Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chirping Crickets

Only one moment of panic during today's live broadcast. In my ear, our control room in Edmonton was asking for the name of the guest who'd just sat down beside me. As the Alouettes player took his seat, I shook his hand and introduced myself. His introduction, though friendly, didn't seem to include his name. Normally, as an interested and long-time fan of the CFL, I could quickly and confidently identify most of the starting players from any of the teams in the league. I had no idea who this fellow was. I had raced through my mental files of  teams, faces and numbers, only to emerge with chirping crickets.

We were live from Place des Festivales. The player sat there, quietly waiting. Again, the crew asked for his name so they could prepare the "super" that would appear on the screen as he spoke. The enthusiastic intern who'd wrangled the player assumed I knew who he was; an entirely fair assumption given I had easily identified the other players she brought to the seat beside me. Here, however, was the exception.

I slowly leaned back in my chair to see whether the name on the back of his jersey was visible. He was wearing a hoodie, the hood of which was draped over his name. I didn't want to have to ask for his name and position. The Alouettes had just paraded through the streets of downtown Montreal. They had just had a rockin' party on stage, as thousands of fans cheered, shouted and chanted, wildly. This was a man basking in glory! I got up as though I had some something pressing to attend to, excused myself and took a few steps from my chair in the hopes the resourceful intern might be nearby. I could see Gloria at the other end of the universe, eagerly lining-up another guest. I stepped back toward my seat, leaned toward my cameraman, Yannick, and said, "Je ne connais pas ce gars la."

As I made small talk with the player, Yannick walked behind our chairs and returned with a whisper, "Le nom sur le chandail est Fontaine". I was still up a creek paddling frantically with my hands! I had no choice. Edmonton was demanding to know what was wrong, we were close to going on-air, so I turned to the man labelled "Fontaine" and said, "I'm sorry, what's your first name?" He answered, "Raymond". Now, I knew he was Raymond Fontaine, but I had no idea what position he played. I asked. He responded, "Linebacker".

I must say Raymond Fontaine was a terrific interview! I hope I get to meet him again.

My part of the two hour broadcast was a lot of fun! I got to soak up the atmopshere and I met some nice people. I interviewed fans Kevin, Shannon, Jerome, Phyllis and Tom. I spoke to quarterback Anthony Calvillo, guard Scott Flory, defensive tackle Eric Wilson, head coach Marc Trestman, Shelly, the wife of kicker Damon Duval and linebacker Raymond Fontaine.

Did I mention Ray is 6 feet 3 inches tall, weighs 230 pounds, was born in Ottawa, played in Kentucky and wears number  16?

Don't forget it.

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