I recently took a trip down to Bristol, Connecticut to do a couple of interviews with ESPN at their fancy smancy headquarters. The HQ looks more like a college campus, but with way more satellite dishes. I did my interviews on ESPN First Take and ESPN News, alongside fellow paralympian Erin Popovitch, a swimmer who had appeared to have won all the medals possible in the last paralympics (something like 7 or 8). We both got tours of the ESPN campus where we got to see where they record all their programs and do all the video and sound processing to make everything look polished and professional.
During the tour our guide was telling us about all the different programs on TV and all the commercials that were shot on their campus for the programs. I rarely watch TV, however, and I almost never flip to any ESPN channel, so I had no idea what they were talking about. I think ESPN assumes that if you are a guy my age you watch ESPN religiously and are up to date with all the players and teams of American sports, especially football.
The interviews went well, meaning I didn’t freeze up and stop talking all together, but its very hard to get used to being in front of a camera that is recording your image and voice for millions of viewers. The hosts of the programs were way too smooth in how they spoke and their hair was beyond perfect, which I found a bit intimidating, as I need to concentrate a great deal to talk smoothly and my hair usually puts Einstein’s bad hair days to shame. I got through it, though, and said most of what I needed to say.
I like pretending to be a big deal.
What the cameras don’t capture is a wiring disaster waiting to happen.
Another set, except this one has a lot of computer workstations in the background to show the viewers how hard everyone is working to give them up to minute updates.
Me posing next to some famous basketball player (he really is pushing 7 feet), the host of First Take, and Erin.
Me with Erin and Steve Raymond, one of the VPs of ESPN, co-chair of SkiTAM (US Adaptive Ski Team annual fundraiser), and chef de mission for the 2010 US Paralympic team.