If this was my previously-scheduled April 1, I’d be at Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum getting ready to do some behind-the scenes work as the Bucks take on the visiting Toronto Raptors. As we know, everybody’s schedule is not the way we intended a few weeks ago.
I was in the same spot three weeks ago when the NBA season came to a screeching halt. On the night of March 11, I watched ESPN to see how an NBA game would play out as America’s concerns about coronavirus grew, because I was scheduled to work an NBA game for TNT the following night. There wouldn’t be a game in Milwaukee or anywhere in the country. Rudy Gobert’s positive COVID-19 test that was revealed as his Utah Jazz readied to tip against the Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t just move the NBA to call an infinite timeout, but proved the first domino to fall as each sports organization suspended seasons and events.
I’m fortunate compared to the dozens of others in my home television market who make a living working every one of these games. March and April were slated to be the busiest in years for them. I work in public relations and publicity, and TV is a valuable side-gig. TV is their primary jam. They are technicians, camera operators and more. Everything you see on your TV screen from graphics to statistics during a sports broadcast is created by professionals in TV trucks or on the court.
I’ve spoken to a few of these people and they’re rightfully concerned as stay-at-home orders related to the novel coronavirus remains, and arenas are silent. Last week was Major League Baseball’s scheduled Opening Day. That didn’t happen. Today and for at least another month, stadiums remain fan-free, game-free and sports broadcast crew free.
Make no mistake, as much as you love to watch sports, these people in Wisconsin and throughout the country, many with decades of experience, love to make the pictures and create the special atmospheres you see on your screens.
So when you think about how much you miss sports, think of your local TV talent in front and behind the camera. Also tip your cap (from a distance) to your favorite stadium usher, beer vendor and security guard who greets you when you walk into an arena.
We miss the games. They miss a whole lot more.
©Gail Sideman, gpublicity 2020