On Saturday, September 14, the Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Arkansas State Red Wolves 55-0, but for me, the game was more than just another blowout. Along with Calvin Williams and Cyalan Easwaran, I got to experience what a professional sports journalist has to do for their everyday work. It was a long day, but everything added up was definitely worth all of the work.
It was a noon game, so it was an early start to a casual Athens Saturday. We checked into the Lumpkin Media Center at around 9:30 to get our media vests. When we stepped onto the field, it was breathtaking. It wasn’t even close to being my first time in Sanford Stadium, but something about this time was unexplainable.
You could tell how excited my partners and I were when we got to take pictures of UGA coming out onto the field for warmups, and we were so excited, I barely noticed how Kirby Smart almost bumped into me. After, we took pictures of the teams warming up, my pictures being mostly Arkansas State.
After kickoff, I went over to the Arkansas Stateside and basically stayed there for the rest of the half. At halftime, I had about 300 more pictures than my partners. We had a very impactful talk with Jake Rowe, a writer for a website called Dawgs247. He told us everything from optimizing your SEO, the urgency of getting pieces in on time, and everything in between.
The second half went by way faster than the first, other than the UGA quarterback Nathan Priestley running us over on the sideline.
Once the game finished, we ran onto the field to get pictures of the coaches and players shaking hands and their overall interactions. One of my partners even got to take a picture of Jermaine Johnson with an Arkansas State player and he requested to have the picture sent to him via Instagram.
Once we were off the field, I had a rude awakening of how pushy you have to be to insist that your interview questions are heard. I did manage to get a couple of questions in with kicker Rodrigo Blankenship.
My ultimate takeaway from this experience is definitely that being a sports journalist isn’t all fun and games. It’s hard work, and that is something I didn’t fully recognize going into that day. I’m extremely grateful for that experience, and it was definitely my favorite experience at Sanford Stadium.