Sunday, July 15, 2007

My First Time

The worst part is I can't remember her name. I can vaguely remember how nice and mature she was, and how she tried so hard to make me comfortable. She could sense how nervous I was. I mean, 1988 was a long time ago. I wonder if she even remembers me after all these years?

Most of my close college buddies had already done it. In fact, they'd bragged about it back in the dorms. I knew my time would come; make that I prayed my time would come.

Then finally it happened. Outside at the Good Park Golf Course of all places. I remember being nervous about what I was wearing, like that would really make a difference.

She had done it before and she was older, so I just had to trust her. I got some courage and whispered to her that it was my first time, and she told me, "don't worry you'll be great." She was so sweet. I was so glad it was with her. (It only lasted a few minutes, which was much different than the the way I'd been imagining it.)

I took a deep breath, looked her in the eyes, and I knew it was now or never. I had to just go for it. If I chickened out now, I'd never live it down and the guys would laugh at me.

She's right there! Just do it!

"Can you give me your name and title and please spell them?" I asked. "And can you tell me what makes this amateur golf tournament so special?"

She was marvelous, but then again it was her job as a public relations specialist to deliver positive soundbites to the media. Knowing that it was my first-ever interview (I was just an intern at the old Channel 23 at the time), she kind of walked me through the followup questions to make sure I'd have enough information to write a story for the evening news.

I kept replaying that moment in my head yesterday after reading a sports story about the annual Good Park golf tourney in the ABJ. I really was quite nervous that day in 1988. I was holding the microphone or a real TV station and asking a real person real questions for a real story on the real evening news. (You have no idea how big of a deal that is for a college kid still wondering if he'll ever be able to get a job in television.)

After all these years, I still get nervous sometimes when I do an interview for the news. I think that's a good thing. It makes me focus on the questions I'm asking and whether this story is really worth the audience's time. It keeps the personal aspect of the interview in the front of my mind and reminds me that the microphone I'm holding can be a weapon or a light to the person granting the interview.

And when the interview is done right, it's a beautiful thing ... and there are some who say it's even better than sex.



Cinda said...

Very Cool, Eric. And, as we all can attest to, that wonderful woman did a great service to the Akron news market in helping you to understand that you'd be great at this. I, for one, would also like to thank her.

Anonymous said...

What a great post.

Anonymous said...