After the sound check I spent some time with my family and a friend who was kind enough to drive us to the Rose Garden - the Blazers/Clippers game was the day after the big snow that snarled traffic (thus crowding the bars and restaurants of Portland to their bursting point), and we frankly weren't sure we'd make it if the temp dropped again (see Melissa's Blog
for an idea of what we were afraid of...)
After a short walk around the main concourse though, I started to realize that I was doing a bit too much talking (not a great idea before singing the Anthem) so I headed back down to the dressing room for some quiet time.
Okay, the Holiday Bowl was on - and I knew there was a TV down there. Sadly, my Wildcats did not exactly burn up the field against Nebraska that evening...in fact, they were shut out :(
One very funny thing about the TV system in dressing rooms. The video does in fact get you to the sporting event you're looking for - the audio is another story; it connects to a closed-feed from whichever mic is being used for player interviews - or possibly the locker room. I can only say that listening to that feed is a hoot...
The fifteen minutes or so before tip-off can be a little surreal. At that point, I had repeated "gallantly, gallantly" maybe 100 or so times, I'd practiced getting my note (more on how I do that in a later post), but there is sort of an eerie calm. You know that somewhere between 10 and 5 minutes before tip-off, Jennifer will knock at the door and you'll be walked into that tunnel. You go over the instructions...we walk to the announcer's table, Jennifer will hand you the mic (is it going to be on already - I think so...better ask, don't want to fiddle with it, don't want to start singing the Anthem like a mime). Wait for the color guard to set, and start walking to center court. Wait...what was I supposed to do after? Better go over that on the way there...
No matter how much you may love to sing - and I do - you never do quite lose track of the fact that you will soon be handed a microphone under a spotlight (not to mention a jumbotron, which I had in fact forgotten about) in an arena that holds some 21,000 folks - and you never should
lose track of that.
In the case of singing our National Anthem, you're not only representing the players and the Trail Blazer organization, you literally are representing the country, its values, freedom, and everyone who has fought for it.
Then...there is that knock on the door. You open it, and there is Jennifer in her headset, smiling sweetly.
- More to Come -