Brady proves he can win without the Patriots for the first time in his 315th trip to the Super Bowl. Okay…maybe it ain’t 315 but it certainly feels like it.
Return home on the 8th and wash clothes and repack and then…
February 9th thru 14th: I’m in Pebble Beach for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am. While I’m gone, there’s a major snowstorm on the east coast and Ava got her drivers license. While I’m gone I think I pretty much lost all rights to my car. She thinks it’s hers now. LOL
February 15th: Drove from Pebble Beach to Los Angeles where I stopped to shoot around at Morro Bay. Cool spot to hoop it up. Also flew my drone around a little bit and got some great shots! Life ain’t THAT bad, I guess…
February 16th thru 22nd: The Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles. This was a fun one. Got to shoot around in Laguna Beach and Angels Gate Park on my down time. Max Homa won, defeating my personal favorite golfer, Tony Finau, in a playoff. Met Tony in the hotel elevator and he seems like a legit cool guy. It sucked that he lost. I hope I’m there when the guy wins a major though.
February 23rd: Day off. No travel but had to get ready because my next event was…
February 24th thru 27th: Florida at Kentucky. Lexington is a mere 65 minutes south of my house. I was able to drive there, get the job done and get home on Saturday evening. Woohooo!!!
This gave me 3 whole days at home. February 28 – March 2, I sat at home, walked the dogs, had lunch with my friend Janet, played some ball with friends.
Then the shit hit the fan.
February 3rd thru 6th: USC vs UCLA. Hopped BACK on a plane, headed back to the west coast to Los Angeles to work my first ever UCLA game. Having never been to Pauley Pavilion, this completed my run to work in the the Top 5 arenas which have the most Championship wins in men’s basketball history. That’s UCLA, Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke & Indiana. Been to all of em. Now…I gotta figure out something else to motivate me.
March 7th: Took my time and drove from LA to Las Vegas. This was a fun day. I mapped out all my stopping points, managed to throw in a quick stop at Griffin Park in LA which is the park where the Observatory sits above the city. Took some pictures, hopped in my car, headed to Sin City where I flew my drone in an abandoned water park, drove maybe 35 miles on Route 66, ate lunch at the famous Peggy Sue’s Diner, drove past the world’s oldest bar, saw some weird artwork along the way and got to Vegas in time to get tested (again) and have a nice dinner at the hotel.
March 8th thru 13th: The Mountain West Tournament. And so it began. Look…I LOVE basketball. Truly I do. But what was about to transpire over the course of the next few weeks was a test of my love. Trust me when I tell you…I hope to never have to do this again. So…the MW tournament. We begin by airing the Women’s Championship on Wednesday night around 9pm Pacific time (which is midnight on the east coast). Thursday we had 4 games. Friday we had 2 games and the Championship was on Saturday. Saturday night I hopped a red eye so I could get home to do laundry so I could drive to Indianapolis on Monday.
March 15th thru April 5th: Indianapolis. The home of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. ALL of it. THIS year, due to COVID concerns, the tournament was all in ONE city over the span of 3 weeks. I was one of the lucky techs who got to work 12 games in 4 days in the 1st Round at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the NBA Pacers. I have no idea what teams played or who won. All I know is I worked 12 games and someone won each of them. The next weekend? We had 2 games on Saturday, 2 on Sunday. Then on Monday I slid over to Lucas Oil Stadium and did some prep work for the Elite 8 games that were to air on Tuesday. After a day off, we went to work preparing for the Final Four. And that’s when something magical happened.
April 3rd: 11 seed UCLA vs 1 seed Gonzaga. Holy shit. What an amazing game! When 2 teams shoot OVER 58% from the field, when the score sways back and forth, from one team to the other for 40+ minutes, when the game goes into overtime and is won at the buzzer from almost half court? Yeah…THAT’S an instant classic. And what a boost it was! Heading into the championship game, I was on a high hoping that the Baylor vs Gonzaga matchup would be historical but…it wasn’t. We got our classic on Saturday night and the April 5th Championship was somewhat of a letdown considering the undefeated Zags lost handily to Baylor, 86-70. But that UCLA/Gonzaga Final Four game? It will forever be one of the greats in NCAA history and I can say I was there.
April 6th thru 12th: The Masters. The greatest golf event in the world? That’s what some might say. I love it because it’s a passage to spring for me. There are a million technicians here, so it’s like a reunion of sorts, and like the saying goes…”It’s a tradition unlike any other.” It was my 16th year at Amen Corner. I just love everything about being in Augusta. I can’t exactly put my finger on it but…it IS one of my favorite events all year and I couldn’t imagine rolling into spring without being here. And this year? We have an all new compound! Which means everything is easier. Our previous compound was hilly and hard to maneuver. This one is flat, on concrete, has all the amenities you could ask for AND it’s beautiful. Oh…and it has won me 2 Emmys so…there’s that little perk also. This year…the first Japanese player in Masters tournament history won. Congratulations Hideki Matsayuma! A class act from start to finish!
April 13th thru 19th. I’m off to Hilton Head for the RBC Heritage. I know, I know…WHY would I do that when I could’ve called it a day after The Masters? Well dear reader…that’s a damn good question and my answer would be this…I know people who haven’t worked much over the course of the last year. I would much rather be overworked than underworked. I actually love my job and I love the people I work with. Not working at the beginning of the pandemic put a fear in me I never thought possible. So now…I’ve overdone it. Maybe just a smidge. But I think my family understands and I hope my wife is still at home when I get back, maybe my daughter will allow me to drive my car again and I hope my son hasn’t graduated college yet. I miss them all something awful and I can’t wait to get home. That being said…this was a couple months I HAD to write about because I sure as hell never want to do this ever again.
Can I get an “AMEN!”?