Monday, April 30, 2012

Up In The Valley

Every once in a while, I still need to scratch that sports media itch. When the Dallas Cowboys shook up the 2012 NFL Draft by trading up to draft Shreveport's Morris Claiborne, a defensive back from LSU, it felt like I needed a soothing balm. This set of circumstances combined so many elements which get my motor running: home town guy made good, The Cowboys, LSU, and a bunch of people thrilled at the news. So, presented with an opportunity to be a part of the media reception for Claiborne at Valley Ranch the day after the draft, I just had to jump.

I've been down the sports road many times, so I don't get excited very often. The opportunity to spend a day at the Cowboys' sprawling headquarters in Irving, though, got my heart rate up a little. Claiborne brought his family along. His parents were there, so was his grandmother, a couple of his young children, his girlfriend and others. His mother apparently is a New Orleans Saints fan, but as Shreveport people almost everybody else there declared themselves long-time Dallas diehards. You could see the thrill on their faces.
You could tell that Claiborne was happy about all this, too...especially since the Cowboys had not contacted him at any point during the evaluation process and this news came to him like a bolt from the blue. (A blue star on a silver helmet, as it turns out.) As the day wore on, I had an opportunity to walk down a hallway and speak for a time with the Cowboys' defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan. I spoke with head coach Jason Garrett in a group setting, and along the way I dished off a quip that made Living Cowboys Legend Calvin Hill laugh. It was a good day.
I was helping my friend The Local Sportcaster. All of this came up so suddenly, he had made no plans to travel to Dallas on Friday. But, hey, that's the news business. In its modern form, there's simply not a pool of TV cameramen hanging around the TV station waiting to dash out of town for a day. As an experienced hand, I was able to earn my way by shooting interviews and stand-ups for him.
I also snapped photos with the iPhone as we went along and enthusiastically posted to Twitter and Facebook. That included a photo of Claiborne holding his new helmet while standing by his locker.
There was an impressive media throng there to acquaint themselves with the Cowboys' budding defensive star, and it was hard to stay out of their way. So, it should not have come as a surprise that our mugs wound up on a DFW TV newscast...just scratching that itch.
And what do you know, I finally got on TV in Big D!

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