Preseason game number one is less than 36 hours away and for many people it's not too big a deal. Wake me up before Sunday, September 13th they'll say. But, for many it's the first opportunity to see the team and that excites others. For me, though, the first preseason game of the year will always make me, well, laugh.
Well, because it's the anniversary of my being down on the sideline as the sideline reporter for the Texans radio broadcasts. A year removed from my very first team broadcast. A year removed from one of the funniest moments of my first year with Marc Vandermeer and Andre Ware. There were plenty of memorable moments throughout last year and of course, being alongside Bill O'Brien, that will make that year unforgettable.
But, the first preseason game going forward will always give me a chuckle. Leading up to the first preseason game against the Cardinals in 2014, honestly, I was a mess. I was nervous. I didn't want to mess up on the air at all. I wanted to have the proper energy for the moment. I wanted to provide something different from all the other sideline reporters. Mostly, though, I was jacked up beyond belief.
So, the morning of the game, I walked down to the hotel restaurant to talk to Marc who calmly ate breakfast as I fretted about that night's broadcast. He laid out the plan and was like "you'll be fine. Everything will be great." Easy for him to say, he'd done, oh, I don't know 13 years of four preseason games and 16 regular season games, plus four playoff games. That's, well, a lot of games. This was my first.
So, he tells me we'll throw it to you for your first hit during the pregame show and then we're off. I figured just knock that out and I'll be fine. He throws it to me, I'm nervous but I get through it.
Whew. Okay, now I'm good to go. At breakfast, Marc told me I'm in queue the whole game, meaning that everyone in the booth can hear me. But, my brain heard HE could hear me. So, on the first drive of the game, after each play, I'm giving him all these nuggets of football stuff.
"Hey, watch Cardinals WR John Brown."
"The Texans are in nickel."
I'm just chatterboxing thinking that HE can hear me. We get to the first break and Marc can't get it to break fast enough.
"John, easy on the talking."
Oh, okay, I guess my information isn't good…
Take a look at the best photos from the 10th practice of #TexansCamp.
Then Andre piped in..."JOHN, that was YOU?"
I didn't realize that THEY could hear me so as Andre was analyzing the game, I'm rat-a-tat firing away in his ear, disrupting his every thought.
I could've died on the spot. Andre was in the box waving at Robert Henslee and Chris Jones to shut up, thinking it was them but, no, it was the new guy on the sideline.
I don't think I spoke another word until Marc threw it down to me for my mid-quarter hit. Of course, many remember the game not going well (that's being nice) and our short halftime hit with Bill O'Brien but I'll remember how my incessant talking almost got me fired by the end of the first quarter of my first game.
I have 20 games under my belt with the guys so I hope I shouldn't have any of those moments.
But, I won't ever forget my first.