Additional insight by Glen David and Lawrence Cui. Photos by Lawrence Cui.
As high school students, there aren’t many opportunities that we are afforded that allow us to experience professional environments. Luckily, this happened to be one of them. Anaheim Union High School District received a special invitation to attend an LA KISS arena football game. Not only did we get to attend the game, but we were given all-access press passes to allow us to experience the thrilling action from areas that are typically restricted to credentialed individuals.
Our press badges allowed us into the press box where we were greeted by a quiet hum of the teams’ statisticians working to keep track of every play. Scattered among the plush office chairs were other reporters watching the game and writing notes on little notepads every so often.
Overlooking the arena we could feel the energy from the crowd with each new play, it was around this point that we understood what a great opportunity we were given to view a professional broadcast in action, and of course the fast paced game of arena football itself.
At first we were confused seeing both teams scramble after the ball after every kick-off because in regular football the ball is only live if the receiving team fumbles the football. Speaking of which there were many turnovers committed by both teams, which was unfortunate but made the game even more exciting.
After observing the live commentators from ESPN, we took the elevator down to the service level and into the tunnels leading to the field. We then passed a room filled with monitors and boards that from the live ESPN2 and WatchESPN broadcasts. We were a bit hesitant when we reached the tunnel mouth and the field came into full view. Even though we were wearing our press passes we had a vague feeling that we were out of our league, but as the game progressed we became more confident and started taking photos right behind the field’s barrier.
The halftime show rolled around and proved to be a great pleasure to watch and photograph. Personally, having the chance to take pictures of athletes in an actual professional setting was a brand new and exciting setting. Having to time the shutter speed and take the right shots was a test of everything we learned about in our broadcast class. We adjusted to ensure that we shot what we wanted, whether it was running around, fixing lighting every few seconds, or making sure the shutter speed was fast enough to capture unblurred moments was a thrill.
The press conference truly made us feel like bona fide journalists. We may not have understood much of the technical football strategy the coach was questioned about by other members of the media, but taking notes and reporting made us feel part of something greater.
Having the professionals there asking questions gave us an idea of what we should work towards being. Another reason why the press conference was a good experience for us was because we learned how to adjust and act in a professional environment. After the press conference we talked to some of the journalists there who gave us tips on how to further our careers in journalism.