By Jacob Dekeyser | Word count 642
FOX Sports was on my phone – calling me from their national headquarters in New Jersey! Broadcast Manager Peter Griese announced himself saying: “Jacob…Danielle Bina recommended you for our broadcast team at Lambeau Field on Sunday. Can you help us out?”
No, I wasn’t dreaming – at least that’s what I was telling myself as Peter kept talking.
I almost didn’t answer the phone because… well, I was driving and, it was a New Jersey number. Who do I know in ‘Jersey? I thought it was a scam; someone trying to steal my credit card. I generally ignore random numbers like that, but just before the last ring something in my head said, “Pick up the damn phone.” (It probably was Professor Bina’s voice.) I then raced home to tell my parents.
You’ll work w/Erin Andrews – NO doubt
My family was excited; Dad thought I’d get to work with Erin Andrews! (I was hoping so, too.) After sharing all the excitement, I finally sat down and then it really hit me: What did I just get myself into?!
So many emotions were going on in my head! I mean, this is FOX Freaking Sports!!! Peter said he needed a, “motivated, trustworthy individual with superb knowledge of football.” My professor – who’s worked in broadcasting like, forever – recommended me…talk about pressure!
If I didn’t do a great job, my hope of working at FOX Sports after graduation would go down the drain; I’d probably make Professor Bina and the UWGB COMM Department look bad, too! Needless to say, I lost sleep – probably some hair, too. I stressed late into the night before the big game.
We had a four-hour “Walk Through” on Saturday – but got paid for eight. I met the FOX team and went through all my Game Day responsibilities.
Ready for THIS!?
Sunday morning came quickly. I could barely keep my eyes open, but the thought of screwing up kept me going. When I arrived at Lambeau Field, the giant TV trucks were all starring me down. I was so nervous, I felt like I didn’t know anything about football but there was no turning back. Peter said, “Jake, are you ready for this? It’s going to be crazy!” I said yes, but it wasn’t until halftime when I understood what he meant.
Live TV is insane: So many people yelling; swearing; trying to get everything perfect – there’s no room for error. My job was gathering stats, information, and writing down everything I saw during the game. Sitting in the broadcast truck with 12 other screens flashing all around me, my eyes were glued to MY TV. I watched mine with focus, detail and speed – instantly ready in case my boss needed something THIS second!
The game moved SO quickly! Minute-by-minute; every second I was totally focused on my job. At the end of the game, I thought we had produced a good show. After wrapping up, our team was told we did do a good job.
Thanks, Professor Bina
On my way out of the truck, I thanked Peter – profusely – for the opportunity. He thanked me – Professor Bina too – and gave me his contact information. As of now, I’m officially part of Peter’s crew. If FOX comes back to Lambeau for another game, I’m on the broadcast team. If a full-time position ever opens-up at FOX, Peter said he’d let me know.
It’s crazy how things go sometimes: One day I am freaking out about where I’ll end up after graduation, and the next day I’m working for FOX Sports at Lambeau Field. I am still a little shocked by it all.
I have no idea if this will lead to something down the road, but I never thought this would happen, either. I won’t my hopes up too high, but if a number from New Jersey ever calls me again…GAME ON!
Jacob Dekeyser is a December, 2017 Graduate; he promises to keep us posted on his journey by contributing to THE COMM VOICE as an Alumni.
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