Thursday, March 24, 2011

Early Edition from N'Awlins

Hey there, everybody.

I'm blogging directly from the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans, Louisiana, here for BYU's first Sweet 16 game in 30 years.

Although I'm here with a crew of broadcast students, it kind of feels like I'm in solo mode. Which is strange. I sure have a lot of work to do! I did two stories before I even got to the hotel, and Thursday I'm expecting to do three more.

Here's what I did for the day before the game:

Cougars will need best effort to defeat Florida

Viewpoint: Thanks for the respect

I spent a lot of time on the last one, but I think it's turned out to be one of my best editorials so far. It's basically a response to "With honor," an editorial written in Florida's student newspaper. I was very impressed with the Florida campus way of handling BYU, especially when contrasted with the San Diego State way. And Florida coach Billy Donovan and player Chandler Parsons had some nice things to say in today's press conference...and by that, I mean they had nothing to say. A reporter tried to get them into a discussion about BYU and the Honor Code and how it wouldn't work at Florida or any normal college, and Donovan and Parsons declined to participate.

(I thought the reporter was trying to maybe stir up some controversy or something...but instead, he used the non-answers to write an article that actually makes BYU look pretty good: "What if Billy Donovan, Gators had to live by the Honor Code?" I especially like the article's last line.)

I'll briefly give you the story of how I finally ended up in New Orleans:

- I tried for a 12:55 a.m. flight from Salt Lake City to Atlanta. But since I fly standby (thanks to my dad, a Delta Air Lines mechanic), there's always a risk that there won't be a seat for me. And that's exactly what happened. No seat for me.

- So, I found a corner to curl up in and slept for a few hours at the airport before a 7:05 a.m. flight to Atlanta. I did get a seat on that flight.

- For some reason, as we were taxiing to the gate in Atlanta, I started feeling really sick and miserable. I was sure I would throw up. Fortunately I didn't, but I did get super sweaty and queasy. After finally reaching land for a while, I started to feel better.

- I touched down in New Orleans right in the middle of BYU's press conference at the New Orleans Arena. (I would have made it in time if I got on that 12:55 flight.) I was pretty frustrated about missing the press conference, but thanks to modern technology I knew I could find the audio online. But then, even better, the transcripts of the press conferences were emailed to me personally! That was nice. I worked on the preview story for a while at the airport, then I got picked up and taken to the arena where I finished up both stories.

- I was there later at the arena for a long time, until there weren't many media people left. One guy who stuck around working was none other than Andy Katz from ESPN. I wanted to introduce myself, and I even thought maybe he would sort of know who I was. But I still looked like someone who had spent the night in the Salt Lake airport, so I decided against it. I hope that wasn't my only chance to meet him though!

- Then, I rode the shuttle to the labyrinth of a hotel. I couldn't figure out how to get to wherever I wanted to go. But I think I have it down now.

- Tonight, I went for a walk down Canal Street and a little bit of Bourbon Street until I couldn't handle it anymore, haha. Here are some photos:

The view outside New Orleans Arena.

Statue in the hotel lobby. Also, the namesake of New Orleans' international airport.


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