I grew up in a non-sporting household. We never had sports on television at home. And we certainly never played sports. None of us knew how, or had any interest what so ever.
It wasn’t until I met my husband that I actually saw sports game start to finish on a regular basis. I didn’t like them. I loved him though, so now on occasion I watch one with him. In order to cope with the boredom I knit furiously. I have an amazing collection of knitted socks thanks to baseball season.
The other night Ryan asked me about how the shots are framed in the television cameras during sports games. You see I was an Electronic Media major in college. Basically I majored in television. Anyway, a large part of my studies included producing crappy student films and public access television shows.
I had to take a cinematography class, learning how to operate a bunch of different cameras. This became a huge problem when after learning about portable television cameras, our class was supposed to film a live broadcast of the college basketball game for public access. I had never once seen a basketball game. Each of us was assigned to a camera position, and I was placed high in the bleachers on a camera crow’s nest. Then they told me I was the hero cam. I looked at them with confusion, “And a hero cam does what?”
The answer was not ideal. I was told it was simple, my job was just to get a close up shot of any player that does something great in the game like making a shot, block, pass, or rebound. WHAT-THE-FUCK. I had no idea what any of those words mean beyond a shot. The director scurried off before I was able to decide if I should admit my sports related impairment. I was young and still afraid to concede my shortcomings, so I just stood in stunned silence. Unfortunately this was also before the time of smartphones so I couldn’t even use google to help me. I was stuck alone in a crow’s nest trying to decipher what a good play was in a game I had never seen played before.
I didn’t have too much time to panic before my headphones started to buzz, the game began, and the director started barking orders into my ears. I am sure he must have thought I was mentally challenged. I was chasing random players around with my view finder just praying that they were the one the crowd was clapping about. I made wild guesses at what looked hero cam worthy. Frequently I was completely wrong.
As the game went on and I continued to frame up incorrect heroes the director’s voice in my ear became increasingly frustrated. Eventually he just started calling out player numbers to me. I would quickly scan the floor and frame up the hero. This was a bit more successful, but dear god those guys move fast. It was like trying to frame up a Ritalin soaked squirrel.
I cannot express the sweet relief that washed over me when the game ended. I could finally put an end to my shame. When I got down to the truck with my equipment the director glared at me and shook his head. I shrugged in humiliation and said, “Sorry, I could work the camera just fine, it was the sports I had trouble with.”
But fifteen years later I was more than capable of answering all my husband’s questions about how his baseball game was being shot. I suppose my afternoon of sporting related disgrace paid off in some ways. I still don’t know the rules of any sport, but I can tell you how many inches of a sock you can knit in nine innings. It’s two. Two inches of sock and you never have to learn how to play the game.