When it comes to unusual experiences and bizarre circumstances, every sportswriter has a tale or two or hundred to tell about covering events.
Here are some of our staff members’ more interesting stories.
STAN HUDY, STAFF WRITER
In terms of filing, my biggest challenges have always been at high school rowing regattas.
I can laugh now after finding my shelter tent whisked 50 feet away and into a nearby pond on the shore of Fish Creek one morning, floating gently like a buoy.
The following year, I thought I was prepared.
At the same spot for the New York State Rowing Championships, a 40 mph gust came through the tent, with weights on every corner and a 50-lb bag of sand strapped to the center supports, pushed me into my full table of electronics that then tipped over onto the concrete pad.
For me, the racing on Fish Creek was over for that day.
KEN SCHOTT, ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR
I covered the AHL’s Hershey Bears for the York Daily Record for five seasons, and I had some memorable moments.
Getting chased out of Hersheypark Arena by a fire while writing a story ranks up there.
It was a game late in the 1989-90 season, my final one before joining The Daily Gazette, and I was in the press room with my fellow Bears beat writers. We were writing our stories about the game when we started smelling smoke. Turned out there was a fire in a room across the hall. We quickly gathered our RadioShack computers and went to the parking lot and waited.
After an hour, we were still waiting to see if we could get back in the arena. At 11 p.m. and with a midnight deadline approaching, I decided I had to drive back to the office, about a 40-minute drive, and finish the story there. I found a pay phone (remember those?) to let my editor know of the situation.
I got to the office around 11:40 p.m. and quickly finished the story around 12:10 a.m. It was a bit wild, but I was happy to get that story written.
ADAM SHINDER, STAFF WRITER
Hoo boy, I’ve had a few wild filing experiences over the years, including, spending halftime of Amsterdam football games sticking my laptop on a training table and praying for a decent WiFi hotspot so I could send photos back to the office, but the one that takes the cake was after Amsterdam football’s 2015 state semifinal loss to Our Lady of Lourdes at Dietz Stadium in Kingston.
I was crammed into the corner of a freezing press box, trying to simultaneously file my story and get our freelancer’s photos submitted while a security guard looked on disapprovingly, just wanting to lock up for the night.
I got done sometime around midnight, got home sometime after 2 a.m. and . . . then, woke up four hours later to drive from Amsterdam to Glens Falls for the early session of the state girls’ volleyball championships.
MICHAEL KELLY, SPORTS EDITOR
To start, a quick one: I once wrote about a Fonda-Fultonville football game with a keyboard that lacked a functioning “F” key. So, until I figured out to copy-and-paste an “F” to use from a previous document stored on my computer, my story’s first sentence included a reference to “onda-ultonville ootball.”
I cover mostly college sports now, but several years spent focusing on high school sports trained me to realize that media accommodations are really what you make of them.
If you need to write your story and file it from the bleachers, you do.
If you need to write your story and file it from the car, you do.
And, last March, with so much unsettled and out-of-sorts around me, I learned that if you need to write your story and file it from a bench on Atlantic City’s boardwalk, well, you do.
After last year’s MAAC basketball tournament was canceled because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, I had to exit Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall with a half-written story and knowing I needed to get some type of update published ASAP on the developing situation.
So on a cloudy, cold day in March, I typed away on a hard bench as a cover version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City” blared around me.
JIM SCHILTZ, STAFF WRITER
Luck had nothing to do with Amsterdam’s win over Geneva in the 2005 state football final in Syracuse, but it had everything to do with my ability to file the game story that night.
I was having trouble sending my story in from the Carrier Dome and figured I had enough time to drive back to the office to take care of it there. Even though it was snowing hard, I was making good time, until I reached Canajoharie and my car conked out.
As my headlights dimmed, I spotted a Thruway maintenance building to my right, yanked the wheel, and literally glided in before coming to a halt.
Long story short, from this little hutch I ended up dictating my story over the phone to one of my colleagues.
The one highway hand who happened to be there got me a tow, and off I went on the most expensive ride of my life all the way to Schenectady.
Lucky me? Most definitely.